Wow! That was some fine racing last night in the desert by one Mark Martin. First he decides to come out of semi-retirement to drive the #5 for Hendrick Motorsports. He then goes on to win 3 poles (Atlanta, Bristol, Phoenix). He started off the season after Daytona 15th in the standings. He fell near the danger zone in 34th after Atlanta, but after Bristol, he has steadily moved up in the standings and now sits in 13th just 9 points behind former Roush teammate Matt Kenseth. Even though I wanted Tony to capture his first win under Stewart Haas Racing, I was excited about Mark Martin’s victory.
I do have to say there was quite a bit of respect for Mr. Martin last night from teammates, fellow competitors, but most of all his former boss Mr. Jack Roush when they all came over to congratulate Mark in Victory Lane. I hadn’t seen something like that since Dale Sr. won his only Daytona 500. I like Mark Martin. He is always the first to say thank to his crew, thank to the fans, and he appreciates everything he has with regards to NASCAR.
I was excited to see Tony having a good night. His first victory of the year is so close we can all feel it. At Texas, Jeff Gordon broke his winless streak, last night Mark Martin broke his, perhaps next week at Talladega the #14 can get that first victory with SHR. He finished 3rd at Martinsville, 4th at Texas, and 2nd last night. It looks good for Talladega. I know Tony wanted to win last night, but I don’t think he minded that he was 2nd to Mark Martin. And like Mark Martin mentioned in Victory Lane, “Tony would have raced me clean, but he would have raced him crazy.” That about sums it from Phoenix folks.
The boys went for a little night racing last night out in Phoenix, AZ. I wasn’t able to watch the first part of the race however. I made the sacrifice to have dinner with some great friends of mine I hadn’t visited with in several weeks.
If you are a regular ready to The Park, you know I am not a fan of Jimmie Johnson. There are times I don’t even like to metion his name. With that being said, I have to give kudos to the #48 team in last night’s race. Chad has always been willing to take the chance to get a victory and last night was no different. With the laps and fueling dwindling, Chad told Jimmie to stay out and go for it. While the leader Mark Martin chose to come in for a splash of gas, Jimmie drove away to HMS’s first victory of the season.
I really wanted Mark Martin to win. If I could have willed him to victory last night he would have won. I don’t know if Mark was as low on gas as we all thought, but sometimes you have to roll the dice and take that chance. I know Mark was disappointed by last night’s results, he didn’t say anything negative in his post race interview with Fox. He did say he saved quite a bit of fuel and who knows what might have happened if they took that chance, but in the end what I saw of the race it was good.
The boys are off before they head to Talladega for some restrictor-plate, superspeedway racing. I have to admit I really do like watching races at Talladega. Those around me who are non-NASCAR fans think I watch the race for the crashes. I don’t like crashes. It takes away from the racing. I think a lot of NASCAR fans are rethinking their views on crashes after Michael McDowell’s crash at Texas.
I talked to my father last night and he was puzzled by the fact I wasn’t home watching the race, but I told him we had to get some things for Little Smoke. He is a big, I mean A BIG, Dale Jr. fan. He doesn’t even consider cheering for other racers. He despises Gordon and Johnson. He even told me he doesn’t think Gordon and Johnson are good drivers. I love my father, but come on Dad! You have to give those two drivers credit. They have 6 championships between the two of them and I have to make this little point dad…Dale Jr. has zero championships. I am not saying my Junior is not capable of winning one, I am just saying you have to give credit where credit is due. My dad and I had a disagreement during the Daytona 500 back in 2005. My step-mom had to threaten us with throwing us out of the house unless we calmed down. I guess when you have two-hard headed NASCAR fans get together these things will happen.