What was with the Indy 500 and the Coca-Cola 600? In both races the drivers leading the last lap did NOT get the checker flag and in BOTH races those drivers happened to be driving National Guard sponsored cars. Talk about heartache.
Rookie JR Hildebrand (from California) crashes into the turn four wall (and hard) in what could only be described as a rookie mistake, and while he did cross the finish line in his injured car- Dan Wheldon was able to overtake JR to get to the checkers first, leaving JR with a ruined car and a second place finish.
A similar scene would play out at the Coca-Cola 600. Dale Earnhardt Jr took the white flag on the last lap of the marathon race only to run out of fuel on the backstretch. While he was able to coast the car around turns three and four, he was overtaken at the end by Kevin Harvick who won the race. That sound of anguish you heard Sunday night? That was Junior nation- all of whom let out an agonizing cry after that race.
And what of Tony Stewart’s run you asked? Well he had a run that has been typical of the season. See-sawing up and down…mostly down including struggling with possible engine issues until the team had- through pit stop strategy worked their way into the top ten at the end of the race- only to have to practically come to a stop on the apron to avoid a spinning Jeff Burton. Tony ended up 17th and is now 9th in series points standings.
Notes on both Indy 500 and Coca-Cola 600:
- Double File Restarts at Indy lead to some excitement- except- that they never really seemed to have the field side by side by the time the green flew. I don’t know if the drivers needed to figure it out or the race officials needed to tell the field to bunch up a bit more before they flew the green- but most of them were pretty sloppy for double file restarts.
- I still do NOT understand why NASCAR did NOT throw a caution for that massive mess of spinning cars on the first attempt at a green-white-checker. Seriously I am confused since they threw cautions for much less.
- Hendrick engines seemed to take a beating during the 600. Jimmie blew his. Jeff Gordon complained of what seemed like engine issues earlier in the race- and then Tony Stewart complained with 30 laps to go that it seemed like he lost a valve spring or something. Both drivers said their engines felt sluggish. Unusual.
- I was wondering what that big orange slide like looking thing was in the aerial shots of IMS were. Apparently it was a wickedly large jump ramp- Team Hot Wheels attempted and broke the world record for jumping a four wheeled vehicle:
Next weekend- NASCAR moves to the Midwest and goes to KANSAS.
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