After the past few races in the heat of Dixie, this week's view was as refreshing as a cold Dr Pepper on a hot day. Lots of hard racing in Loudon on Sunday made it hard to fall asleep for once.
The first Chase race is in the books and we have nine to go. Up next week is another one mile track, Dover. Dover is more of a superspeedway type one miler, where as Loudon is a short track style, one mile, flat track. Night and day.
CHECKERED FLAG.......Mark Martin stood up to all challenges on Sunday and earned the win. He's made the Chase, received a contract extension, and won a race all in the last week. The AARP should be so proud. Any room left on the bandwagon?
GREEN FLAGS......Juan Montoya won the pole, led the most laps, and then finished 3rd. Denny Hamlin capitalized on a Montoya miscue at the end to take 2nd place. Kurt Busch (6th), and Ryan Newman (7th) both had strong Chase runs. Kyle Busch won the Truck Series race on Saturday, then somehow, came home 5th on Sunday. A rare Elliott Sadler sighting in the top-10 (8th) earns him his first Green Flag since February.
YELLOW FLAGS......Tony Stewart (14th), Jeff Gordon (15th), and Carl Edwards (17th). While all three of these Chasers were strong at some point of the race, their finishes didn't show it.
RED FLAG......Kasey Kahne lost his engine before lap 50 was complete. Not a great way to start his Chase. His team, RPM, has no engine department now after announcing that they're switching to Ford next season. RPM is crumbling from the inside. Last week a longtime VP was fired by the owner, the engine dept either quit or got fired, one of their drivers has been racing for no salary for weeks, and they accepted a merger (takeover) as a way to save money next year.
BLACK FLAG......Kevin Harvick displayed strange behavior during the Truck race on Saturday, to say the least. Harvick, who was in third place, demanded that his employee (2nd place Ron Hornaday) pull over and let Harvick run down leader Kyle Busch and win the race. Hornaday is in a points race and would like to keep every spot that he EARNS. If you can't even pass the second place truck, what makes you think you can catch and pass the leader, Kev? The whole situation made Harvick look like a spoiled brat. Probably not far from the truth.