Each week, Frontstretch Senior Staff Writer Becca Gladden looks at the weekend's Nextel Cup race from a reporter's point of view, covering the Who, What, When, Where, Why, and How of the race, the drivers, the TV coverage, even the commercials. Check back every Monday for Becca's fun and thought-provoking commentary.
Who â€¦ gets my shout-out of the race?
Martin Truex, Jr., and the No. 1 team of DEI. It was Martin’s first Cup win in 58 starts, his first Top 5 this year, and the second week in a row that a first-time winner was in Victory Lane – right on the heels of Casey Mears’ winning performance last week. In light of the turmoil that has engulfed DEI since the announcement of Dale Earnhardt, Jr.‘s pending departure, Truex and team deserve extra credit for maintaining their composure while under constant media scrutiny. Said Truex after the race, “I still don’t understand where everyone was coming from when they thought that D.E.I. was going to go away just because Dale Junior went away. It started before he started driving. He’s a great asset, he’s been a great teammate for me, he’s been a great mentor for me. But we can go on. We can win races, just as we’ve shown today.”
What â€¦ punishment should NASCAR levy against Kurt Busch?
Unless they want an outright fan riot on their hands, my email tells me that NASCAR better come down swift and hard on the reckless Kurt Busch, who ironically just a few weeks ago lectured little brother Kyle about patience on the racetrack. After trading paint with Tony Stewart for several laps, Busch lost both his patience and his temper and moved up the track in front of Stewart before having him cleared, resulting in a wreck that caused extensive damage to both cars. While Stewart was getting serviced in his pit stall, Busch then sped onto pit road and sideswiped the No. 20, forcing Stewart’s jackman to leap onto the hood of the racecar to avoid getting run over by the No. 2. Busch said that he “wanted to make a point,” but added, “when you make a point like that, it always ends up making it worse.” Gee Kurt, do you think?
Where â€¦ did Michael Waltrip finish the race?
Waltrip started 23rd and finished 28th, five laps down due to a flat tire on Lap 338. As it was the first race he’s qualified for since the Daytona 500, things definitely could have been a lot worse. Toyota had five cars in the field, and Waltrip was the manufacturer’s second-highest finisher after Brian Vickers who came in 19th. Vickers is also the current points leader for Toyota at 38th.
When â€¦ was the last time Carl Edwards or Kasey Kahne won a Cup race?
Insiders often discuss the tendency of this sport to humble people, and that trend is certainly evident in the recent history of these two rising stars. In 2005, Carl Edwards won four Cup races, qualified for the Chase in his first full-time Cup season, and finished an impressive third in the standings. Last year, Kasey Kahne led all drivers with six wins, made the Chase, and finished eighth in points. But Edwards’ last win was in November 2005 at Texas, while Kahne’s was in October 2006 at Charlotte. Both Roush (Ford) and Evernham (Dodge) are struggling this year, particularly compared to the Chevy powerhouse teams like Hendrick, Gibbs and Childress. Now comes speculation that NASCAR might overhaul testing rules in a further attempt to create parity among teams. Speculation swings from the possibility of expanding the NASCAR-sanctioned test schedule to eliminating testing altogether. What say you, race fans?
Why â€¦ did it rain in Dover on Sunday?
Well, you could blame it on the remnants of tropical storm Barry sweeping up the East Coast. But if you’re a believer in fate – or perhaps divine intervention – you can’t escape the fact that the rain created a scenario Monday in which the NASCAR world was together to collectively hear the sad news of the passing of NASCAR patriarch Bill France, Jr. Word of Mr. France’s death broke midway through the race, but team members scoffed at suggestions by some in the media that the race should’ve been halted at that moment. “Well, if you were thinking about Bill at that time, I think he would have been really upset if they would have thrown a red flag for him,” said four-time Cup champ Jeff Gordon. “I’m pretty sure they did what he would have asked for.” Indeed.
How â€¦ interesting would it be if Mark Martin makes the Chase?
Considering that Martin is running a part-time schedule this season, it would indeed be an unusual twist for him to make the Chase. The Dover race was number 13 on the schedule, marking the exact halfway point to the Chase cutoff after 26 races. Mark has run only 10 of the 13 races this year, but is 12th in points on the strength of six top-10s and a “worst” finish of 17th. Although he added three races to his program since the start of the year, Martin is still scheduled to compete in just 24 of the season’s 36 points races, making it extremely improbable that he could actually make the Chase. But it is fun to consider the possibilities, isn’t it?
Editor’s Note : For all the latest news and information concerning the death of Bill France, Jr. click here for all that Frontstretch has to offer on this tragic loss.
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