Sunday, July 26, 2009

Third time the charm?

-Jimmie Johnson won the 16th running of the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, holding off his Hendrick Motorsports teammate and pole sitter, Mark Martin. It was his 3rd win at the historic track in four years, bringing Hendrick's total to 7 (four from teammate Jeff Gordon!) His win helped him edge Gordon into the second spot in points, 192 behind Tony Stewart.
- As promised by many NASCAR officials and drivers (especially Gordon), tires proved not to be an issue, although the race wasn't without controversy. Juan Pablo Montoya, who started P2, clearly was the dominant car throughout the entire race, until he was nabbed for speeding down pit row on the final cycle of green flag pit stops, .1 mph over the maximum. After being out front all day, Montoya struggled in traffic, finishing a disappointing 11th. Having been very vocal pre-race about how he was "points racing" and wouldn't press an issue that would knock him out of contention to make the Chase, the only bright spot for the team has to be that he finished 3 spots ahead of where his team has estimated they need to finish in the races leading up to the Richmond cut off to secure their spot, regardless of where everyone else finishes.
-I usually don't agree with most of the fashion choices Chandra Johnson makes, but she looked totally fashionista-y today. I can't decide what I like more, the shoes or the belt, but overall, Jimmie wasn't the only winner in their family today, in my opinion.
Across the city, at O'Reilly Raceway Park, Friday night and Saturday night, the Camping World Truck series and the Nationwide Series drivers put on the best two shows of the weekend, by far.
- Friday night, Ron Hornaday broke a long-standing Truck Series record, becoming the only driver in the history of the series to win 4 races in a row! As competitive as the Truck Series is, winning 4 races throughout the season is a huge accomplishment, but winning them in a row is outstanding. Congrats to Horn and his entire KHI 33 team.
- In doing so, he extended his points lead to 174 over the second place finisher Mike Skinner, who jumped past Matt Crafton who had a disappointing night, finishing 16th after struggling from the green flag to get a handle on his truck.
- Congrats also to Aric Almirola and Dennis Setzer who both had great runs through the field after pitting late to take on new tires to find themselves in the top 5.
-Pole sitter Colin Braun rounded out the top 5!
-Caitlin Shaw made her Truck Series debut Friday night for Red Horse Racing, finishing a respectable 24th at a track that has proven tricky time and time again for even the most seasoned veteran. We hope to see her again on track soon!
- It'd be a mistake to not mention that Johnny Benson had a successful surgery on 7/20, and is expected to begin physical therapy this week! For those JB fans wanting to send get well cards to Johnny as he recuperates you may send them to: JBFC - PO Box 150619, Grand Rapids, MI 49515.
With Cup Series qualifying held (and delayed) on Saturday at IMS, the double-duty drivers were forced to start in the back of the field Saturday night, but it didn't take long for Carl Edwards, Matt Kenseth, Kyle Busch, or David Reutimann to find their way to the front once the race was underway. And as what has seemingly become the story of the season, the race for the lead became a two man show between the two title contenders.
Edwards was able to outrun Busch in the end, scoring his second win of the season, but with Busch's substantial lead, he barely made a dent in the championship run.
-With the Cup drivers away, the qualifying session gave the Nationwide drivers an opportunity to shine, and Trevor Bayne took full advantage, capturing the pole, and leading the opening laps until the caution flew for a spin by Michael Annett and the over-eager pace car driver darted onto the track. Bayne checked up to avoid passing the pace car ( a big no-no) and was spun by Steven Wallace. Although the field is supposed to be frozen at the time of caution, and although the pace-car driver was at fault, both drivers lost track position, but both battled back to respectable top 10 finishes.
-Props to Scott Wimmer, driving for JR Motorsports in the #5 Fastenal Chevy, who led early and often as well, before losing the handling on the car as the sun went down. With his top 10 finish, though, he climbed up to 16th in the standings after running in only 17 races of 20, the majority with the underfunded Key Motorsports 40 team. At Richmond this spring, he mentioned that the team has only 5 fulltime employees aside from himself, so to be as competitive as he's been many times this season is an accomplishment. Saturday night, Aric Almirola followed up his CWTS 3rd place run with 14th place finish filling in for Wimmer.
Why am I mentioning this? The 40 team is unsponsored for the Iowa race this coming weekend.
As hard as they work, and as much as they do with so little compared to the larger teams, I'm sure putting your logo on their hood would be well worth it.
SPONSORSHIP UPDATE – For the first time since February, Key Motorsports heads into next weekend’s race at Iowa Speedway without a primary sponsor for the No. 40. If you are interested in more information regarding sponsoring Key Motorsports, please call (704) 663-1670.
Update: Sorry, I'm a doofus, Wimmer actually will again be in the 5, and Almirola will be in the 40, but it's stil a great opportunity!

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