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Hi everybody and welcome to this edition of Just a Fan’s View…
Since there was no racing this weekend, I decided to wait a few days to release the ‘after chatter’ from Texas Motor Speedway because the big story from there has already been hashed and rehashed almost since the race completion. I don’t have anything new to add to that conversation, but …
I have to tell you, there are many reasons why I’m a Nascar fan and the racing last weekend in Texas was just one example. It was exciting to watch and the drama went right down to the last pit stop and the final laps.
Now, I have to admit, I really didn’t think Jeff Gordon would pull off the victory but he did and it was just one of the feel good stories of the weekend. With the way that Jimmy Johnson was coming on at the end it just seemed that Jeff was a sitting duck for his team-mate, but, Jeff’s car was fast enough to take the victory and it was great to see him finally break that 47 race drought of winning.
You notice I said that was just one of the feel good stories of the weekend. Another was Tony Stewart continuing to finish at the front of the pack even though his is a brand new team. I can’t say enough about how pleasantly surprised I am at his early success so far this year. I really didn’t expect to see him doing so well, but, I guess I should have expected it. I mean this IS Tony Stewart we’re talking about and he has always been impressively competitive since he came into the Cup series.
Having said all of that, it is Just this Fan’s View, but I do think part of Tony’s success has to do with his relationship and use of Hendrick equipment. His crew chief, Darian Grubb, has proved to be a great choice and the two have shown the ability to communicate well and produce results. It also doesn’t go unnoticed by this fan that Darian Grubb was formerly engineering manager for the Hendrick #5 and #88 teams and proved he could win in 2006 as a temporary crew chief for Jimmy Johnson. He also gave Casey Mears his only Cup victory in 2007 for HMS also.
Tony Stewart is a true competitor and it appears he also has good team owner capabilities and the ability to surround himself with people that can get the job done.
One of the obvious things that affected the outcome of the race on Sunday was the late race pit stops. In fact, the pit stops just about anywhere in the race proved to be important for track position and just about anyone of them had a great impact on the outcome of the race. The teams that had good pit stops finished ahead of those that didn’t and that isn’t unexpected. With the new car the pits and gaining track position has become an even greater part of the race than ever before.
The Roush teams proved they can still run on the 1 1/2 mile tracks and that they will be in contention for victories in the near future. They just need to work on their short track performance and, of course, their late race pit stops. The mistakes in the pits probably cost Carl Edwards the victory at Texas. Coming in for a stop in first place and leaving the pits in eleventh isn’t normally conducive to taking the checkered flag and it proved to be his downfall on Sunday afternoon.
Greg Biffle was coming on strong at the end of the race, but also had pit troubles that kept him from having a chance at winning in the end and he finished third. Matt Kenseth rounded out the top five making it three Roush cars in the top ten (finishing 3rd, 5th and 10th).
Other honorable mentions for the race would be Mark Martin and Kurt Bush. They finished 6th and 8th respectively and I really have to mention David Reutimann for Michael Waltrip Racing. He started on the pole and, except for a couple of miscues on pit road, could have been right in the mix for winning at the end of the race.
Well, next weekend is in Phoenix on Saturday night…
Tune in for Just A Fan’s View pre-race later on this week.
See ya next time…
©April 2009 – all rights reserved
Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman