Just for the record- I am officially STOPPING going with my gut instinct for picking my fantasy racing league drivers. I picked Tony as my A driver this race and he ended up 40th. My fantasy racing league chase season is going about as good as Team Home Depot’s. I don’t remember who I picked for my B and C drivers but I can’t imagine that I ended up doing very good this week. Arg.
Enough fantasy crap- now onto the race. Before the race starts Tony tells his spotter that he’s planning on running around the top of the track and to make sure to tell him what’s going on in front of him. The most ironic thing he says is for his crew guys to “Be careful and have fun out there” which is pretty much what he tells the team every race. This ends up being ironic because Team Home Depot ends up getting screwed in the pits three times by my count…but that will come in good time. Race starts out with Stewart moving up through the pack fairly well despite his reports of the car being way too loose (I know the pit reporter said tight…but she was wrong- he never once complained about the car being too tight that I heard) from his forty first starting postion. It seems that Stewart’s proclamation before the race that “It wouldn’t take them too long to work their way to the front” might just be right on the money as he was all the way up to 26th before I knew it.
However- it would ultimately be three rounds of pit stop debauchery that would end up pushing Stewart past his frustration level. Pit stop one, Brian Vickers ends up clipping Carl Edwards and pushing him into Vickers pit stall- nearly taking out some home depot pit crew in the process. It was close. This means there are three cars where only two should be. Carl Edwards, through no fault of his own ends up blocking Stewart into his pit stall. The next pitstop Vickers stops short in his pit stall and thus blocks Stewart in again. Stewart backs up but does end up nudging Vickers off the jack as he makes his way out of his pit stall. Third pit stop has vickers again stopping short in his pit box. Blocking Stewart in his again. However this time well after Vickers has left his pit box, Vickers gas man lingers standing in front of Stewarts car (now my mom and I differ in opinion here…I say the gas man sat on his hood…my mom thinks Tony rolled forward and tripped him onto his hood). Either way – what seemed like most of Vickers over-the-wall crew ends up kicking at Tony’s car as he leaves. This is a major delay in the pits. Not to mention that team Home Depot garnered a pit road speeding penalty entering pit road so we had to take a pass through penalty. By this time Stewart was fed up with Vickers and went to give him a little nudge (now the race announcers disagreed on this one some thought that Stewart just got loose in to Vickers- I think Tony just wanted to tap Vickers to let him know he and his crew were being jerks. At this point Tony Stewart ended up mowing the lawn in quite the slide across the lawn. This caused damage to the front splitter and Team Home Depot ended up 7 laps down in 40th position after taking the time to try to fix the broken front splitter. This dropped them down to 11th in points for the chase to the Sprint Cup.
Jimmie Johnson took the checkered flag after an amazing effort by Carl Edwards to over take him. Carl decided he just had to go for and went into turn three too fast- solely with the intention of passing Jimmie Johnson. Carl took the lead- however ended up grazing the outside wall because he went into the turn too hot and Johnson was able to retake the lead for the win. I will say that I didn’t think Carl could catch Jimmie…that was a hell of an exciting move at the end!
More Notes on Kansas:
- My favorite announcer quote of the race: “Let’s see who hits Carl Edwards during this round of pit stops.” Despite being in multiple altercations on pit road Carl Edwards was able to finish an amazing 2nd.
- This race was cool for the pit crew geek in me. I loved watching Jeff Burton’s team replacing the tachometer before rolling out for the warmup laps. Its not often you will see a Cup driver not roll of the grid…let alone a chase driver. I was amazed at how fast that new tach went in. It was cool to watch. Despite the fact that I knew it meant my driver Tony Stewart was going to have a really long pit stop that would basically take away his chances for any sort of decent finish- I was fascinated by watching Team Home Depot build a front splitter patch behind the wall. I was glad the broadcast stayed with that for the most part…as well as with when the team came in to finally patch up the splitter. These are the kind of on-the-spot repairs that fascinate me.
- Joey Logano again had a lackluster performance in this race- even running the DLP sponsored Hall of Fame racing car into the wall at one point. My thoughts are that this is going to be a little harder than he thought.
- Despite his prerace announcement that this was the “sickest he has ever been climbing into a race car” Jeff Gordon had an amazing run- finishing fourth.
- Kyle Busch had another terrible run again. I bet he is hating the chase format this year.
Next Week: Talladega