So, what have we learned lately? Well, if one cheats, one must not do so in a fashion that allows them to be quickly caught. Caught by everybody. Caught on scanners, radios, and in full view of millions at the track and watching on television. Nothing good can ever come from that. That is, if one decides that they must cheat in the first place.
Since February, 2001 NAPA and Michael Waltrip have been synonymous in NASCAR. That comes to an abrupt end at the conclusion of this year when the company terminates its association with MWR, and it is all due to the events at Richmond. It is a very high price to pay and as much as I did not condone that team’s actions, as much as I applaud NASCAR’s reaction to them, I hate to have seen it come to this. I understand why the team did what it did. I understand why the fans reacted as they did, with those actions affecting two drivers who have become sentimental favorites. I understand why NAPA did what they did, being sensitive to public perception. However, it gives me no joy to read about it. The price has been paid. It is time to move on.
Juan Pablo Montoya is moving on. After seven seasons and two victories in NASCAR’s Cup series, he returns to the open wheeled racing in which he thrived between 1999 and 2006. Over the course of those eight campaigns, he won 18 races, claimed the CART championship as well as the Grand Prix of Monaco in claiming seven Formula One events. Ironically, while he joins the Penske organization in IndyCar, he has run only one race in that circuit, winning the 2000 Indianapolis 500. We look forward to his return to the track in St. Petersburg, Florida in late March.
Matt Kenseth returns to the track this Sunday at Loudon, New Hampshire. Unlike the other five drivers among our hottest half dozen, which includes the Busch Brothers, Ryan Newman, Kevin Harvick, and Jeff Gordon, Kenseth has never won at Loudon in 27 attempts. Then again, he has never won six races in a season before, either, and that Joe Gibbs car of his might be just what he needs to break that streak in New Hampshire.
|Dale Earnhardt, Jr.||279||13||9||(13)||0||1||5|
|Juan Pablo Montoya||269||15||12||(20)||0||2||4|
|Ricky Stenhouse, Jr.||247||18||20||(19)||0||0||2|
|Martin Truex, Jr.||227||22||19||(17)||0||2||3|