Wednesday, March 11, 2009

The Speeding Bullets: Kobalt Tools 500

I enjoyed watching this race. There was a really exciting side by side battle between Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon for much of the event. There was strategy at the end about whether to pit or not which set us up for a classic Atlanta style finish. Hopefully, this race and the other three are a positive sign for the rest of the season.
  • In Jon's GBU, the winner of the race automatically "gets the first billing", but in my blog he "gets the first bullet". Kurt Busch dominated all day from second starting position and cruised to what seemed like an easy victory. There was one scare for him mid-race when he scraped the wall while leading. His race car seemed indomitable especially on the final restart by zooming by Carl Edwards. Great Job Kurt! Two in a row for the Busch brothers.
  • Many of us were starting to think that Kurt had lost his knack for racing after failing to get a legitimate victory in several seasons. By saying legitimate, I don't mean the lucky one he got when rain fell at New Hampshire. This win gained his long lost respect back from all of us fans.
  • Lately, we just never know whether Kurt Busch is going to be a hero or a goat. At tracks he does seemingly well at, he ends up with a poor finish. And, at tracks he has a horrible record at, he manages to get a top five. With the "Blue Deuce", expect a great race or a horrendous one but nothing in between.
  • I really thought that we would witness Jeff Gordon overtake Kurt Busch on the final lap of the race. Gordon had a good car but not a spectacular one like Busch had. If Jeff were to win the race, he would have needed a tremendous push from Carl Edwards which he failed to receive. Many people say that Bristol is Jeff's week to get that long sought win, and it very well could happen after two second place finishes. Each race, he has been so close to victory yet so far...
  • Carl Edwards gambled on the final pit stop by not coming in for those four precious Goodyears. In most cases as the COT has proved, track position is more important than tires, but that rule of thumb contradicted itself on Sunday. On that final restart, Carl was a sitting duck (LAUGH). Get it???
  • Kyle Busch was surprisingly a non-factor in Sunday's race. He qualified ninth and finished three laps down in 18th position. I think we were all expecting a big run for him after that incredible comeback in the truck race. Remember: expect the unexpected.
  • Without question, the Mistake of the Week award for Atlanta goes to Marcus Ambrose's pit crew. How can they let a tire roll all the way out into the front stretch grass? Then, one of the men had to make a perilous journey out to get it.
  • Too bad for Brian Vickers. He was in a perfect position to make a late pass on Kurt Busch and get a respected and well-earned victory. We all remember how he got that first victory back at Talladega, don't we? Well, all he did was take out Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Jimmie Johnson in the heart of NASCAR nation (not a bright idea). Again, the theory of mistakes in the pits costing a driver the race proved itself once more...
  • These "start and park" guys are really starting to irritate me. All they do is start in the back, run a few laps, and go into the garage for some mechanical failure. I must say that is not too bad of a payday though. I really think NASCAR needs to cut the field to 38 drivers: the top 35 qualifiers, the top two drives in points, and one champion provisional. Thanks to Hanahan for sparking the idea.
  • There were so many empty seats in the stands even though it was a beautiful day in Hampton, GA. Several factors possibly contributed to that: the time change, the economy, and the waiting lines. Atlanta Motor Speedway doesn't have enough workers to process the fans through fast enough, and some of them may have walked off in disgust. Even though AMS is my home track, I, too, am questioning why it gets two Sprint Cup races a year.
  • During the broadcast, Larry McReynolds kept talking about how "we sure do need an off-week before going to Bristol". That doesn't make much sense, does it? Only four races into the season, we already going to take a break (not even for a holiday). Well, I guess I'll just watch Tiger Woods play golf down in Miami... I might even "crank it up" and hear some birds honking or wind roaring.

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