After a weekend where two of the three practices and the qualifying session were rained out the weather looked beautiful for Sunday’s race at Martinsville. Martinsville is the shortest track on the circiut but Sunday’s Goody’s 500 was definitely not short on action. I personally, thought Sunday’s race was one of the best this season.
Of course part of that could be because both Stewart-Haas Racing drivers, Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman had top ten finishes. Tony finishing the day with an awesome third place finish- the best for Stewart-Haas Racing so far this season. Ryan Newman finished the day in 8th place- a personal best for his since beginning his tenure at Stewart-Haas racing at the beginning of this season. Both Tony and Ryan’s teams seemed to be working quite well on Pit Road despite the inherient cramp conditions in the Martinsville pits as well as having some non-choice pitstalls.
Since qualifying was rained out – the field lined up by points. Initially Jeff Gordon, who started on the pole since he leads the points race right now, took the lead and seemed to stay in the lead a good portion of the race. His only challenger seemed to be Denny Hamlin- who also looked fairly strong. His car seemed to get stronger while Gordon’s handling seem to fade late in the race- causing him to have a fourth place finish. In the end- it was a shootout between Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson- with the two swapping the lead back and forth several times during the last 22 laps or so. At one point during the swapping back and forth of the lead, Hamlin and Johnson were both practically sideways side by side in the turn. In the end- Jimmie Johnson was able to get his first cup win of the season.
More Notes on Martinsville:
- Best Work In of A Sponsor Product: Comes from Saturday’s Practice telecast on SPEEDTv where journalist said to Tony Stewart “This really stinks doesn’t it?” talking about the weather- and Tony retorted “It DOES NOT stink because we have OLD SPICE as a sponsor so it does NOT stink!”
- Tony was apparently cussing at himself during the end of the race: “I was just cussing at myself because I wasn’t close enough to do anything about it.”
– Tony Stewart, on the winning pass (third)
- I love how now that Rick Hendrick has been quoted as supporting Tony Eury Jr as Crew Chief for Dale Jr- that the Fox Commentators (I think it was DW) are now stating that part of the reason that Dale is having poor finishes is Tony Stewart’s fault because he recruited Darian Grubb away from HMS. Um…no.
- I was glad to hear that even Jeff Gordon gets frustrated during a race- as he threatened to “knock his head off” if Denny (or it might have been Tony- I thought Tony when I first heard it but my friend says no he was talking about Denny) he bumped him again.
- I had no idea Joey Logano was so tall- (direct from my notes after seeing him standing next to Greg Zipadelli during the national anthem.)
- Poor Kyle just couldn’t catch a break this race- seemed he was spinning more times than a hula hoop! Neither could Matt Kenseth- always a driver or six short of being the lucky dog.
- Was it my imagination or did Jeff Gordon slight Tony Stewart’s third place finish in his post race interview? Jeff felt he had at least a third place car…but he finished fourth (and maintained his points lead).
Next Week: Texas Motor Speedway.