|DIBENNEDETTO NASCAR'S ROCKY BALBOA
|FROM JOURNEYMAN DRIVER TO HALL OF FAMER
|WINNERS NOT ADDING UP
|THE 600 IS STILL A CROWN JEWEL
|NEXT TWO WEEKS COULD BE TOO GOOD
|WALTRIP A TWO-WAY HALL OF FAMER
THE RACE WAS BETTER…
Last Sunday's Monster Energy Cup Series race at Texas Motor Speedway was better than any we've seen in recent years on the 1.5-mile track and I will argue as good as we
Between the "sticky stuff" NASCAR and track officials put in the corner combined with a newer asphalt with more grip and a layout where the drivers could draft from the exit of turn 2 all the way back to the entry to turn one, describing it as one long straightaway, the rules package had the potential to make a big difference and it did. For any race fan with a sweet tooth for close competition, there was a lot of "eye candy" in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.
Sitting in the PRN booth with Doug Rice, many times before at Texas only a few laps after a restart we had to begin hunting for battles farther in the pack, maybe for fifth place or tenth or as deep as 20th because what was going on up front was single file and not very exciting to talk about. That wasn't the case this past Sunday. From the drop of the green, the fighting up front was ferocious and the top-10 cars or so really couldn't get away from each other. As I said, it was clear the new rules package was coming into play with the draft unmistakably making a huge difference in
The other thing that made this race at Texas truthfully better is something Doug pointed out after the checkered flag had fallen, we really didn't know who was going to win until we got down near the end. It was up for grabs most of the afternoon. First Jimmie Johnson looked good out front. Kyle Busch, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott
The start and restarts were a lot of fun to watch with guys taking it three-wide and sometimes four. We just needed more of them. That's I'm not going to lie, I was rooting for a late race caution to turn a really good race into, maybe, a great "Sundae". Alas, that didn't happen, but that didn't seem to matter. It was still pretty yummy, though, even if I didn't get the extra whip cream and sprinkles on top.
SPEAKING OF JOHNSON…
Texas could also be a good sign of things to come for Jimmie Johnson and Hendrick Motorsports. Not only did Jimmie capture his first pole position in 95 races, but when the green flag flew he was able to stay up front.
He was able to do that because the Hendrick bunch had clearly done a lot of work on their cars following a dismal performance in Fontana. Johnson
The sport needs Jimmie Johnson battling with the leaders to feed the fan interest and it needs Hendrick Motorsports to be more competitive as a
We got a lot closer to both of those things happening at Texas. Yes, Jimmie's losing streak has reached an unbelievable 66 races, but for the first time in a