When Montoya qualified his Texaco/Havoline Dodge on the outside of the front row for the Allstate 400 at The Brickyard, he accomplished more than simply securing his best career starting spot. Making his first start in a stock car at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway, Montoya made history before the race even began – he’s now the first driver in the famed racetrack’s history to start in all three major series to run there (Indy Racing League, Formula 1, and NASCAR).
Ron Hornaday Jr. held off a strong charge by Johnny Benson to win the rain-delayed Power Stroke Diesel 200 at O’Reilly Raceway Park. Hornaday’s final margin of victory was 0.350 seconds after passing Benson, then Travis Kvapil with 30 laps to go to take the Friday night short track shootout. Kvapil faded to third at the finish, with Rick Crawford and Ken Schrader rounding out the top five behind him. Todd Bodine, after trouble early in the race, battled back to finish sixth, ahead of Erik Darnell; Regan Smith, Jack Sprague, and Brendan Gaughan rounded out the top 10 finishers.
Some believe Buschwhackers should be limited or barred from competing in the series. Since that is not practical, I believe for the best interest of race fans, and certainly NASCAR, the goal should be to increase the Cup influence in Busch to provide the very best racing that it can this side of the Nextel Cup series. Fans need to take a step back and understand what they are arguing for and against when they get on their high horses about the participation of the Cup invaders. Simply put, those critics of the Buschwackers seem to want them eliminated because they are just too much better than the weaker series regulars.
Since his outburst about teamwork, or the lack thereof, at Daytona earlier this month, Kyle Busch has been under a microscope that is already on high power as he searches for a new ride for 2008 and beyond. He’s been called a whiner, immature and spoiled. His comments were looked at as childish and jealous. Whatever the reasons for his comments or Busch’s personality shortcomings, it was brought up that nobody at Hendrick Motorsports has ever taken Busch under his wing. Kyle Busch has never had a mentor, they exclaimed! How could he possibly know better?
Waltrip won his first race in 1975 at Nashville, Tenn. and he won again later that year at the Richmond Fairgrounds. This was back during the “big car” era. With all the aerodynamics of a sofa on tap and no power steering, the control truly was in the driver’s hands. During this time when he started racing, he would tally 27 wins. Some of those wins came as an owner AND a driver. All of them came against four of the top seven drivers in the all-time wins column.
What a typical NASCAR vacation: The circuit takes a one-week hiatus from on-track action only to turn up the volume away from it. The Ginn/DEI merger not only shuffled the driver deck and taught prospective owners a thing or two about life in the bigs, it opened a spot in the owner points standings for the Wood Brothers. The recipient of the Lucky Dog in all this chaos, the Woods went from previously finding themselves in a seemingly insurmountable 225-point hole, relying on driver-for-hire Bill Elliott’s past champion’s provisionals (or pure speed) to make the show each week.
The best way to keep the cars close together is to essentially “start the race over” whenever any one man gets too far ahead. Throw that yellow flag! The more yellow flags you throw, the more leaders you have during a race because of those backmarker cars staying out one more lap just to lead a lap! Perfect! Throw the “Lucky Dog” in there and it gets even better.
Jeff Gordon – Gordon has won a track record four Brickyard 400s, including the inaugural event in 1994. He’s also managed 10 top-10 finishes here in 13 starts. The Indiana transplant is hugely popular with the fans in Indy, as well.
Earlier this week in the Frontstretch newsletter, I wrote a brief commentary asking readers to understand the harsh reality of Bobby Ginn’s decision to cut loose the popular veterans Sterling Marlin and Joe Nemechek into the world of NASCAR free agency. While everyone has their varying opinions about what’s gone down in the last week or so, I felt it was necessary for fans to take a step back and consider the difficult position the rookie car owner was placed in. In essence, I made a move to protect Bobby Ginn, protect a man who I felt was painted into a corner and forced to make some difficult decisions. But 24 hours after my plea to the NASCAR community, everything that most people, including myself, thought was true about Ginn’s “restructuring plan” was proved false… with even members of the team itself still digesting a thought process proven to be nothing more than a bad sequence of broken promises.
Dale Earnhardt Inc., already one of the world’s premier racing organizations, has become even stronger through a merger with Ginn Racing. Effective immediately, the team will feature the Chevrolets of Paul Menard, Martin Truex Jr., Dale Earnhardt Jr., Mark Martin and Aric Almirola. Martin and Almirola will combine to drive the No. 01 Army Chevrolet for the remainder of the 2007 season as well as the entire 2008 season. Menard drives the Menards Chevrolet, Truex drives the Bass Pro Shops Chevrolet and Earnhardt handles driving duties of the Budweiser Chevrolet. All four entries are inside the coveted top 35 in Nextel Cup points heading into this weekend’s Brickyard 400.