The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Dover 200 by Toni Montgomery -- Monday September 26, 2005

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Dover 200

Toni Montgomery · Monday September 26, 2005

 

In A Nutshell: Ryan Newman racked up his fourth Busch Series win in as many appearances in the series, with a victory that cannot be described any other way than total domination. It was pretty much all Newman all the way in Dover this week, as he led 193 of the 200 laps en route to the win. Clint Bowyer came home second, followed by Jason Leffler, Reed Sorenson, and Greg Biffle.

Who Should Have Won: Ryan Newman. Were you not paying attention in the last paragraph? Here’s a little joke for you. How do you keep Ryan Newman out of Victory Lane at a Busch Series race? Don’t let him run the race. Seriously, when I say all Newman all the way, I really mean it. The seven laps he didn’t lead were split among five other drivers, and all of them happened around pit stops. Only two of those five drivers, Clint Bowyer and Martin Truex, got to lead more than one lap. But to their credit, the other competitors did manage to stay close to Newman, even if they could never get around him.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend

1) How is anybody supposed to compete with Newman and the 39 car? Seriously, it’s Newman’s fourth win in the last four races he has run in the Busch Series. How does anyone contend with Ryan the next time he shows up at the track?

2) After two major pileups which each featured some pretty hard hits, every driver involved walked away without injury at the Monster Mile, a track known for vicious, injury-causing accidents. Is that a sign NASCAR has finally done enough for driver safety?

3) How on Earth did Jon Wood come out of this race without a damaged race car? Wood was in the wrong place at the wrong time not once, but twice. The first time, Wood came driving out of the middle of a multi-car crash on lap 2. Cars were sideways in front of him, flipping behind him, and spinning out around him, yet Wood suffered only minor fender and bumper damage. Unfortunatley for Wood, he experienced the same thing again as another multicar wreck unfolded around him about 10 laps later. This time, Wood could be seen driving through the middle as cars slid across the track just behind him, completely closing the hole he had just come through. Was that lucky, or was it good driving?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
There were only three cautions, but the first two came within the first 12 laps and were for two multi-car wrecks. The first started when Matt Kenseth and Paul Menard made contact off turn 2. Kenseth got loose and spun, and a total of 13 cars were involved before it was over, with the most notable involvement being that of the No. 52 of Donnie Neuenberger, who ended up flipping down the backstretch. The second started with contact between Erin Crocker and Justin Labonte and involved five cars. No one was injured in either incident.

The Monster Mile was eating up cars this weekend. Only 26 cars were running at the finish, and out of the 17 cars that ended up in the garage, 13 listed the reason for the DNF as accidents.

Meanwhile, we have a points battle, folks. Points leader Martin Truex once again ran into bad luck, suffering a flat tire in the closing laps while running solidly in the Top 3. The extra pit stop to change the tire moved Truex back from second to 12th in the final results. Clint Bowyer, second place man in points, took over the second spot when Truex pitted, which allowed him to close the already shrinking points gap a little further. Truex now leads by only 26 points with just six races remaining; it makes one wonder if those 25 points Truex on a penalty for inappropriate gestures at Richmond might come into play after all.
Other changes in the top ten included a position swap between Denny Hamlin, who moves up to fifth, and Kenny Wallace, who fell back to sixth. Eighth and ninth also changed hands, as David Stremme moved up one spot while David Green slides back one.

Quotable:


"I am not really sure what happened. I just know that someone hit me from behind. This type of accident is just something you can’t avoid sometimes." – Jeff Burton, No. 21 Reese’s Chevrolet, who was involved in the lap 2 accident.

"I honestly can’t say whether or not I tapped the 17 car (on the second lap). I was definitely tucked up underneath him, but then he broke loose and that was it. I didn’t feel any contact, and my crew told me on the radio there was not a mark on the Menards/Pittsburgh Paints Chevrolet. If I did make contact with Matt (Kenseth), it wasn’t anything intentional. But I can’t say for sure." – Paul Menard on the lap 2 accident

"We talked about it as a team, and we thought it would be best if we dropped to the back of the pack. On "˜one to go’ Jeff dropped to the bottom of the track and went to the back of the field when the cars took the green. It turned out to be a great strategy. We had a good car regardless of what the rest of the field did. The most important thing to us though, as a small team, is that we didn’t even get a scratch on the car. It’s in good shape." – Greg Guarry, crew chief of the No. 7 Chevrolet on their decision to give up a 25th place starting spot and have driver Jeff Fuller start at the back of the field. The lap 2 accident eliminated many of the cars that qualified around Fuller’s original starting spot. Fuller made it through with no damage and finished the race in 24th, the team’s best finish of the season.

"I was being patient with Erin (Crocker "" driver No. 6). It was early and I wasn’t about to start racing like we had 10 laps to go. We went into two and I got a run underneath her, she got loose, I didn’t touch her. She lost it and there was just nowhere to go. I was disappointed that we were taken out of contention that early." – Justin Labonte on the incident with Erin Crocker that triggered the second multi-car crash.

"We avoided the first big wreck on the second lap, and had moved up a few positions, and I was excited about seeing what kind of finish we might have gotten. Unfortunately, a few laps later, the cars in front of me just started spinning and we didn’t have anywhere to go." – Mike Wallace, who also got caught in the second multi-car wreck.

Next Up: They just came back from a hiatus, but the Busch Series will head into another off-week this weekend before returning to action on Saturday, October 8 for the United Way 300 at Kansas Speedway. Coverage begins at 2:00 PM ET on NBC.

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