All I can say is WHEW!
Yesterday’s race kept me very glued to the television set even while cooking bbq ribs for Postman’s birthday festivities. I was worried this race would turn out like last Fall’s race when the COT made it’s debut. But on the contrary, it was well worth it.
Going into yesterday’s race, I knew it was going to be the Dale Jr. and Tony Stewart show. Sorry for all the fans of other drivers out there, that’s just the way I saw this particular race shake out. And it pretty much was that for majority of the race. Except there was that #11 guy, Denny Hamlin. Denny was either challenging for the lead or leading the pack. But looming in the distance, you could see that big #20 and the #88. But just when you think you have everything all figured out at Talladega, you don’t.
Earlier in the week, I did a comparision between Kyle Busch and Dale Earnhardt Jr. I gave the edge of Dale Jr. and the rest of the field and that includes over my driver Tony Stewart. Prior to yesterday the highest Kyle ever finished a race at Talladega was 11th. And yesterday it looked like once again Talladega was going to get him again.
On Lap 44, Kyle was having difficulties with his car. He tells his crew “This is a bad sign.” Then comes the miscue on pit road where Kyle cannot get over to pit on Laup 62, thus having to go around and come back through. This puts him 35th and almost a lap down. He will eventually go a lap down and on lap 117 will get the infamous lucky dog. But retarting at the back of the pack at Dega compared to staring at the back say at track like Bristol, is different and it was going to be a matter of time before Kyle made his way up front. After all most getting sideways with Jamie McMurray, Kyle takes the lead on Lap 170. I have to give major props to both drivers for not creating the Big One at this point of the race. I believe if this were the old car, Kyle Busch would not be celebrating in vicotry lance. At this point in the race, however, it was on as we say here in The Park. Gloves are off and it’s ever driver for himself. I know some of you Gordon fans out there didn’t like the way Kyle blocked Jeff, but hey it’s racing and that’s that. I have seen Gordon do the same thing. Like I said, it’s Talladega baby! You do whatever and/or draft with whoever to get yourself to the front–and that’s just what Kyle did to capture his first win at Talladega.
Talladega didn’t disappoint us with the Big One. The Big One occurred on Lap 173 when it looked like mass chaos. When it’s three wide and everyone is jocking for position, it’s just a matter of time before BAM! Bobby Labonte gets sideways and heads up the track and well…collects Tony, Martin Truex, Kurt B. and Jamie McMurray. Dale Jr. sustains damage to his vehicle. However, it was the end of the day for Smoke. He finished a bismal 38. This wasn’t the only Big One for the day. Just as white flag is thrown, Michael McDowell spins on the frontstretch, but no caution is thrown. However, there is a big crash towards the back. Apaprently #26 shoots up the track and collects quite a few cars including David Stremme who was having a great day substituting for Dario Franchetti who was injured the day before in a crash during the Nationwide race. David finished 28th.
I have give some kudos to Juan Pablo Montoya. He finished second to Kyle and I thought ran exceptionally well. Where did Denny Hamlin end up? That would be third. And which HMS driver finished the highest in yesterday’s race???…wait for it…Casey Mears. I turned to Postman at one point yesterday and jokingly said…Casey is racing today right? I know it must be difficult at times when your other 3 teammates get all the press coverage before, during, and after the race. Way to go Casey! David Ragan and Travis Kvapil had good days as well both finsihing 4th and 6th respectively.
All in all this Dega race did not disappoint. On a side note, yesterday we had Postman’s birthday celebration. The race was over by the time all the non-NASCAR guests arrived, but like with any good party there were some beatin’ and a bangin’. We had a sprainged knee, broken piggy bank, knee to the groin, and the final accident…a knee to the nose which caused some minor bleeding. That’s when I knew the party was over. Once you have blood drawn, the party’s over! That’s what you get from a party over in The Park.
Now we move on to Richmond and some Saturday night short track racing!