Monday, June 22, 2009

What goes around comes around, right? and Other notes from the weekend.

-Apparently not entirely.

I know I've probably exhausted all of my energies (and your nerves) with my opinions of Joey Logano following the January running of the Camping World East/West Series Toyota All Star Showdown, where, on the last lap, Logano retaliated against Peyton Sellers' pass for the lead, sending him into the wall in turn four, just feet from the checkered flag (and from the biggest celebration of Sellers' career.).

Logano argued that the move was unintentional, and many compared it to a similar bonzai pass Carl Edwards tried (but failed) on Jimmie Johnson at Kansas Speedway last fall, but NASCAR wasn't up for Logano's games, and penalized him by disqualifying his efforts, placing him 40th in the 40 car field and handed the win to the second car to cross the S/F line, 2008 East Series Champion (and all around good guy) Matt Kobyluck.
But, that was January, so why am I bringing it up?

This Saturday at Infineon Raceway, the Camping World West Series took to the track, with now Cup Series regular Logano, again in a Joe Gibbs Racing entry, joining in the fun.
As the laps ticked off, it became the Logano/Patrick Long show at the front of the field, with the duo leading 57 of the races 64 laps. On the final lap in turn 11, Long spun Logano from the lead, which Long held on to for the remaining distance to the checkers, and the length of time it took NASCAR to decide the contact was intentional and to assess the penalty. Long was pushed back to 23rd, the last on the lead lap, Logano was 17th, and Long's teammate Jason Bowles was declared to victor.
I'm never disappointed to see Bowles in victory lane, and NASCAR needs these rules in place to keep the drivers from punting each other out of the way to keep the series from becoming bumper cars instead of the leading developmental series for the Big 3, so I won't for a minute argue that Long's penalty was unnecessary. And since Long isn't a series regular, his placement won't have any impact on his points standings, much like Logano's penalty in the All Star Showdown, a non-points paying event, didn't have any impact on him points-wise. Where I find fault in the ruling is in this: NASCAR set a precedence in January by penalizing Logano so severely, which had many shaking their heads, as rough driving has always incurred, if after the event, as the last car on the lead lap. So why was Long given just a slap on the wrist in comparison?
Guess what's good for the goose isn't good for the gander this time. Sorry, Joey.

-Ron Hornaday won the rain delayed Copart 200 Saturday afternoon at the Milwaukee Mile driving the Kevin Harvick Inc 33 Copart Silverado. With the victory, on his 51st birthday, nonetheless, Hornaday takes over the points lead from fellow Chevy driver Matt Crafton, leading him by 36 markers heading into Memphis this Saturday. Don't know for sure what other presents Ron got on Saturday, but this was probably his favorite.

- Carl Edwards made the trek from Wine Country to Beer Country worth it Saturday evening, coming from the back of the pack due to the driver change, to take the win in the 250, also at the Milwaukee Mile. Major props and a shoutout to Colin Braun, Roush's Truck series driver, who dialed in and qualified the 60 Save-A-Lot Ford before turning over the reigns to Edwards an hour before race time.
An additional shoutout to Roush's other two drivers in the field, rookies Erik Darnell, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr, who put on one heck of a show, and finished 4th and 5th respectfully. If only Roush can be that dominant in the coming weeks, and not have Kyle Busch finish 2nd, we might actually have a battle for the championship on our hands.

-Speaking of the Roush Nationwide teams, Edwards plans to drive full time yet again in 2010, and Roush plans to promote Braun to the series, as according to Geoff Smith, president of Roush Racing, they've been losing money in the truck series and have only dedicated to this season because of their commitment to Braun and sponsor Con-Way Freight. Stenhouse and Braun expected to compete, at least on a limited schedule in 2010, although the details haven't been made clear. Not sure what that means for Darnell, as his name was decidedly left out of the article, but hope it was an oversight on the reporter and/or Smith's part, and not a sign of Darnell's limited future with Roush. We've spoken with Erik numerous times, and he's a genuinely nice person, not to mention a very talented racecar driver, and I'd hate to see him face the same fate as former Roush drivers Todd Kluever and Danny O'Quinn.

- Kasey Kahne won the Toyota/SaveMart 350 at Infineon Raceway in an impressive fashion, holding off charges from two of the best road racers on the circuit, Tony Stewart and Marcos Ambrose despite numerous opportunities for the two to take advantage of the new double-filed restarts. Kahne's previous best roadcourse finish had been 14th at Watkins Glen International, and each of his previous attempts at Infenion had resulted in finishes outside the top 20.

-The win was also the first for the newly minted Richard Petty Motorsports, and if there's anything better than seeing The King back in victory lane, I can't think of one. The team has a lot to celebrate, as Kahne was the first of 3 RPM drivers who left Sonoma, CA with a top 10. After struggling for a large part of the season, with the four teams having combined for only 11 top 10s in 16 outings, the team is probably looking forward to Watkins Glen more than any other team on the circuit. AJ Allmendinger and his 44 Best Buy came home a respectable 6th, and Elliott Sadler rounded out the top 10 in his 19 Stanley Tools Dodge.

-As the Camping World Truck, Nationwide and Sprint Cup teams head to Memphis and New Hampshire this weekend, our thoughts are with Nationwide Series 16 Citi Financial Ford crew chief Eddie Pardue, and his family, especially 4 year old daughter Lani who is battling kidney problems. Props to Eddie for understanding that daddy duties always should take prescendence over crew chief duties. In this sport, families often take a backseat to team responsibilities birthdays and anniversaries, recitals and concerts missed all in exchange for chasing this (crazy) dream. And Prayers for a speedy recovery for Lani!

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