Sunday, August 24, 2014

Gladiators Battle at the Last Great Colosseum


Well, it was Bristol all right - wrecks and spins and furious drivers throwing HANS devices at offending cars, drivers and crew chiefs yelling at one another, drivers walking off in a snit, cars being hauled off on the hook missing their fronts or backs or sides, pissed off drivers trying to navigate around uncooperative slower traffic. Favorites being disappointed despite looking good for a while (Jeff, Junior, Denny, Kyle, Kevin). Have-to-wins being even more disappointed despite looking good for a while (Kasey, Larson, Bowyer, McMurray) - with Kenseth in both categories.

I was so hoping one of the "have-to-wins" would win but it wasn't to be. I rooted for Kasey and I rooted for Matt, and I rooted for Kyle Larson and I rooted for Jamie McMurray but evidently my support was like the kiss of death. In the end, it was a great night to be a Penske driver with Joey winning and Brad coming in second. The 48 was the only Hendrick car to have a good result, finishing 4th despite two (count'em two!) speeding tickets and two long trips from back to front.

I always root for Danica but she wasn't having a good race even before she spun out. I always root for Kyle Larson but his whole weekend was a disaster. He wrecked in practice, got wrecked in the Nationwide race and got into a couple more incidents in the Cup race.  He still managed to finish ahead of his competition for Rookie of the Year.

It was fun to see Ryan Blaney beat Kyle Busch to the draw on the final restart in the Nationwide race. And I was okay with Brad getting his first win in the Truck Series. I don't have such hard feelings about the Cup guys winning some lower series races when they are actually investing in that series by putting their money where their mouths are and owning in their own team.

I'm glad Jimmie talked Lowe's into changing the White Lightning car back to blue. Jimmie fans on some of the sites I belong to have been complaining about the curse of the white car for weeks. Myself, I'm not really superstitious, but still........

We finally know for sure that Carl is going to Gibbs. He must realize himself that his sometimes overbearing personality turned off his teammates at Roush because I've heard him mention several times about being a better teammate. That would seem wise considering the mix of egos at Gibbs. I don't think Matt would tolerate being the red-headed step-child to Carl's fair-haired boy again. And Denny and Kyle, well, they are Denny and Kyle.

Of course, I said the same thing about Stewart-Haas and they all seem to be doing fine.

Except for Tony, of course. I really don't expect to see him back on the track until the legal questions are dealt with. I can't imagine he'd want to return with the possibility hanging over his head of charges being filed against him. After that, I don't know. He's been through two traumatic events in the last year. As much physical therapy as he needed after he busted his leg, he may need as much emotional therapy now.

It begins to look like the last few drivers will get into the Chase based on points. Bristol was probably the last, best chance for Larson, Ambrose, McMurray, even Bowyer. Not that they couldn't win at Atlanta or Richmond but the odds aren't as good as they were at Bristol. If anyone new gets a win, my guess is that it will be Kenseth with Larson still being my wild card (probably a more emotional selection than practical).

So, we're down to a pair of races left, knowing that those two will be last chance dog fights. Who ya' got to squeak in?