NASCAR Race Weekend Central

10 Points to Ponder… After the 2007 Lifelock 400 at Kansas

1. Goody’s, anyone? – Somehow, I think all the NASCAR bigwigs were ready to share a round of Goody’s headache powder by the end of today’s race. Officials were called upon to make numerous critical and highly controversial calls this weekend, culminating in the Cup race itself. Should the starting time have been moved up with thunderstorms in the forecast? Should the race have been called after the first red flag for rain? Should there have been a green-white-checkered finish after Juan Pablo Montoya hit the wall with four laps to go? Should Greg Biffle have been credited with the win after coasting across the start/finish line under caution? I know you guys have some strong opinions on these issues, so let’s hear from you!

2. Tony’s Tongue – On the question of whether Tony Stewart should have to be fined for saying the f-word during a practice session at Kansas, I’m giving Stewart the benefit of the doubt this time. The truth is that in a garage full of grown men, swear words are common; and Stewart, addressing an ESPN cameraman, was apparently unaware that the microphone was live.

3. Busch in BuschKyle Busch won the Busch Series race Saturday, narrowly beating Matt Kenseth, who had dominated most of the day. But Busch’s car, specifically the intake manifold, failed post-race inspection, leading to the question of whether Alan Gustafson, his crew chief in both series, could miss some Nextel Cup races if he is suspended over the Busch Series infraction.

4. Hero to Zero – Meanwhile, Stewart’s crew chief Greg Zipadelli could have come away from Kansas looking like a genius after keeping Stewart out while others pitted just before the second rain delay. Instead, after the race went green, Stewart was involved in a wreck that crumpled his left front fender and Zippy gambled, leaving Stewart out until the tire eventually got cut. When it did, Stewart got ploughed from behind by Kurt Busch and his day was over. Tough call either way, but it looked to me even before the tire went down like they should’ve pitted.

5. ESPN Exasperates – Yet again! Hey, there are three cars battling for the lead with Jeff Gordon, Kenseth and Kurt Busch all “nose to tail,” in the words of the announcer. What better time for a long commercial break?

MCLAUGHLIN: THINKIN’ OUT LOUD AFTER KANSAS

6. Bushy BrowsJimmie Johnson showed why he’s the reigning Nextel Cup champion on Sunday, coming from 43rd place in a backup car to finish third and take over the points lead. But Johnson had the quote of the day in the pre-race show when asked which actor he thought could play him in a movie: “Colin Farrell and I have this eyebrow thing where they’re on different planes, so it would work well.”

7. CoT Trouble – If you thought today was interesting, wait until next week when the Cup Series heads to Talladega for the premiere of the CoT on a restrictor-plate track. Drivers complained bitterly in testing a few weeks ago that they were unable to see hand signals inside the car in front of them due to the big wing and Gurney lip on the CoT. At a track like Talladega, not being able to see hand signals is guaranteed to spell big trouble.

8. Junior’s Joke – I laughed out loud when a race reporter asked Dale Earnhardt Jr. whether he thought NASCAR should restart the race after the first rain delay. Said Junior, “I really ain’t get nothin’ better to do.” Ah, such enthusiasm! Unfortunately, Kyle Busch probably wasn’t amused when Dale put him in the wall coming off turn 2. Junior took responsibility for the wreck but that didn’t assuage Busch, who fell two spots in the standings to sixth.

9. Little Lite Lie – Am I the only one who notices these things? One of the beer companies – I think it was Miller Lite – said in a commercial today that they ran a taste test in which they offered a sample of Miller Lite to people who normally drink another brand of light beer. The result? More than one third of the taste testers preferred Miller Lite over their old beer! Um, doesn’t that mean that two thirds of them liked their current brand better?

10. Monsoon Madness – Note to today’s race reporters: I don’t think they call thunderstorms “monsoons” in Kansas.

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