Hi, everybody and welcome to the Martinsville After Chatter from Just A Fan’s View…
Martinsville lived up to the expectations of short track excitement and, no, the guy I picked didn’t win. (Oh, but you already knew that didn’t you. Hey, it was just my opinion considering the available information at the time.)
Oh well, all in all, it was an interesting race chock full of what every Nascar fan likes about the short tracks included in the schedule. There was beatin’ and bangin’ and all of the other things that go along with fast and tight, short track racing like short tempers and paybacks. I thoroughly enjoyed the whole race even though there were a couple of longer green flag runs that came close to being humdrum, but fortunately, it never really got there.
I won’t spend a lot of time today talking about the race — it was a great race — but I would like to mention a couple of things that caught my attention in particular.
The last laps and restarts between Jimmy Johnson and Denny Hamlin were every bit about why people like short tracks. The drivers have to be aggressive and that’s exactly what both of them were. Both of them took what the other wasn’t willing to give up. It was a great finish.
But that wasn’t what caught my attention, either. It was after the race when Denny Hamlin was being interviewed about the end of the race action between him and Jimmy Johnson. I was not only impressed but thoroughly surprised at the level of maturity he has reached. In the past, (and this is just my assessment of his reactions), he had a tendency to blame everybody and everything for his failure to win. This time, it seemed he enjoyed his performance, (which he should have), and simply stated that both of them were going for the same real estate in typical Martinsville, short track fashion and the next time, if the opportunity presents itself and the roles are reversed he will probably do the same thing that Jimmy did. In fact he said he would definitely do it.
His reaction impressed me and I have more respect for him than I did before. It also makes me look forward to the next short track race and hope the two of them are right in there, mixing it up at the end.
Well, another thing thing that caught my attention on Sunday was the overall dominance of the Hendrick teams and equipment at Martinsville. All four of the Hendrick racing teams finished in the top eight. Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman were in that mix as well, (and aren’t they also running Hendrick equipment.)
From this fan’s view, I think Stewart/Haas racing has been the biggest surprise so far in the early season. I won’t say I didn’t expect Tony’s teams to perform well, I just didn’t think they would be performing as well as they have so early in the season. It has been a pleasant surprise so far.
It has also been interesting to note the absence of the Roush cars near the front at the end of the last couple of races in particular. Jamie McMurray’s 10th place finish was the best of all the Roush teams this week. To me, that’s a bit surprising. I do expect to hear more from them in the coming weeks at the mile and a half race tracks in particular, which is one of their strengths.
This is Just A Fan’s View observation, but, this has been an interesting year so far. A year that started out with a lot of question marks has proved to be one of opportunity for some, disappointment for others and one that has actually exceeded expectations in many ways. There have been plenty of fans and plenty of cars, although some have not been as competitive as they would have liked to be I’m sure. It has been a time for some newer faces to show they have what it takes to be competitive at the Cup level of Nascar while others have managed to just hold their own.
From my view as ‘Just A Fan’, I have been pleasantly surprised by the efforts of Nascar, the tracks and the fans, (although I probably shouldn’t have been.) Nascar is a great sport and I am proud of all involved, whether it be the owners, drivers, team members or fans. To me, Nascar is one of the brighter spots in a time of great frustration and anxiety. I am glad they are as strong as they are and I am glad they all do what they do so well.
Well, next stop is Texas and I can’t wait…
See ya next time …
© April 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman