(I really can’t explain why but the lyrics “And now its startin’ to rain/on my parade” have been going through my head all afternoon. ALL AFTERNOON and EVENING. It’s actually kind of annoying. 50 billion brownie points if you know the song they come from. No fair googling!).
First off I want to start this off by saying I am not a big fan of the Louden race. It seems like to me weather is almost always an issue. Of course this whole weekend was nothing different. Qualifying took nearly three hours because of rain delays. The Nationwide race ended under yellow because of rain (and YEY Tony for your fifth Nationwide win of the season)! And the cup race? Well it was called with 17 laps to go because (you guessed it) of rain.
Team Home Depot had another strong performance. Yet again, the finish (13th) is not indicative of the race that was ran. Luckily Tony was a HotPass driver this week and I listened to the team audio channel on my hotpass for the entire race. The team communication was excellent and everyone seemed to be working together flawlessly. The twenty car had moved up fairly quickly through the field even before the first round of pit stops. It was exciting to see the pit crew work flawlessly and to watch the twenty car move up through the field by good hard racing…it was truly a stellar performance considering that the car wasn’t exactly perfect judging by the adjustments called for but the crew worked to make the car better and Tony worked to drive what he had when he had it. The Home Depot car was soon in the top five and stayed there for a good portion of the race, including a nice stint of leading the field, being chased down hard by Jimmie Johnson. Overall- there was a lot of good clean hard racing (even when we had to remind David Blaney that he was not racing for position and was holding us up a tad).
Unfortunately Mother Nature was a mean lady…and decided to rain while we were under a caution. Team Home Depot had taken their final pitstop and even though team home depot only took two tires and some gas (and some more tweaking) We ended up shuffled back to thirteenth in the field when that final caution came out. Then the rain moved in. And NASCAR decided to call the race a race***, thus handing a very lucky Kurt Busch his first victory of the 2008 season. (Does anyone else remember when we were in Kurt Busch’s position last year during Kansas…and the race was on rain delay for over two hours? Yet they finished? Who makes these decisions?). I can only imagine the disappointment team home depot felt at the end of that race, having run so solidly to come in 13th.
To be noted about Louden:
- I was very impressed that Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson and Casey Mears all seemed to have fairly good cars this weekend. They all raced really hard, but too were caught off guard by the early ending of the race. Their places are also not indicative of the race they ran (Mears ended up 7th, Jimmie Johnson 9th and Jeff Gordon 11th).
- Also, color me impressed with pole-sitter Patrick Carpentier’s comments before the race, about how he was hoping to lead the first lap for the points and then planned to just fall back into a rhythm since he didn’t have any real experience at this track. He said he hoped for a top 15 finish…which unfortunately he did not get, ending up 31st in the standings.
- It should also be noted that Bobby Labonte finished 10th after starting second. He too ran a good hard clean race.
Next weekend…Daytona under the lights!
***My reaction when the race was called due to rain? Was to throw my yarn ball (I was crocheting another baby bunting while watching the race…what? I have to have TWO made by the end of July!) at the TV. Luckily it was a yarn ball and not…you know like a brick or something.