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The race at Loudon had a lot of hype coming into it, but when all was said and done, racing at the “Magic Mile” turned out to be relatively tame. One would have thought, (if they listened to all the media hype), there was a great possibility of major paybacks coming at the hands of those that had their day ruined at Sonoma the weekend before.
From this fan’s view, the race went pretty much as I expected and much of the “talk” was just that. I guess we should also keep in mind, just because it didn’t happen this weekend, doesn’t mean payback isn’t coming at a more important (or costly) time in the future. It just means an extended time of certain drivers having to look over their shoulders or passing those they’ve upset quickly and not spending a lot of time around them. In other words, the idea is to not give them any more opportunity to pay you back than you have to. Eventually everyone will move on to other problems and situations… hey, that’s just racing.
Now, just because certain things didn’t happen doesn’t mean there wasn’t any action at all at NHMS. Although it wasn’t a race that kept you on the edge of your seat until the end, there was still enough going on to make it interesting. The possibility of some of that payback coming to pass was a small part of it, but there were a few other happenings to add to the action. (I’m still trying to figure out what went on with Denny Hamlin and David Reutimann at the end of the race. Apparently they had some type of altercation that caused the two of them to end the day relatively “hot tempered” and upset with each other.)
One of the things that probably took a little bit of the excitement away was the long green flag runs and the strong runs of Kasey Kahne and Jeff Burton after the first pit stop. Kasey looked awfully strong and, had he not had engine problems, he quite possibly could have been the winner. True to the way his luck has gone this year, his engine did go south on him and eventually finished itself off near the end and after he had dropped back several places. It was unfortunate for him and Richard Petty Motorsports because it looked like RPM was positioned to have a strong team day as AJ Allmendinger and his #43 RPM team finished tenth, also.
The surprising thing to me has been the poor performance of the Joe Gibbs teams over the last two weekends. Denny Hamlin and Kyle Bush were definitely struggling early (in particular Hamlin) even though at the end of the race Kyle was in position to challenge for the win. That came to and end when Jeff Burton’s team decided not to pit at the caution with about fifteen to go and had to try and stay ahead of everyone else on old tires. The two of them got together and Kyle went around taking him out of the mix for the run to the checkers.
After that bit of excitement, the door was open for a showdown of sorts between Jimmy Johnson and Kurt Bush over the last nine laps. What followed was typical short track style racing with a couple of bump and runs traded between the two of them. It took most of those nine laps for Jimmie to run Kurt back down but he did do it with a couple to go. Tony Stewart joined in the tight racing at the finish and moved Kurt out of the way to finish second.
I have to agree with what many of the drivers are saying about “payback” lately. The word is definitely being over-used by the media and not everything that happens is because of, nor deserving of, payback. What we are witnessing as fans is what we like to see in racing whether it be NASCAR or at our local short tracks. This is just good hard racing with cars that are so evenly matched that it is hard to stay apart, let alone win. From this fan’s view, the old adage is true, “rubbin’ is racing” and that my friends, is what it is all about…
See ya next time… Rusty
All views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer
© June 29, 2010 – all rights reserved
Rusty Norman and NascarFansView.com
(All audio productions by www.podcastnorm.com and PCNProductions.com)