NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Big 6: Questions Answered After the 2010 Shelby American at Las Vegas

Who… gets my shout out of the race?

My shout out for the race goes to Marcos Ambrose in the No. 47 Kingsford Toyota for JTG Daugherty Racing. In the first two races of the season, Ambrose has failed to finish, both times due to engine problems (officially, overheating in Fontana, and an outright blown engine in Daytona). However, on Sunday, Ambrose was finally able to put together a full race distance. After starting 32nd, Ambrose slowly moved up through the field and brought his Toyota home in 14th. This moved the No. 47 back into the Top 35 in owner points (33rd, to be exact), but it is only the first step in the team’s battle to recover from their bad start.

What… was THAT?

On lap 93, Jamie McMurray tried to pass teammate Juan Pablo Montoya for position in turn 3. However, he got loose and got into his teammate. The result was that both Earnhardt-Ganassi Chevrolets ended up in the wall. McMurray, for his part, apologized and took all of the blame for the incident. However, Montoya was very angry. Let’s just say that most of the stuff he said on the radio after the crash can’t be printed here.

Where… did the polesitter end up?

The polesitter ended up incredibly disappointed with his performance on Sunday. Kurt Busch ran fairly well on Sunday, but was in the wrong place at the right time. On lap 93, Busch had nowhere to go, and slid into the aforementioned Earnhardt-Ganassi mess. This incident did significant damage to the front end of the No. 2 Miller Lite Dodge. Busch lost three laps in the pits getting repairs. After the wreck, Busch’s Dodge was nowhere near the pace and simply dropped like a stone. By the end of the race, Busch was eight laps down in 35th position.

When… will I be loved?

Dale Earnhardt Jr., when will your prolonged slump finally end, so you can be happy again? On Sunday, Earnhardt Jr. started fourth, but never really contended. The car suffered from handling issues once again, which frustrated Dale. Earnhardt Jr. eventually got lapped, but regained the lap via the wave around and finished 16th. Still, it is his best non-restrictor plate finish since the Sharpie 500 in August. Of course, saying that Earnhardt Jr.’s teammates all finished in the top five, that may not be saying much.

When… will the Hendrick juggernaut be vanquished?

Whenever that will be (and it will happen), it won’t be for a while. Hendrick Motorsports dominated Sunday’s Shelby American, leading all but 30 laps. Jeff Gordon led 219 of those laps, but Jimmie Johnson passed him with 17 laps to go and pulled away to claim the victory. At the end of the race, Hendrick had three of the top-four finishers with Johnson winning, Gordon in third and Martin fourth. Earnhardt Jr. was the straggler, but still finished in 16th.

What’s… with the technical issues?

Sunday’s Shelby American had two cautions thrown due to issues with the caution lights. This is a new one, to be honest. On the restart from the second caution (for Mike Bliss‘s wall contact in turn 2), the caution lights were not turned off for an unknown reason. This resulted in a quick yellow to check everything out. However, on lap 108, the caution lights turned on all by themselves, causing another yellow to come out. Hopefully, Speedway Motorsports Inc. (SMI) can get this issue fixed pretty quick so that it doesn’t affect any events at their other tracks this season.

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