Dale Earnhardt Jr and Kevin Harvick lead the way to Vegas
So now it is about 9 hours later than it was when I started the article, and Joey Logano and Brad have grabbed front tow honors. And what of Harvick and Dale Jr? Well, Jr. qualified 14th with Harvick right behind him in 16th.
In fact, the qualifying positions are all over the map, proving....well nothing at all. As we have seen for years, qualifying is a beast. Drivers race around the track for a handful of laps, and the fastest driver takes the pole. Although the qualifying procedure has changed, is there really any difference? I got the opportunty to watch some of qualifying tonight, and there are multiple cars on the track, but they are hardly racing each other. They are trying to run their fastest lap. Sometimes another car can be a benefit, and sometimes it can hinder. In any case,the situration for qualifying is very different than the actual race conditions. Is it really more exciting for the fans? More entertaining?
A number of drivers made moves in the off season. One of those is, of course, Kevin Harvick, winner of last week's race. But what of Ryan Newman? Ryan raced the 39 for Stewart Haas Racing in years past, while Kevin raced the 29 of Richard Childress Racing. Kevin moved to SHR and drives the number 4, which Ryan moved to RCR and drives the 31 once piloted by Jeff Burton. Jeff retired early to give Ryan the ride, and Ryan has certainly filled the seat well, so far this year. At Daytona, Ryan struggled and finished a lap down in 22nd. A week later in Phoenix, he didn't fare much better, finishing in 17th. However, he is starting 10th on Sunday. Not too shabby, Newman!
Weather in Las Vegas is expected to be in the mid 70's and sunny. The track could be greasy from the sun. If it clouds over, track conditions can change instantly. The key to the win will, once again, being able to set the car up to run the very best it can on the track.
And finally today, Kurt Busch confirmed he will run both the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca Cola 600. No one has done this since Robby Gordon in 2004. However, Tony Stewart, Busch's boss, ran the double in 2001, and successfully completed all 1,100 miles. He finished 6th in the Indianapolis 500, then helicoptered to the nearest airport, flew to Charlotte and landed in the infield right at the start/finish line. He was forced to start from the back as he missed the drivers' introductions, but that didn't stop Smoke. Thirteen and a half hours after he had suited up to start the Indy 500, Stewart finished third at the Coca Cola 600. Now Kurt Busch has decided to try to meet or beat Smoke's milestone. Good luck Kurt, you're going to need it.
One last thing before I send this to you wolves for your destruction, Happy 76th Birthday, Janet Guthrie. You were the original female pioneer, and still a hero to me. No one will ever fill your shoes. Thank you.