The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Darlington Race Recap by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday May 9, 2011

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Darlington Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin · Monday May 9, 2011


The Key Moment – Brad Keselowski gave Regan Smith just enough of a shove on the final restart to keep him ahead of Carl Edwards on two fresher tires for the final two laps.

In a Nutshell – Regan Smith, driving for an underfunded single-car team based out of Colorado scored the second big upset win of the season.

Dramatic Moment – You knew those final two restarts were going to produce some bent fenders and frayed tempers but I don’t think anyone expected the fireworks that ensued at the end of the race.

Waiting to see if Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were actually going to come to blows after the race. It looked like the two of them were there to kick ass and chew gum. My money would have been on the one without the gum sponsorship.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

Let me go on the record despite knowing a few of you are going to try to tear me a new one. I’m all for the “Boys Have At It” attitude. This sport has been sadly lacking in emotion and rivalries for over a decade. But there’s a line I think should never be crossed. If Harvick and Busch had leapt out of their cars and pounded each other half-comatose I’d have been OK with that. But it wasn’t acceptable for Busch to drive into the back of Harvick’s Chevy once the 29 driver had exited the vehicle. Crew members and officials were rushing to the area to intervene and the media was scrambling to that same area to get comments and pictures. One of these non-coms with no dog in the fight could easily have gotten run over or crushed between the 29 car and the wall. Fortunately the incident took place at the fourth corner end of pit road so few people had made it to the area yet though from his vantage point I doubt Busch knew that or cared much apparently. If Busch decided discretion was the better part of valor, reversed and fled the area before another punch was thrown that’s his prerogative. Take care of issues you have with another driver on the track or in the garage area (outside of their cars), not on pit road.

Also on the record I can understand Harvick’s level of annoyance. Busch swept down two lanes to hook Harvick and wreck him. It clearly wasn’t accidental. I predicted months ago when the kinder gentler Kyle Busch finally reignited it was going to be volcanic and Busch’s actions Saturday night made Pompeii look like a firecracker. Kudos to Busch’s PR person for being able to spin Busch’s post-race comments to look like he was being reasonable so quickly.

One last note on that pit road fracas. Some folks seem to think that Harvick left his car in neutral while climbing out. Even I won’t climb out of a stick shift car with the vehicle in neutral and I ain’t got the sense God gave a goose. Given the audio of the incident the 29 car was in gear. Yeah, it’s possible to push a car ahead of yours even while it is in gear and set it to rolling. How do you think they start sprint cars? And no, Cup cars don’t have parking brakes.

You know Juan Pablo Montoya had to be exhaling a huge sigh of relief after the race. Montoya, who had what could be politely termed an “eventful” evening, was off the hook after the Harvick/Busch war erupted at the end of the race.

Let me ask again. There was a great crowd on hand Saturday night despite the race’s awkward race date and the event featured some of the best racing of the season. How is it Darlington lost a race date to some McTrack out there in the Land of Fruits, Nuts, and Flakes?

It was hard not to notice the SPEED crew’s post-race team loudly applauding Smith’s win as he joined them on set. Wait a second, didn’t I hear earlier this year that applauding a race winner was unprofessional conduct for a media member? No, I don’t think the SPEED guys did anything wrong. I just think it’s further evidence some old school members of the media need to get the sticks out of their respective asses and lighten up a bit. Whatever media rulebook you pledged to as a journalism major at Faber College is just gone, baby, gone.

Regan Smith and his underdog Furniture Row team pulled off the second major upset of the 2011 Sprint Cup season at Darlington.

First it was Trevor Bayne at Daytona. Saturday night it was Regan Smith at Darlington (with his mother missing the event to help victims of the tornados in Alabama on Mothers’ Day Eve for goodness sake). If this sort of racing doesn’t sell some tickets and improve the TV ratings, what will?

Regan Smith isn’t going to win the Most Popular driver award as voted by the fans this year. That honor will almost certainly go to Dale Earnhardt Jr. again. But I think it’s a pretty telling tribute to who he is as a man and a racer that so many of his competitors were flat out thrilled he’d won the race even if it meant they weren’t holding the trophy aloft. Even second place Carl Edwards rushed over to the 78 car to offer congratulations to the journeyman winner after the race. Popularity is something your PR people garner for you by and large these days. Respect from your peers after enduring hard times is something you earn.

Was it just me or did Kasey Kahne sound a little off kilter in his post-race interview? Yes, he hit the wall, but not all that hard and yes it was a four hour race. And he is in fact still recovering from knee surgery which I can attest is no picnic. But Kahne sounded like someone who’d gotten a good dose of carbon monoxide during the race.

To everyone who emailed me on the topic, yes Darrell Waltrip sounded more than a little off his game Saturday night, constantly repeating and even contradicting himself and sounding badly confused at times. At times even Mike Joy seemed a little concerned about his broadcast partner. And for the record Waltrip’s eldest daughter Jessica was born on September 17th, 1987. The next NASCAR race was at Dover and Ricky Rudd won the race not DW. Waltrip finished tenth that day five laps off the pace and never even led a lap. Yeah, it’d have been a great story if a driver won the next race after both his children were born but it just didn’t happen. Like the tale of the minnow pond at Darlington it’s a great yarn but it simply ain’t true.

OK, did Ryan Newman actually haul off and slug Juan Pablo Montoya during a NASCAR moderated sit-down to cool off the differences between both drivers? Neither Newman or Montoya were saying much about the incident and NASCAR officials were only saying that “the meeting didn’t go as well as we hoped…..” (Sort of like the Chase, huh?) Could this be the first real test of “Boys Have At It”? NASCAR officials should frisk Montoya and Newman for weapons then let them go behind a trailer outside of public and media scrutiny and let them settle this feud that has been festering for all these years once and for all.

It does seem that old animosities can be laid aside eventually. Jimmy Spencer of SPEEDTV this week opined in his column that everyone should give Kurt Busch a little slack for his profane and pointed comments about his team over the radio last week at Richmond. This from a fellow driver who once poked Busch one right in the yap for mouthing off to him after a race? Spencer agrees with Busch that the team hasn’t been giving Kurt competitive equipment this year. If I recall Busch was the only driver to score top 10 finishes in this season’s first four races and he led the points at one point during that stretch before donning his role as martyr.

Much has been made about Brian France’s PR blitz earlier this week both on this site and others. Yeah, I watched it all just like you can’t turn away from a train wreck especially when you’re riding in the caboose of the train. (Waving red lanterns in my case.) Yes, France’s handlers got him to wear a tie, comb his hair and stop waving his hands around in the wind like his fingernails were on fire. But he still got that same pissed off look in his eyes every time he was asked a question he didn’t care for. What I found most telling was on several occasions he referred to NASCAR’s top division as “Cup” racing. So what, right? I do it every week. But notably lacking was the usual term France has insisted on for years, “Sprint Cup racing.” Trouble in paradise?

During a slow news week one of the press releases that caught my attention had to do with Jeff Gordon’s wreck at Richmond when the 24 car hit a section of wall not protected by the SAFER barrier. The impact measured 40gs, a potentially fatal amount of energy fortunately largely dissipated by the car before it reached the four time champion. In light of the force of impact NASCAR recommends that section of wall should have a SAFER barrier installed. No, really. You think? NASCAR also recommends that if your head is ablaze you consider dousing it. If it’s nice one day later this week maybe I’ll take the bike for a run up to Pocono to see what the track did with that section on the back straight where Elliott Sadler hit with such devastating force last summer.

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

It was a tough final few laps for Richard Childress Racing with Jeff Burton blowing up and Harvick and Clint Bowyer getting wrecked in that incident on the subsequent restart. All three drivers had posted strong showings throughout the night but came up short when the pay window opened.

The contact between Brian Vickers and David Ragan was typical Darlington but the results were bizarre. Because of the angle the two cars hit, the left side of Vickers’ Toyota was pretty much totally peeled away.

Kyle Busch clearly had a shot at winning until his team once again left a wheel loose during a pit stop forcing Busch to pit again. While Busch made a determined drive back to the front it was clearly his annoyance at the incident that triggered the melee that ended the race.

Jimmie Johnson’s crew also made an uncharacteristic error leaving a wheel loose on a late race stop. Earlier Johnson had to reverse out of his pit box after Paul Menard spun into the pit box directly ahead of the 48 team’s.

Dale Earnhardt Jr. drove from a 30th place starting position to flirting with the top 5 until a costly commitment cone violation entering the pits ended his chances at a decent result.

Martin Truex Jr. wanted his whole pit crew fired after last week’s debacle at Richmond. I wonder if that crew wants a new driver after Truex spun while trying to enter pit road.

Bobby Labonte was enroute to a solid eleventh place finish when he got caught up in that last lap wreck. I’m still curious why NASCAR didn’t throw the caution for that wreck. Yeah, it’s better to have the races finish under green but not at the cost of safety.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Regan Smith won his second Cup race….and gets to keep the trophy this time. (Not to mention how close Smith came to wrecking when none other than Kyle Busch chop blocked him late in the race.)

It looked like pole-sitter Kasey Kahne’s evening was over when he slapped the wall hard early in the race. Kahne rallied back to a solid fourth place finish.

Carl Edwards had a great week with a second place finish Saturday and the birth of his second child earlier this week.

As badly as he’s been running lately a competitive seventh place finish with an outside chance at the win late had to be sweet vindication for owner/driver Tony Stewart.

Worth Noting

  • Smith’s win was not only his first career Cup victory (nod-nod, wink-wink…except for Talladega) but his first top 5 result ever in the Big Leagues.
  • Carl Edwards has top 10 finishes in eight of this season’s first ten races. His averaging finishing position to date is 7.3.
  • Brad Keselowski’s third place finish was his first top 10 of the year.
  • Ryan Newman’s fifth place finish matches his best of the 2011 season. Oddly enough Newman has finished fifth four times this season.
  • Tony Stewart’s seventh place finish was his best since Las Vegas.
  • Greg Biffle (eighth) has top 10 finishes in three of the last four races.
  • Jamie McMurray’s ninth place finish was just his second top 10 result of 2010.
  • Truex’s tenth place finish was his best since Vegas.
  • Kyle Busch has run seven different paint schemes in this season’s ten races. No wonder none of the other drivers can recognize the imminent threat of the 18 car behind them and get out of the way.
  • Jeff Gordon’s average finish this season is about eighteenth.
  • Jimmie Johnson’s fifteenth place finish was his worst since Las Vegas.
  • Jeff Burton is still looking for his first top 10 result of 2010. Who’d have thunk?
  • Parity at last? The four automakers competing in NASCAR each grabbed one of the top 4 finishing positions at Darlington. Overall the top 10 finishers drove four Chevys, three Toyotas, a pair of Fords and a Dodge.

What’s the Points?

The top 5 in the points, Edwards, Johnson, Busch, Earnhardt and Harvick held their positions. Johnson is now 23 points behind Edwards. Harvick is fifty points, more than a full race worth of markers, out of the lead. But in the big picture Harvick is sitting plush with a royal flush, aces back to back. (In plain English he’s won two races.)

The Stewart-Haas Racing duo had a good points night with Newman advancing two spots to sixth and Stewart advancing three spots to seventh.

Kurt Busch and Clint Bowyer had bad points nights each falling two spots in the standings. They are now are now eighth and ninth respectively.

Greg Biffle advanced two spots to that coveted final twelfth position in the run up to the Chase. The honor is nebulous in that if the Chase field were to be determined right now Jeff Gordon would claim that final spot because he won at Phoenix.

There seems to be some confusion among some fans about the import of Smith’s win at Darlington. No, he isn’t in position to make the Chase quite yet. To win a Wild Card berth a driver must not only win a race but be within the top 20 in regular season points. Smith is currently 27th in the points, 29 points out of the top 20.

It’s still too early to panic about points but some big name drivers are probably beginning to sweat a bit. Drivers like Denny Hamlin (sixteenth), Jamie McMurray (21st), Jeff Burton (24th) and Joey Logano (25th) really need to win a race or two to solidify their Chase hopes. Any one of those drivers is capable of winning multiple races soon, but might need that back door into the Chase if their performance doesn’t improve dramatically.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — We’ll give this one five bottles of icy cold Corona served up with a shot of Gentleman Jack and a fried bologna sandwich. Yes, the action dragged a bit in the center of the race costing Darlington another full six-pack, but the ending was all you could ask for… and then some.

Next Up – The circuit heads off to Dover but oddly enough, I am heading off to watch my beloved niece Hayley graduate from the Pennsylvania Academy of Fine Arts (Bryan Keith will fill in). I’ll be back for Charlotte. Meanwhile, I urge you to check out the latest column written by Frontstretch’s newest columnist, Dr. Mark Howell, this Thursday; he’s a longtime friend of mine and a great addition to a great site.

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
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Doug in Washington (State)
05/09/2011 12:54 AM

Kyle claimed the reason he didn’t back up on pit road was because he’d lost reverse. Do I believe it? No, but good try.

Since I neither like Harvick or Busch, but dislike Harvick more, I wasn’t upset to see Harvick get turned though there was no reason for Busch to do it except he was angry. I was glad no one else got taken out since he did it to him in front of the whole field. But it was amusing trying to watch Kyle run away from Harvick. I thought they were going to chase each other around the track until both cars were steaming piles of junk.

I thought NASCAR might park Busch after that hook-and-spin move (which happened after the caution came out but before anyone had slowed up much). They’ve done similar- parked Waltrip for ramming Mears a few years ago. But, they didn’t. Busch shoving Harvick’s unmanned car down pit road probably was dangerous, but I’d have to admit I’d have done the same thing with Harvick throwing punches in the window. Though I can’t see how he could land much with the helmet and seat in the way. Thankfully no one got hit.

Question is if this spills into Dover. Like Montoya/Newman they’ve probably been told not to get anywhere near each other.

Bill B
05/09/2011 07:27 AM

Great racing Sat at Darlington. I would have preferred it without those last couple of cautions though. IMO, late cautions and double file restarts create crapshoot endings. Personally, I like the first of two-thirds of the race to matter more. You know, where a guy that ran in the top 5 all night ends up with a top 5 finish. Instead, more and more, they can easily get shuffled back when all the silliness occurs in the last 20 laps. What’s the point?

You mention DW being off Saturday night. Did anyone catch him saying “If it’s any conSTELLation” instead of “If it’s any conSOLation”? I cracked up when I heard that.

Carl D.
05/09/2011 08:18 AM

“Let me go on the record despite knowing a few of you are going to try to tear me a new one.”

Matt, that will be Susan once she’s read your take-down of her beloved Kyle Busch. In my opinion, it was just Darlington racing… drivers tend to lose their patience and get a little agressive at the track. The guy I felt sorry for was Clint Bowyer, who ran a solid race and got taken out for being in the wrong place at the wrong time. But again, that’s Darlington.

Is it just me, or does it seem silly for a guy with a helmet on to throw a punch at guy with a helmet on?

Kyle Busch seems to be making enemies at a brisk pace this year. That’s gonna bite him at some point in time.

As for the G-W-C restart, if you’re Brad Keselowski, you go with Regan Smith and then try to beat him for the win. Brad had to know that if Carl Edwards got the lead, the #99 on fresh tires would win the race. I don’t think it had anything to do with any past animosity between Brad and Carl.

Hats off to Regan Smith and the entire Furniture Row team for their improbable win.

05/09/2011 08:51 AM

Didn’t anyone else catch the seething irony of the FOX crew’s earlier mentions of “Kyle Busch at the height of his maturity”?

05/09/2011 09:33 AM

Holy Crap! No way! Matt M. doesnt like what Kyle Busch did? What a freakin surprise. I knew what this article was going to say before I even booted up my computer this morning.

Too bad the crappy Wood Brothers cant just win all the races so we can finally hear some optimism in Matt’s column.

05/09/2011 09:51 AM

Great race, nice to see a hometown (Syracuse) driver win a Cup race. Boy, I lost a ton of respect for Busch. He should be fined for not getting out and fighting. Kyle ruined the post-race entertainment. Maybe the pendulum is swinging back and some of these small teams have a chance again (if be it a small one). This has been a fun year in Cup all around. I can’t wait till Busch v. Harvick and Montoya v. Newman + fires up again.

05/09/2011 10:09 AM

Any real race fan on here knows that the trouble on Saturday night with Busch & Harvick started a half a lap earlier. Did you people watch the race! On the back stretch Harvick cut down and forced Kyle low and then let him by and gave him a shot going into 3. This is what caused any payback along with stupid Clint Bowyer forcing the issue 3 wide under his own team mate. These accidents, and I use that term losely are usually started a lap earlier than what everybody realizes. Go back and look for yourself. Now I am not saying what Kyle did on pitroad was correct but it will probably teach Harvick not to get out of his car again until he is in the garage! Spice it up and you may start filling seats again. I thought that is what Nascar wanted. Once again though I dont want to see anyone hurt on pitroad. But it was funny to see the result with no harm done this time. Dont get out just be patient and get even on the track a few weeks later. That is the way it was done in the old days.

Carl D.
05/09/2011 10:58 AM


We can argue all day about where it started. Maybe it started in Homestead last year when Kyle Busch decided to wreck anyone who got in his way and Kevin Harvick wasn’t having any of that. Maybe it started before that. Who knows? As for Clint Bowyer going three-wide, drivers were going three-wide to pass all night long. Any driver who won’t go three-wide at Darlington to gain position in the last 10 laps of the race is a driver who needs to find a new line of employment. The track too tough to tame ain’t for the timid.

05/09/2011 11:22 AM

These are my 2 drivers, and they both acted like a$$e$ Sat. night. But I agree with John this started a half lap back.

Where were the nascar officals after the race, they knew something would happen, First the little show outside pit road and then Harvick parks on pitroad and takes off belts and still no nascar officals in sight, then crawls out of car still no nascar officals. Are they trying to sell tickets to the allstar race with this weekend and the old west commercial talking about payback.

Great Job to Reagan Smith and The Front Row Team for racing to win and taking the chance.

Don Mei
05/09/2011 11:24 AM

First, and most importantly, it was great to see Regan Smith win his second race, (first officially.) The young man is a class act; I wish him many more.

Secondly, as to the incident with Kyle Busch and Harvick, quite frankly I am not a fan of either man but on an a****** scale, with ten being highest and one lowest, Busch is a 7 or 8, Harvick an undisputed 10. Busch yells at his crew in the heat of an event, Harvick humiliates them whenever he can; he is truly a jerk. That said, I completely agree with John above. Watch the incident in slow motion and see Harvick wreck his teammate then slide up into Busch’s car. I have to admit I chuckled when Harvick threw a punch at Busch’s helmeted head! DUH!

05/09/2011 11:42 AM

Faber College! LOL I’d say those writers GPA’s were “Zero point zero”.

I gotta laugh at Baby Busch. He had a chance to put his money where his mouth usually is and he ran like a little girl. I’m no Harvick fan, but at least he’s man enough to get out of the car. Baby Busch is all talk, writing checks with his mouth that his ass apparently isn’t willing to cash.

05/09/2011 11:49 AM

was it me or did Hammond have a Freudian slip when he was talking about why he thought Jeff Gordon would take the checkered FlAG and win the race?

FOX sure cut to another topic quickly and I have never seen someone turn from orange to red so quickly.

05/09/2011 12:30 PM

Matt, is it possible for you to write a column without bashing either ACS or the people of Southern California? Bashing the track is one thing. Talking shit about us fans is another, which takes things to another level.

Figure this out once and for all: WE DIDN’T TAKE THE RACE FROM DARLINGTON. NASCAR DID!

Bill B
05/09/2011 12:31 PM

Joe, it sounds like you’ve taken a checkered FlAG or two yourself.

05/09/2011 12:35 PM

Yeah, Jim, I might have teed off on Californians a bit too hard.

It’s just a race date moving from The Track Too Tought To Tame to the Track So Timid It’s Lame has always roasted my chestnuts. I’d like to thank all of you CA residents for not supporting the race and making it the major embarasment it is to NASCAR and the ISC

Kevin in SoCal
05/09/2011 01:13 PM

Actually, Matt’s right about California the state for once. Los Angeles and San Francisco are embaressments to the rest of this great state and give us the bad name we’re known for. However, Jim’s right in that its not ACS or California that moved Darlington’s Labor Day date to ACS, its squarely NASCAR’s fault and that decision will haunt them until Darlington’s Southern 500 racing date is back on the Sunday before Labor Day. Since Atlanta only has one date now, it seems like it would be pretty simple to swap Atlanta and Darlington, but my bet is Bruton Smith doesnt want Mother’s Day weekend for his race.
And lets be honest here, while its great that Regan Smith finally got the win he was denied at Talledega, its my opinion he didnt “earn” this win, he was simply in the right place at the right time and “stole” the win by staying out. Yes he did an awesome job out-racing Carl Edwards, but lets be honest here.

05/09/2011 01:13 PM

There are a lot issues worthy of discussion from Darlington.

I’ll leave many aside for others but I too noticed DW yapping away out of his mind (was he getting monoxide too?).

And Mike Joy praising Jimmie Johnson for his great car control gathering up his spin off turn 4… ignores the mosty basic fact; JIMMIE JOHNSON LOST CONTROL OF THE CAR TO BEGIN WITH! You can’t praise a guy for recovering from a spin of his own failed talents!

It’s beyond high time both DW and Joy get replaced

05/09/2011 01:45 PM

I enjoyed the race, and while a part of me doesn’t like the cautions at the end that breed cautions, as I too, would like the midsections to count more, at least in this one they weren’t cautions for debris or some thought up excuse to bunch the field up. What happened after was anybody’s guess. Who’d have thought that Tony S on the freshest tires of those who stayed out would go straight backward, and that because Brad K gave Smith a push it kept him ahead of Carl. But I loved watching Smith drive that car, bouncing it off the wall and just kept on going. The Lady in Black at her best.
I also thought Kasey Kahne’s post race interview was strange, and thought the same things as Matt that he sounded disoriented and almost as if he had breathed carbon monoxide fumes. He just wasn’t all there.
And as far as DW goes, I make it a point to almost never listen to the guys in the booth once the race starts. I’ve gotten so its like white noise, and sounds like blah, blah, blah, blah in my head…

05/09/2011 01:46 PM

HAHA, i heard the conSTELLation comment too, shook my head and laughed hysterically.

Good Ol DW, he’s good for being the butt of jokes.

boogity boogity boogity, let’s learn English boys!

05/09/2011 01:58 PM

Bill B-
I caught the “constellation” comment as well. If he’s any constellation, DW must be the Big Dip.

Kevin in SoCal-
If you cross the finish line first, you earned the win. If you do it by not taking tires at Darlington and beating the guys who did, you super-earned it.

Right with you, and NASCAR encourages that stupid stuff. Wrecking cars isn’t usually much of a fine, but throwing a punch is. Makes no sense to me; if two drivers have a problem with each other, it shouldn’t be the problem of the fab shop guys, the pit crews, the other drivers who may happen to be there, or the fans who bought tickets close to the fence at AMS last year. Let the drivers fight it out if they want; Harvick and Busch could probably use a good fight. And Humpy Wheeler could sell tickets to it.

05/09/2011 01:58 PM

Congrats to Regan Smith.

Harvick and Busch are both jerks. Kinda goes with the territory. The majority of the really successful drivers are dicks.

But the bottom line is that Kyle Busch is a fag … he could’ve killed someone. Afraid to take a punch while wearing a helmut, what an a**hole … guess it’s better to kill an innocent bystander.

Made for an interesting ending but lets keep it on the track.

05/09/2011 01:59 PM

Bill B:

No idea what you mean. All I was citing was the 30 of us who were watching the race at the wing bar noticed the same thing and thought it was awful peculiar how they shifted gears rather quickly after Jeff Hammond made his pick.

Maybe we notice too much.

Tim S.
05/09/2011 02:16 PM

Amen, Bobb. The Fox booth almost never shuts up about the Hendrick teams. Somebody mentioned years ago that McReynolds squeals “Hiiiindrick” like a schoolgirl. Sometimes I wonder: if Hendrick fielded Toyotas and Busch the younger still drove for him, would Waltrip acknoledge another team’s existence?

Bill B
05/09/2011 02:18 PM

Maybe I should have read your original comment more carefully before making an ass out of myself (not the first time won’t be the last).
I thought you were opening up an old wound where the 24 was concerned which, over the years, I have grown very tired of hearing.

All apologies. Very sorry for jumping to conclusions.

05/09/2011 02:21 PM

I agree with you and remember Frank Hawley (I believe)of NHRA fame while commenting on a driver recovering from a smokefest saying “a good driver would not have been in that situation in the first place.

05/09/2011 02:31 PM

no sweat man.

I’ve grown to respect and appreciate what Jeff Gordon has done for NASCAR as it achieved mainstream status. Was not a fan of his initially (thought all the rumors were ridiculous and obviously false) but as time has gone on, he’s been one of the class guys in the sport. I was a Terry Labonte fan and felt that the 5 and 25 were the test cars for the 24 during the Evernham days.

He has really been one of the best ambassadors for any sport over the past 15-20 years.

Bill B
05/09/2011 03:04 PM

Thanks for being cool about my mistake.
…well maybe the 25 car but it’s hard to make the case that the 5 car was a test/R&D car when he won a championship in ’96.

05/09/2011 03:28 PM

Kyle Busch could be a bigger crybaby?!?! It was funny watching him run away. He looked like he was about to get some Spencer like action similar to his big bro!!!! Talent or otherwise, I have tried to like Kyle but he makes it very difficult on many levels. This race showed him up as the usual petulant child – not seeing that ‘maturity level’ that Fox is touting. Kyle’s definitely got some paybacks coming back his way. I’ll be happy to see Harvick provide some.

Kudos to Regan Smith. He earned his win big time. Strategy and holding off Edwards were big. Great job for an underfunded team!!! Good stuff.

Great article Matt. Funny stuff.

05/09/2011 05:02 PM

Hey Matt, great stuff as usual. We used to chat in the old days! Anyway, regarding Kasey Kahne:

He admitted he was getting fumes and dust in his car during the interview, and admitted on Twitter later he was a little loopy. I guess after he hit the wall he started getting fumes in the cockpit. He feels better now though.

05/09/2011 06:45 PM

So that was a no on Bowles clapping???

Clap… clap… clap clap clap…. clap clap clap clap… DOG SHOW!

05/09/2011 07:17 PM

I think that KB listened to the media all weekend saying how he had won the last 2 spring Darlington races & expected him to win this one. He bought into it. With just a few laps left, he realized that he was too deeply buried in the field to get to the front, & he said as much post-race, he lost it & struck out. Kevin was the one there to bear the brunt of it.

05/09/2011 07:25 PM

The Southern 500 should be run on Labor Day Monday like it was originally. Not that the new fans knew that. That’s tradition.

05/09/2011 07:58 PM

Way to go ROWDY!!! Harvick is such an Jerk.

05/09/2011 08:28 PM

Congrats to Regan. Ability combined with strategy are how all races are won. Mind you, he drove from the back of the field to 6th under green flag conditions. Then finished it off on old tires. He EARNED that win!

05/09/2011 09:01 PM

Matt, great column as usual. I look forward to reading your take.

Congrats to Regan and the 78 team for a win for the little guys out there.

To the Matt haters out there, can one of you tell me why you continue to read Matt’s column if you hate it so much? If something set me off like his work sets you off, I’d ignore it completely.
It seems that a few people here are just wanting to be juvenile and want people to think their opinions matter to someone other than themselves.

05/09/2011 09:09 PM

SUSAN – why do you even waste your time opening this website? You obviously disagree with everything by the author and everyone else. The guy who writes this website has forgotten more than you will ever collectively know about racing. The rest of us want to be here and can agree or disagree with some semblance of civility. You are just a moron.

05/09/2011 09:31 PM

Another thing, I haven’t heard anybody mention the fact that when Kyle wrecked Harvick, the caution was already out. Unless I’m mistaken, during the replay, I saw Kyle chase Harvick down, I saw the caution lights come on, THEN I saw the 18 dump the 29. Susan, what say you about that? Wrecking a man under caution? That’s not cool.

05/09/2011 10:14 PM

Great race and great article Matt. Yep, DW ought to consider retirement.

Hey Wreck, I think they ought to duct tape Happy and Rowdy together and lock them in a phone booth! Whadoyathink???

05/09/2011 10:30 PM

I’m a misogynist??? That’s funny………….. You make assumptions.

05/09/2011 10:44 PM

Game on…
I’d be willing to match my knowledge of any type of autoracing including NASCAR at any time.

05/10/2011 08:38 AM

Susan: in last week’s feedback you bashed me and said something liked you preferred to “live in the present.” What’s all this Bill Elliott crap about stuff that happened yrs ago? Live in the present girlfriend. Quit your day job as a lawyer … you could make much more in the evenings as a dominatrix. Your words cut like a knife and make me feel shackled in chains. It would be easy to be a misogynist with you around. But thank God I love normal women and they are out there. Not like you … way out there … out of your skull.

Don Mei
05/10/2011 08:46 AM

Golly Gary, you must be one sensitive guy if a few comments from a woman you disagree with gets you so worked up! Life is short…lets all try to be civilized on here and act like ladies and gentlemen who hold different opinions. To do otherwise is to stand out as a jerk.

05/10/2011 02:55 PM

Susan, Not a fan of Harvick nor Busch with that being said…In every response on this website on any given week all you do is bash the authors and any one that is not a Busch fan. Kyle Busch is NOT the saint you make him out to be. As someone else said, if you can’t be civil in your responses just keep your opinions to yourself.

05/10/2011 02:58 PM

Don Mei I’m not a jerk just an a**hole.

I don’t care whether you like my posts or not. Many people here have great posts with good ideas and opinions … except Susan.

And I’m not worked up … I look forward to responding to her posts because she’s crazy and it’s amusing. Haven’t you seen what others are saying about her. Why single out me dude.

05/10/2011 04:04 PM

You know back in the 1800s it used to be considered a fine family outing to go to the “lunactic asylum” and make fun of the mentally ill as they carpered, drooled and rambled. It seems barbaric these days, but that was the times (Somehow people were living without facebook or twiteter.)

I’d ask everyone to just laugh off Susan’s comments. Yeah, she might be the hot chick she clainms to be but more likely “she’s” some unemployed 300 pound truck driver sitting at the keyboard of an aging PC in teenage girl’s panties and bra desperately tryin to get you to disagree with her so “she” can feel some validation. My guess is one day she is goig to slit her wrists while on line and I don’t want to be the person that pushed her over the line. Sue, please get help. Whatever is wrong with your life, there are doctors and meds that can help you get back to stasis and be happy again.

05/10/2011 11:14 PM

Susan, Speaking of Dover, if you were there in Sept 2001, maybe we would have shed a few tears of joy together when JR won.
Of course, that was pre KB, so that old stuff doesn’t matter. to you.

05/12/2011 12:13 PM

Susan: Being a dominatrix isn’t necessarily a bad thing (depends on your lifestyle). And I don’t hate you. Just find you very amusing and full of yourself like your bud KB (who is one heck of a fast driver).