I don’t know, there’s just something about short track races. This last weekend at Martinsville was just about one of the most interesting NASCAR short track races I’ve watched in a long time. There was really never much of a let down in the action anywhere on the track and the racing was very good throughout the field. I don’t remember a Martinsville race keeping my attention for almost every lap as this one did; at least not recently.
In typical short track fashion, there were hurt feelings, high emotions and disappointments that carried over to the post-race interviews. Probably two of the most disappointed were the two drivers that have accounted for nine of the most recent victories at Martinsville, that is up until Sunday’s race, Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson. Both of them let their emotions show in their interviews with the press following the race.
Now, if you’re a Denny Hamlin fan please don’t don’t be offended, but in this fan’s opinion, Denny Hamlin has started his whining again. (Aw, never mind, it’s okay if you’re offended ’cause I’m gonna say what I’m gonna say anyway.)
He hasn’t had the greatest start to the year and it is obvious it bothers him. I don’t see anything wrong with him being disappointed, but I am bothered when a driver throws his crew chief and pit crew under the bus, which is what he appears to have done, (perhaps unintentionally.) This is not the first time he has has been more willing to look at his crew than at himself. Not everything is foreseeable and looking at the way his teammates are running, I don’t see a whole lot any of them are doing wrong. Yes, they’ve had some engine problems at JGR but I think at least some of that can possibly be attributed to the fuel change this year. From this fan’s view, it would do him well to deal with the problems better himself and let them be ironed out by the engineers and the engine builders and encourage his crew instead.
He says he looked at what he could do to make himself better after losing the Championship last year and, if he thinks he has made himself that much better since the end of last year, and they’re doing so bad, maybe he needs to consider going somewhere else instead of being at JGR. Kyle Bush has been able to deal with the problems they’ve faced and he isn’t looking too bad after the first six races. The same goes for Joey Logano; he hasn’t had that great of a start either but I haven’t heard him whining, at least not in public.
Jimmie Johnson wasn’t happy about being found speeding on pit road near the end of the race and appeared to think NASCAR didn’t want him to win and they called the penalty because they didn’t like the way his entry into his pit stall looked. Aw, come on champ… you may have won five Championships in a row but in this fan’s opinion, you’re still not perfect and I seriously doubt your brain is better than the electronics that timed you and found you speeding. No matter though, you’re still number three in the 2011 point standings even though you haven’t won in fourteen or so races. (Yes, it appears you’re right, NASCAR is definitely out to get you… )
Oh well, on to more important things than those typical after-a-short-track-race emotional outbursts and frustrations…
Once again, Kevin Harvick managed to take the win even after struggling most of the afternoon. Was it because he just got lucky? Did he cheat? Did he spin out those in front of him so he could win? No… he just passed all of the ones in front of him because he was faster at the end of the race than those he put behind him. In my opinion, just like last week, he had more horses hooked up to the track at the end. It was just good hard racing and a lot of hard work from the beginning of the race to the end by the driver and his crew. Did he throw his crew under the bus? No, but he did complain about the car at the beginning. I guess since he won, Harvick thought his crew redeemed themselves and he could put up with them one more week and not think they were the problem instead of the answer… (Hm-m-m, did that almost sound like a bit of sarcasm directed at someone else, possibly someone at JGR??? Oops, sorry… it was.)
Oh well, I can’t leave without saying something about the way Dale Jr has been running. It has been good to see how he’s done so far this year. It is this fan’s opinion, Rick Hendrick making Steve Letarte his crew chief has been good for Jr so far. He is looking better every week and I really do think Junior Nation is going to be happy when he ends up in Victory Lane very soon now. (In fact, it could be this coming Saturday night in Texas.) It is obvious how badly he wants to win simply by observing how disappointed he was to finish second at Martinsville.
Honestly, (and of course this is my opinion), he needs to lighten up on himself just a little bit. No, I don’t think he needs to become less competitive and we all know how much winning means. He was leading and finished second thanks to some good strategy and some good driving. It is my opinion, he should take the second at Martinsville and enjoy it as much as second can be enjoyed and move on to Texas and go for the win. Sometimes, we can all be our own worst enemy. There is nothing wrong with finishing second if you weren’t as fast as the competition. Sometimes you just have to take that second and build on it in the coming weeks until you end up in Victory Lane… (well, at least it sounds good from where I’m sitting… )
See ya next time…
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© April 5, 2011 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and Nascarfansview.com
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