Chicago is known for football, deep dish pizza, shopping, and the Sears Tower; sadly, it’s not yet known for great racing. However, there was at least one driver who didn’t sleep through the Chicagoland snoozefest; that would be Tony Stewart, who celebrated the end of his 20-race winless drought with another climb up the fence. Smoke was left awake and alert after a weekend where he got a lecture from the coach about playing nice with others, and he turned that motivation into victory celebration come Sunday night.
1st – Fence climb after a Cup victory in 2007 for Tony Stewart on Sunday.
1. They call it “cookie cutter” for a reason – Sorry guys, but that just wasn’t a very exciting race. Tony Stewart got out front with a fuel-only pit stop and was never challenged in the closing laps after holding off a single pass attempt by Matt Kenseth. There were several long green-flag runs and not a lot of lead changes, unless you count the ones achieved through pit cycles, and most of the attrition was due to single-car incidents. The only good news to report: the race didn’t last that long.
With the Daytona debacle now in the rearview mirror, the battle for the Top 35 in car owner points continued this week in Chicagoland; but after an uneventful day for the majority of the cars on the bubble, little changed as far as positions go. In fact, the gap between 35th and 36th place is now the widest the margin has been all season long. For more on what happened with those teams on the bubble this weekend at Chicagoland, as well as an update on the potential changes to the Top-35 rule next season, check out this week’s edition of the Bubble Breakdown.
Every once in a while in racing you see that perfect match – a struggling driver or team turning the corner when surrounded by the right people. Teams often swap crew chiefs within its own organization in an effort to jumpstart poor performance, but beginning this week at Chicagoland, it will be both a young driver and a struggling race team depending on each other to live up to their respective expectations in the Busch Series.
I may be a simplified country boy who enjoys, among other things, carp fishing with a shotgun, I was always brought up under the notion that “you reap what you sow.” If Kyle Busch’s teammates were unwilling to help him, well, they must have had their reasons for hanging him out to dry. One could speculate on why they did it, but the real reasons are those that only people who are around Kyle all the time, his teammates, know for sure. In other words, “You make your bed, you lie in it.”
The tragic events of Tuesday, when a small plane manned by Dr. Bruce Kennedy and Michael Klemm crashed into a suburban Orlando home, killing five people, it made the events of this past weekend’s Daytona thriller seem trivial at best. Kennedy was the husband of ISC President and NASCAR executive Lesa France Kennedy, while Klemm was a NASCAR Aviation pilot.
Jeff Gordon – Gordon won this race last year and has top five finishes in four of his six starts at Chicagoland. With a 10th-place average finish, Gordon doesn’t beat around the “Busch,” although some days, we are sure he’d like to.
The summer sun bakes the track’s surface, making it slippery. Handling is always a priority but, when you take into consideration the heat wave that that has been gripping most of the country, it will be of the utmost importance this weekend. While track position has been critical in the past, the wider racing groove is taking that out of the equation more and more. When choosing your fantasy lineup, pick teams that typically make their car handle the best; they will be the ones to prevail.
It is no longer particularly noteworthy when Tony Stewart attacks fellow competitors that impede him in his neverending pursuit of winning NASCAR Nextel Cup races. In fact, it has almost become expected that Tony will provide choice derogatory critiques to nationwide audiences of his fellow competitors; all they need to do is challenge his on-track progress or find themselves swapping paint with the two-time Cup champion in order to become the focus of his wrath. Up until Saturday night, when Stewart directed his patented brand of vindictiveness towards his own teammate, Denny Hamlin, many have attempted to justify and excuse the nine-year veteran’s chronic poor behavior. However, Stewart’s verbal bashing of Hamlin during the telecast of the Pepsi 400 was so clearly uncalled for and beyond defending that even the staunchest of his supporters have been left speechless.
10. They all have Supermodel wives – AND can remember their names.
Jamie McMurray’s win: Long time coming, or lucky son-of-a-gun?