The series heads to Michigan this weekend for the second of the series’ two visits on the year – and hopefully, your fantasy team is scorching like the late summer heat. Just four races remain until the end of the regular season, and just like the excitement surrounding the Chase, the battle in many leagues is at a fever pitch. Are you in Kurt Busch’s shoes, holding on to a tenuous lead while others battle to knock you down from a spot in the money? Or are you like Dale Earnhardt Jr., a driver in need of some solid finishes – and more importantly, luck – to work your way back into contention?
This weekend’s race featured a spin to win, two drivers putting in their NASCAR best effort to pull each other’s hair out after a wreck, and a crazed fan making his way onto the track during a red flag… just to ask for an autograph. Makes it sound like an August Cup race at Bristol, doesn’t it? But instead, this was what transpired from what began as a tranquil Sunday afternoon in western New York. Shocked? So were many of the fans who watched this year’s edition of the Centurion Boats at the Glen. But they weren’t the only ones happy to see a surprising series of twists and turns that matched the road course’s 2.45-mile layout. Perhaps the biggest smile on the day came from stunned race winner Tony Stewart, who inherited the top spot as NASCAR’s winningest road racer, Jeff Gordon, spun in turn 1 with just two laps to go, relinquishing the lead and 10 bonus points to his longtime rival in the process.
Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race to capture the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find; the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what some select few were thinking after the Centurion Boats at the Glen at Watkins Glen International.
1. Exasperated with ESPN – I have heard very few positive comments about ESPN’s NASCAR coverage since they took over the race broadcasts after a seven-year absence. But today’s post-race “coverage” was abysmal, showing just two driver interviews (Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon) before switching to SportsCenter and its seemingly endless coverage of baseball and football. Despite promising race fans that they would return to the Glen for more post-race coverage during SportsCenter, they simply replayed the same interviews that had already aired. Completely unacceptable.
Q: NASCAR screwed Robby Gordon again. I think he did the right thing by staying out and getting his money’s worth of a penalty. I’m not going to argue the rights or wrongs of the penalties themselves, as I’m sure you all will take care of that in Mirror Driving. My question is, what is keeping the drivers from forming a union that can file grievances when incidents like this occur, a group that can look out for the drivers’ best interests (insurance, salary, etc.)?
Jeff Gordon – Gordon is one of the better NASCAR road racers. While he has four wins at the Glen, oddly enough he hasn’t had a top-10 finish here in five races – he’s finished outside the top 20 in three of those events. But don’t be fooled; Gordon also has five wins at Sonoma, and could easily break out of his road-race slump here.
Each week, we’ll go through all the media reports, interviews, PR, and all our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Nextel Cup race to capture the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find; the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members, and the car owners themselves. This week, here’s a sneak peek at what some select few were thinking after the Pennsylvania 500 at Pocono Raceway.
Since Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s decision to leave his job at DEI – the only Cup organization he’s ever known – the knowledge Junior would be moving on has only become more pronounced since June, when his acceptance of a job with Hendrick Motorsports for 2008 became public. Suddenly, his sole safety net throughout eight seasons of racing was coming to a close; as each day has come and gone since, the reality of a brighter tomorrow loomed ever closer.
1. Robby Robbed? – I’m going to take the minority position here, but I believe NASCAR initially made the right call placing Robby Gordon in 13th for the restart in Saturday’s Busch race. The issue according to NASCAR was not where Gordon was when the caution came out, but the fact that he failed to “maintain a cautious pace” under the yellow. However, NASCAR did compound the confusion by initially telling Gordon to line up in first… then in second… then in 13th. The officiating crew also messed up by restarting the race with Gordon still in second, knowing full well that he would wreck Marcos Ambrose after the restart – which, of course, he did. For his part, Gordon said that the reason he didn’t move back was that he was going to appeal the finish and “wanted to make sure that the race played out the way it should.”
Think Kevin Harvick wasn’t more than a little PO’d with Tony Stewart after the contact that sent him parachuting back to seventh? Everyone made like all was swell afterward, but I believe Harvick’s post-race shot was a little more than a playful congratulatory pop. Not that I expect the two to break up or anything… apparently, the two are so close Stewart has his own room in Harvick’s house.