Nascar at Texas AfterChatter: Hamlin Takes The Trip to Victory Lane at Texas Motor Speedway

Once again in 2010, the one who led the most laps didn’t win the race, except this time, a 10 car accident changed the outcome instead of a late race caution with the double file restart.

It’s not new news, but it is a fact that Jeff Gordon had the dominating car at Texas Motor Speedway on Monday’s rain-delayed running of the Samsung Mobile 500 and didn’t take the victory. For the fourth time in the 2010 Nascar Sprint Cup season, the No. 24 team had a chance to make a trip to Victory Lane and take home a trophy but failed to do so. This time, no one can blame Steve Letarte for a bad call in the pits (although we all know some will try) and they really can’t blame the driver either, because neither of them had much to do with where they finished on the day. A racing accident left them and many strong competitors in the garage area for the final 17 laps of the race.

Denny Hamlin in the JGR No. 11 FedEx Toyota did take the checkered flag and everything that goes with it for winning this weekend. If you listen to him talk, you would almost think they planned it the way it happened. In actuality, they won because of the exploding motor of David Reutimann’s  No. 00 MWR Toyota with less than thirty laps to go and the 10 car accident that eliminated the No. 24 along with others. From this fan’s view, it was just a matter of that thing lovingly referred to by many as “racing luck.”

I don’t want to go into a long discussion of how the race went, but once again, Nascar fan’s were treated to some “mighty fine” racing in spite of the race being moved to Monday because of rain most of the day on Sunday. I don’t think it’s just me that thinks the racing is better this year. It has been good all year I would argue that point with anyone. It is this fan’s opinion , all of the changes NASCAR has made over the last couple of years have improved the racing for the fans (and some of the race teams catching up competition-wise to those that dominated them in the recent past hasn’t hurt at all either.)

I still can’t get over how much Tony Stewart has changed in the last couple of years. I still say that his buying Eldora Speedway and becoming a team owner in NASCAR definitely agrees with him. He has become a different person than he used to be. He is still opinionated and isn’t afraid to speak his mind when he thinks it is necessary, but he is a much calmer person now. He handles things much better now than he used to. (You know; those things that used to make him fly off the handle at the seeming drop of a hat.) I have to say, I’ve always been a Tony Stewart fan, but I really do like what he has now become much better.

And just as a side note, I’m kinda getting tired of hearing how unbelievably surprised everyone is that Denny Hamlin has toughed it out and stayed in the car for the last two races even after his surgery on his knee. Look, I know it hurts, but I also know he could have gotten out of the car at anytime, especially at Phoenix and let Casey Mears take over. It could very well be he could have been healing that much faster and could come back stronger sooner (and without having to endure so much pain). If, as he says, he is looking long term toward the Chase and wants to be strong for that time in the season, what happens right now doesn’t really matter all that much; (or does it?)

I know I’ll take some heat on this next statement, but, could it be that he is concerned that Casey Mears may perform just as well as he is in his equipment and he might have to look for work somewhere else?? Oh, well… playing hurt is tough, but sometimes getting hurt playing can turn out to be even tougher on you…

See ya next time… Rusty

All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer

© April 20, 2010 – all rights reserved

Rusty Norman and

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