Hendrick gets 200, Jimmie gets number 56, and the fans get a race
It was said often enough that NASCAR fans want cautions, want wrecks. It seemed even Tony Stewart bought into that hype when he gave his post race interview at Talladega. He said that he wanted to race on a figure 8 track. He also said he felt he should tear up his race car, so he had to spend at least $150,000 to fix it, in order to give the fans a show. He proposed a race where the cars reversed direction for the last laps, or better yet, split the field and have half the cars go one way while the other half reversed direction.
And he said it all with a straight face, leaving many with their mouths hanging open.
But in all seriousness, Tony got what the fans were saying. He just took it a step further, possibly to get NASCAR's attention.
Last night, Darlington delivered. I didn't get to see the whole race, only about the last third of it, but what I saw delivered. The racing was close. There was passing, and cross over passing. There were lead changes. There were great cars and drivers, showing what they could do, and some without sponsors. It was a great race to watch. It. was. exciting.
Yes, after all those laps, Jimmie Johnson won, which is pretty much how things went for five years, but he didn't coast to a win. He had to work for it. Tony Stewart was up front battling to win, as was Kyle Busch, and his brother, Kurt.
Kurt hit the wall, several times, damaging his car. When he finally wrecked Ryan Newman got caught up in it and both cars ended up finishing well back. However, one of Ryan's team members was really unhappy after the race and made his unhappiness known to the number 50 crew members. Honestly, I understand both sides of the story. Newman had a great run going and when he slowed to stay out of the Busch wreck, he got tagged from behind and got sent into the wall. It was Busch's intense desire to get a good finish that kept him on the track, well past the time when he should have pitted. He had hit the wall several times, his car was damaged, and he was in danger of causing a wreck and involving other cars, which is exactly what happened. Kurt was driving an unsponsored car for James Finch. He wanted to make a good showing at the track and hopefully get sponsorship from somewhere.
Unfortunately, his past actions, and his actions on the track last night might just have shown those potential sponsors that you just can't change a tiger's stripes. By doing what he did, showing that passion, and as a reslut tearing up a perfectly good racecar, and pissing off his competition yet again, Kurt may just have sealed his fate. Time will tell, but I hate it for Finch, who is a genuinely nice guy.
Smoke ran out of fuel on the last lap, but still managed to salvage a third place finish. He said that he was forced to go to the apron of the track when they got the one to go, because his fuel pressure light was blinking. When they actually got back to racing, he didn't have enough to challenge and only managed to get around the track.