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NASCAR at Dover After Thoughts: Johnson Wins Number Two and the Monster Bites a Few

Rusty NormanJimmie Johnson won race number two of the Chase and once again tamed the Monster Mile. He didn’t just win, but it could be said that he had a dominate performance by also taking the pole and leading the most laps. So does this mean he is headed for his fifth Cup Championship in a row?

Well… if you ask some, this is exactly why NASCAR found Clint Bowyer’s #33 car illegal last week; so Jimmie Johnson could once again make history and he and Denny Hamlin could battle it out for themselves for the championship. Now we all know, NASCAR doesn’t do things like that (no matter how many people think they do) but it does give more opportunity for the “Black Helicopter” rumors to once again get started.

You know, as a fan, I do grow tired of the suspicion of how NASCAR tries to manipulate things like others do in those “Reality TV” shows. (Personally, I don’t watch them for several reasons, but mostly for the reason stated above – there’s hardly anything real about them even though they’re called Reality TV.)

You see, I have an advantage over some of you… I’ve raced and I do definitely understand how things can change in a race and in a season simply because racers go through a spell where nothing seems to go right. (Honestly, sometimes it does seem like there are racing gods and they do try to manipulate things even though I know there are no such things.)

So, what does happen? Well, as usual, that’s a great question and I’m glad someone asked it.

Racing is an interesting sport. It has highs and lows and it definitely seems to ride waves of times when you can’t do anything wrong no matter what you do and other times that nothing goes right no matter what you do or how good you car is. These are just my observations, but if you ask anyone who has raced, they will probably tell something similar.

Yes, I’ve heard people say, “Well, you make your own luck,” and I can say I understand where they’re coming from. The only thing I will say to that is; yes, you always try to put yourself in position to make the most of a situation by being well prepared, but in racing, not everything depends totally on your preparation or performance. Sometimes other people affect your performance by their actions and lack of preparedness. That’s because there is more than one person on the track at the same time… you’re racing more than a clock and a piece of asphalt or concrete. You’re racing those and the others on the track and the situations that come about because of them and their performance and actions. (It’s not a war, really, but sometimes it does seem that way. I guess that’s why it’s called competition.)

The Joe Gibbs’ teams did make a good showing by all of them finishing in the top ten. The best of the three was Joey Logano in third followed by Kyle Bush in sixth and Denny Hamlin in ninth. Denny was happy to finish in the top ten since he usually seems to have problems at the Monster Mile. Kyle wasn’t happy about finishing sixth but was definitely happier with that than any further back in the field.

The RCR cars were mostly bitten by the Monster with Kevin Harvick finishing fifteenth and Clint Bowyer finishing twenty-fifth. Jeff Burton was the RCR bright spot finishing second. Clint Bowyer definitely had a bad week over all and we’ll find out whether NASCAR finding his car illegal will be reversed on Tuesday. If the ruling is reversed he will be ninth in points instead of twelfth.

Others in the top twelve for the Chase bitten by the Monster were Jeff Gordon finishing just outside the top ten in eleventh because of a lug nut issue on the last pit stop; Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle finishing eighteenth and nineteenth and Tony Stewart finishing twenty first which definitely was not what he needed after running out of gas with a lap to go last week while leading.

So far, no one has really taken the point with really strong performances over the first two Chase races. Yeah, Denny Hamlin is still in first, but he hasn’t really dominated the rest of the contenders; they’ve just had their own set of problems and he’s ended up the better for it. That may or may not change over the next couple of races and, who knows, this may actually be the year the Chase isn’t decided until the last lap at Homestead in November…

Well… I reckon we’ll see about that, won’t we?

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© September 27, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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By Rusty Norman

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