Bristol Speedway - Under the Lights, Baby!!
Kevin Harvick has secured his place in the Chase, but behind him, almost anything can happen. Kurt Busch was a supposed lock-in last weekend before Michigan, sitting solidly in 4th place, but a blown engine and a 40th place finish means the Penski team needs a strong finish at Bristol. It shouldn't be too hard, as Kurt has run well at Bristol winning here five times. Unfortunately, he still risks being caught up in an accident of his own making, as does every other driver on the track.
Anything can happen at Bristol, and tempers are bound to flare. As Dale Jr describes it, "Bristol.... is like a rock concert...on steroids".
And speaking of Dale Jr., his relationship with Crew Chief, Lance McGrew seems to be well, faltering. The communication between them is stilted, and Dale just doesn't seem to be able to get a car he can drive with any kind of success. Many would argue that it is the driver, not the car, but Dale Jr. didn't score 18 wins being a no-talent. I'm not sure what the answer is for the 88 team, but it's obvious by their 17th place standing, about par for Dale Jr. in past years, that whatever they are doing isn't working. Is it time for Dale Jr. to hang up the steering wheel? I'm noping not yet, but I'm sure he cannot be happy running in the positions he is every week. He wants to win.
The drivers around 12th place have ramped up their efforts, with Clint Bowyer and Mark Martin the closest competitors. Ryan Newman sits in 14th and is looking for a strong finish at Bristol to get into the Chase. Jamie McMurray is currently in 15th, and with 2 wins so far this year, is one of the surprise non-Chasers. He and his team just haven't been able to put together the finishes in other races. He and his teammate, Juan Pablo Montoya have the most top ten finishes of the non-Chasers, but again, other than those finishes, they've not been able to recover from poor finishes in other races.
As Cup qualifying concludes, Jimmie Johnson is on the pole for the Cup race tomorrow night. Ryan starts 6th, while Kurt is in 20th.
Next up is the Nationwide race - I'm at work, so will follow along on my Blackberry, and if my boss is feeling generous, he may let me tune in the TV to the race.
Of course, many of our members, and other friends of mine have been to the race, and some will no doubt be there tonight. Hopefully, they'll post some pictures when the get back online. (Thanks for this one Ed and Lou!)
So, who are your picks for the races? Are we going to see a fistfight at the end? Whose temper will get out of hand? Who's going to use the "bump 'n run"? Chat it up and let me know your thoughts, and I'll catch up a little later on.
Let's Go RACING!!!