Tuesday, May 22, 2012

NASCAR chatter....

The NASCAR Sprint All Star Race was viewed in one of two ways. One: a snoozer, or Two: a mockery.  I wasn't in either of those camps.  For me, the All Star race was a night where NASCAR saw cars actually make passes (a rule change affecting the skirts of the cars made for simply better racing).  In the end, to me, the All Star race was just what NASCAR designed it to be.  In this instance, though, they didn't think of all the possibilities.

Jimmie Johnson won the first 20 lap segment, and in turn, earned the right to be the first car down pit road before the final 10 lap segment.  Matt Kenseth, Brad Keselowski, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also won segments, and earned the spots behind Johnson leading into the mandatory pit stop prior to the final 10 lap segment.

So what did Johnson do?  He took his car out of the hornets nest that can be quite wild in the All Star event, and laid back.  WAY back.  There was no penalty for doing that, the only potential danger was falling a lap down (which he was never in jeopardy of being in that spot).  Had he fallen a lap down, he would have lost his final pit stop privileges.  Johnson took advantage of the race setup, saved his car from potential harm (from wreck of overworking his engine), and in the end, a quick stop and go was what he needed to stay in front, and win the race.

Certainly, this was not what NASCAR envisioned when it changed the format, and in a conversation with Johnson afterwards, he agreed that it will likely change next year.  To call it a sham or a mockery, is unfair.  That was the way it was laid out, advantage to the winner of the first segment.

Michael Waltrip offered up a solution to this scenario on Tuesday.  You can see it by clicking the link here.  It's really not that far out of whack, in my opinion.

As for the Coca Cola 600, put me down as Dale Earnhardt, Jr. being a threat to win it, but I am not writing off Kyle Busch.  Of course, Johnson is viewed as the favorite, considering his work at Darlington, and the All Star race, but Dale Jr. was a factor in this event last year, leading on the 402nd lap (of a green-white-checkered finish), before running out of fuel.  His strong run during the All Star night is a little more support that a streak-snapping win is imminent.

Finally, let me thank the many that reached out to me last week, as I dealt with the passing of my mother.  Your condolences and prayers helped me through a difficult week.  I was, and continue to be humbled by all of you.

Mike Solarte

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