The Frontstretch: Frontstretch Breakdown: Emerson Radio 250 by Toni Montgomery -- Monday September 12, 2005

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Frontstretch Breakdown: Emerson Radio 250

Toni Montgomery · Monday September 12, 2005


In A Nutshell: Kevin Harvick had them covered on Friday night as he dominated at Richmond International Raceway. Harvick easily led the most laps with 149 of the total 250, including the final 33 after getting by Paul Menard. Menard held on for second, barely beating Matt Kenseth and Mark Martin to the line. Jason Leffler came home fifth.

Who Should Have Won: Kevin Harvick. Like I said, Harvick had them covered and easily had the strongest car all night. Unlike on some other occasions, giving up the lead didn’t even seem to matter because Harvick got back to the front at will. I’d like to say Paul Menard here because I love a first time winner and he is a series regular, but I just can’t do it. He does get my honorable mention though for hanging in there with a horde of Cup invaders and posting a nice finish.

Three Questions You Should Be Asking After the Race Weekend
1) Should points leader Martin Truex Jr. receive further penalties for his outburst that included some certain gestures in the direction of Mike Wallace?
2) Does NASCAR even have a choice in levying those penalties, after setting a precedent with Shane Hmiel and the same gestures earlier this season?
3) After a disappointing season in the Cup Series, Jason Leffler is showing the form that made him a points contender in Busch last season. Does his ability in the Busch Series merit another chance in Cup, or should Leffler just stay put and settle for being a strong Busch Series regular?

Worth Noting/Points Shuffle:
Menard, Leffler, and seventh place Reed Sorenson were the only Busch Series regulars to finish in the top ten. Second is Menard’s career best finish in the series.
Erin Crocker made her Busch Series debut in the No. 6 Country Crock Dodge for Evernham Motorsports. Crocker will be in the series full time in 2006.
For those who have been paying attention to our discussions on whether or not the Busch Series should use a Chase format, Greg Biffle’s 10th place finish moves him up to 11th in drivers points, only 53 points behind 10th place in spite of not running in seven events.
Another dismal night for points leader Martin Truex Jr. Truex was already struggling when he got wedged into the outside wall by Mike Wallace. Truex’s car ran up the wall and ended up skidding the entire length of the backstretch and around the third turn on it’s side before becoming unstuck from the wall and landing back on it’s wheels. The accident relegated him to a 27th place finish. Main title contender Clint Bowyer finished 11th and cut Truex’s lead from 142 points to only 94 points.
Truex’s frustrations won’t end there. After an outburst aimed at Mike Wallace after the accident, Truex can expect a penalty from NASCAR to shave another 25 points off his lead, making the margin only 69 points.
Lots of movement in the top ten this week. Reed Sorenson gets by Carl Edwards to reclaim third spot as Edwards drops back to fourth. Kenny Wallace retakes fifth and moves Denny Hamlin back to sixth. In the weekly game of musical chairs that is seventh through ninth, Paul Menard moves up one spot to seventh and David Green is up one to eighth while David Stremme loses two and goes back to ninth.

"I’m not sure what he was thinking. It’s like he didn’t even know I was there. We’re alright though"¦ no big deal." Greg Biffle after contact while trying to pass Robert Pressley on lap 188 spun out both cars. Biffle went on to finish 10th.
"I didn’t know he was out there. I was running the top of the track, and he got up there higher. I didn’t know he was up there. I know he’s upset and I’m sorry about it." Mike Wallace after his contact with Martin Truex Jr.
"That Martin Truex deal was crazy. They said "˜Wreck in front of you’ and I saw sparks and I didn’t see a car. I’m like "˜Where’s the car?’ and then as like "˜Oh, it’s up against the fence.’ That was pretty crazy. Martin said he never lifted. I kind of know how he feels. Boy, when something happens like that you’re so mad you just act like it’s not happening. That was pretty wild and I’m glad that everybody is OK." Carl Edwards
“Our car’s really good, but that 21 car is pretty damn fast.” Paul Menard as he tried to chase down Harvick and regain the lead in the closing laps.
"Paul had a great race, and I had a great race with Mark and all of those guys. We had about a second- or third-place car on the long run, but we just couldn’t get by Paul. He did a great job, and it was tough to pass on the bottom." Matt Kenseth
"Erin Crocker is a good little race car driver and somebody turned her. Sometimes you start out and some cars on the lead lap have new tires and some lapped cars have new tires, and it was just a case where everybody just got into each other." Kenny Wallace after making contact with the spinning car of Crocker.
"I’m basically just here standing in. They’ve got a terrific race
team and our organization has got a lot of depth in it. I’m glad that people perceive it that way because I know some people are perceiving it that they were cheating, soaking tires and stuff and that’s the only reason they’d run good. Hopefully that will put an end to all that." Jimmy Elledge, substitute crew chief for the No. 41 of Reed Sorenson while regular crew chief Brian Pattie serves a suspension, on their seventh place result.

Next Up: The Busch Series takes a long overdue and well deserved weekend off but returns to action on September 24 for the Dover 200. Live coverage from Dover International
Speedway starts at 1:00 PM EST on TNT.

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