Wednesday, March 23, 2011

The Speeding Bullets: Jeff Byrd 500 '11

  • Congratulations to Kyle Busch on getting his second weekend sweep in a row at Bristol.  Bristol has become Kyle's House like Charlotte for a while was Jimmie's House.  He dominates there any opportunity he gets and has too many impressive statistics at the track to be named.  The most impressive one of all though in my opinion is that he has won four out of the past five Cup races in Thunder Valley; that is something extremely difficult to accomplish.  Busch seems to have more maturity and a different way about him than he has had in the past couple of years.  If he wants to win a championship, he needs to get to the point where he can have a consistent top ten finish each week instead of every race being hit or miss as it is now.  Kyle should just try to learn from his brother Kurt; the guy is leading the points with four top tens so far in the first four races of the season...
  • Carl Edwards got a solid second place finish and gave Kyle a run for his money.  He just didn't have the car to beat Busch, so the only way he could have overtaken was to use the bump n' run.  Carl didn't want to knock him out of the way with ten laps still to race in fear of possible retaliation, and that was probably a smart strategy considering the fact that Kyle did have a faster car.  At first I questioned Edwards' decision but then decided he made the right choice after seeing that in the 2002 night race Jeff Gordon waited to make his memorable maneuver on Rusty Wallace in the final four laps.  Rowdy better watch his back though because Carl made it clear after the race that he intends to give him a little trouble in the next couple of weeks...
  • Jimmie Johnson came home in third which was kind of disappointing for him after leading the most laps, but Kyle hinted at the fact in victory lane that he let him lead most of those laps.  The three-man battle between Busch, Edwards, and Johnson reminded me a lot of the three-man battle a couple of years ago at Dover between Biffle, Edwards, and Kenseth.  This observation brings up the point I want to make that I think when Bristol was reconfigured it was basically turned into Dover.  Just ask yourself why Jimmie used to suck at Bristol for most of his career but suddenly he started winning and getting top five finishes there like the flip of a switch.  The answer: because Johnson is dominant at Dover and Bristol has now become a half-sized version of the Monster Mile...
  • Maybe the fact that Bristol has become Dover can explain why the place seemed half-empty during Sunday's race.  I have never seen Bristol that empty before and was shocked in the prior weeks when I saw ads on t.v. trying to sell tickets for the race.  At first I would have blamed the problem on the economy, but then I thought about how full the first three races of the season were.  So the problem must be the racing.  People want the old Bristol back, and the track will continue to have a problem selling out unless something is done to fix the issue...
  • RCR's three anchor teams continued to struggle on Sunday while Paul Menard continued to rise to the occasion.  Menard has tentatively become the guy keeping RCR in contention, and if he keeps up the good work he just may have an opportunity to make the Chase.  On the other hand, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton looked as pitiful as ever, two guys who usually are good at Bristol.  Kevin Harvick is the monkey in the middle as he managed to rebound and finish sixth after an incident earlier in the race but doesn't have the same touch he did last year.  As a whole though, RCR needs to take a good long hard look at what has been going wrong while it is still early in the season and they still have some room for error...

That's all from Bristol.  Next week, NASCAR goes back out west for their lone Cup race at Fontana.  It will be interesting to see if attendance is any better now that the track only has one event.  Jimmie Johnson came close to victory this week at Bristol, and I think that out in California is where he will get the cigar...


Gene Haddock said...

Anytime you have runs so long at a short track that green flag pit stops are necessary, something is wrong.
The race was still good, not great... and it will not be the most boring race of the month either.

Any race Kyle wins is exciting!

klvalus said...

Geez Gonger have you and Tyler been talking? LOL

I was shocked by the lack of fans in the stands too...I just told all those rookies I took to Daytona there was no way we'd get seats to Bristol - guess we are going next year!

Fontana may suffer attendance because everyone out west had to choose between PHX, Vegas and LA within a month of each other- thats a lot of coin and time off. PHX is the best racing of that bunch fo'sho.

Brent said...

Gene, it means that the guys aren't racing hard enough and are being too conservative. The new Bristol has been letting me down; I want the old one back!!! And yes, Fontana will be much worse than this...

Kristen, I actually wrote this post on Monday, so everything I put in it I dug out of my own brain... haha. Vegas used to be up there with Phoenix, but it hasn't been quite as good the past couple of years.

jon_464 said...

Kristen, I'd still choose Sonoma over ALL them, (for obvious reasons) but of those three, I'd take the PHX.

Brent, good rundown. I figured that Menard would improve, but I never thought he would turn into last year's Happy Harvick! I, too, see something amiss with the 29 team, and I can't quite place my finger on it. I think it was when he blew an engine very early at Daytona (only the third or fourth such incident of Harvick's career) that it rattled the 29 team a bit. Bristol HAS become Dover South, I agree.

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