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Race 9: Richmond 1 (Jumping Restarts, Waterbottles, and Clashing Crews)

Posted by Amy in General | NASCAR

Wow…what a bizarre race Richmond ended up being!  I guess the three major issues ended up being clashing crew members in the pits (between Menard and Johnson who were pitted side-by-side), Carl being black flagged for jumping the restart, and that last debris caution. And I have opinions on ALL of it of course. The problem is where to start.

So Tony didn’t have such a great qualifying effort and started the race from 22nd position.  Despite what Tony said about the pit crew issues during the race? I think having a crappy pit box may have been part of his pit road issues. Not that there weren’t other issues- I am sure there were. But the crappy pit box that comes with a mediocre qualifying run can damper your race on/off of pit road.  However, I think it speaks volumes about the car and the team (and of course our smokin’ driver Tony) that the car seemed to be able to slowly work up the field despite the pit road issues- whatever they may have been.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, makes a pitstop during the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

At the end of the race Tony had a commanding lead but due to an ill-timed debris caution, Tony was forced to come in for tires- where he was beat out of the pits by Kyle Busch, who went on to lead the rest of the race with Tony coming in a very respectable 3rd.  He remains 8th in points. Yeah….that is wrong. Come in third- stay 8th in damn points.  I hate the new points system.

For those of us watching on TV- we were never shown the piece of debris rescued from the backstretch. Tony stated it was a water bottle that had been there many many laps and wasn’t even in the groove.  Someone else said they saw a piece of sheet metal…I really think that the broadcast should SHOW the debris…EVERY SINGLE TIME a debris caution is thrown.

Also- because those of us watching on TV might not know because the race broadcast didn’t really mention what ACTUALLY happened between Paul Menard’s pit crew and Jimmie Johnson’s pit crew- Menard’s pit crew member tripped over a tire mistaken placed in the Menard pit box by a Lowe’s crew member. Menard’s crew man went to retaliate and I guess pushed the Lowe’s crew member. So when you heard Slugger Labbe (Menard’s crew chief) tell his crew that if that happened again- that person would never work at RCR again- that is what he was talking about- the retaliatory push.  I don’t know if you noticed, but when they showed Jimmie’s next pit stop- Menard was not in yet- but a Menard crew member was sure to point out something to the NASCAR official. It’s quite obvious in the national broad cast- and to me it seemed kind of petty.

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 Mobil 1/Office Depot Chevrolet, stands in the garage during practice for the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Capital City 400 at Richmond International Raceway. (Photo Credit: Tom Pennington/Getty Images North America)

And of course there was Carl Edwards being black flagged by NASCAR.  I am sure Carl fans everywhere are incensed at the penalty…Carl even said during his post race interview that he had been restarted each time the same way so he didn’t understand why now.  Well- personally- I think he was jumping the restart each and every time. It looked to me like he jumped the previous restart.  I think it was just blatantly obvious that time because because Stewart spun his tires so horrendously during that restart. And I know there are those who think yeah right “spun his tires” sure he did that on purpose. I would be surprised if that were true because Tony seemed to have that issue with every restart at Richmond- no matter where in the field he was- it was just obvious there because he was leading and dropped like a rock.  It seems when Tony has a car that is better late in the run- he ends up spinning the tires on restarts.  So yes I think Carl jumped the restart regardless of whether he was leading or Tony was leading. I am a Stewart fan- so I am sure that “clouds” my judgement.

On the plus side- Tony did win Denny Hamlin’s Short Track Showdown charity race on the Thursday before the race. YEY Tony!

Tony Stewart, driver of the #14 JD Byryder Used Cars/Office Depot/Mobil 1 Chevrolet, celebrates in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Whelen All-American Series Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown at Richmond International Raceway on April 26, 2012 in Richmond, Virginia. (Photo Credit: Todd Warshaw/Getty Images North America)

Notes About Richmond:

  1. So Tony got a little snarky after the race with Dave Newton from ESPN in the media center.  He was no doubt grumpy because of the last restart.  I know I WAS grumpy.  One of my twitter friends even posted about Smoke fans being a sore losers when Tony loses (@ARosser14- Hi Aaron). That is totally me too (hence why I favorited the tweet)- so I imagine Tony was feeling a bit pissy about the whole deal too. The funniest thing about Tony getting snarky though? Is Dale Earnhardt Jr’s reaction (Junior is sitting right next to Tony in the media center).  Here is the video (as posted by Jeff Gluck from sbnation):

 

That is priceless right there.

Next week: Talladega Super Speedway- (the race I watch through my fingers!)

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