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Nascar at Sonoma: The Infineon ‘After Chatter’ from Just a Fan’s View

The race at Infineon proved to be a real test of the double-file restart and ended with Richard Petty Motorsport’s Kasey Kahne, taking the win over Tony Stewart. Kahne flawlessly navigated the track in the final laps and managed to hold off Stewart through several restarts while “the King”, (Richard Petty), ended up with three teams finishing in the top ten.

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From this fan’s view, the double-file restarts did add a new dimension to the road course and made the final laps more than a little interesting not only for the fans, but the drivers, too. In particular, the double-file restart made the last laps all the more intense because it bunched the field together and contributed to some that were running at, or near, the front to finishing much further in the back.

I don’t think everyone was happy with the results handed them by the restarts but I do know it made for a very interesting finish since there were so many yellow flags near the end of the race. Everyone was right there together, trying to make up as many positions as possible and racing hard with those around them to the checkered flag.

In the end, it was a little like a short track race, at least with all the excitement generated from the late-race restarts. There was definitely no lack of beatin’ and bangin’ and, though the front runners managed to pull away, there was plenty of action from fourth on back to keep everyone wondering where their favorite was going to finish.

I have to admit, I was looking forward to this race more than usual. With all of the chatter about the effect the double-file restart would have, I just couldn’t wait to see what would happen. I wasn’t disappointed, especially at the end of the race, because it was definitely as advertised. I also noted that the first part of the race went as I expected it would. The cars that started out front stayed out there for quite awhile and it wasn’t until the first caution came out that things began to noticeably change.

Now, don’t get me wrong. There were several drivers that started way in the back and they were moving through the field fairly quickly to begin with. There were some teams that tried differing pit strategies and that added a bit to the minimal drama at the first part of the race. When it came down to crunch time, it did make a difference who had pitted before any unexpected cautions came out. Robby Gordon paid a price for waiting one lap too long and he definitely was not in contention at the end because of that decision.

Marcos Ambrose put on an impressive performance even with having to start in the rear because of his engine failure during practice. I think, with just a little bit of luck, he could have walked away with the victory. He did put on an impressive display and definitely showed his road racing prowess. I liked watching him before Infineon and I will continue to watch him with expectation as the rest of the year progresses. He could very well be the next driver to deliver a trophy for Michael Waltrip Racing. It wouldn’t surprise me in the least.

As I stated in my last article, I like Nascar hitting the road racing tracks and one thing is very obvious to this fan; all of the teams are sending much better prepared cars and drivers to the road courses and I see the possibility of many more of them being able to finish up front than before. It just proves, once again, Nascar drivers are absolutely the best drivers in the world and they prove it with every race they participate in. At the very least, I would say they live up to the hype.

Well, that pretty much covers the race at Infineon from last week. I’m sure there’s plenty more we could talk about, but it is time to move on to next week. Nascar will be at Loudon, NH and some call that track just another Martinsville, except bigger. Me? Well, I’m  just always looking forward to the next race after the last race. I love Nascar racing … How about you??

See ya next time …

Rusty

(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)

© June 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.