Monday, April 18, 2011

View From The Flagstand: Jimmie Johnson's Bama Jama

Restrictor plate racing provided another great finish at Talladega on Sunday. In fact, it was probably the best finish ever. It tied the NASCAR record for closest margin of victory at .002 seconds, or about four inches.

Eighty-eight lead changes also tied another NASCAR record. No matter that about eighty of those lead changes were wave-bys, as the drivers choreographed the passes all day long. "Okay, is that it? Who hasn't led yet?"


After more than six months, Jimmie Johnson returned to victory lane. Two pairs of HMS cars, along with two RCR cars, and a pair of RFR racers all hit the stripe in a photo finish. Definitely sent all the fans home happy after watching three hours of Dancing with the Cars.


All of the usual Chase suspects were in that eight-car covey at the end. David Gilliland was ninth at the line, backing up his top-5 at Daytona. The (pleasant) surprise of the race was Dave Blaney racing his underfunded TBR Chevy up front all race long. Blaney led the second most laps, and was leading just five laps from the end. His fairy tale ended when Kurt Busch turned Blaney around with three to go.


It seemed as if all the wrecks were caused by the lead car, in a two car draft, either turning, or slowing without the trailing car being aware of it. Driving blind, staring at your partner's rear spoiler, at 195mph can lead to separation, or even divorce. In particular, Kurt Busch, after turning three different guys around, is getting blamed for things out of his control.


The Foxheads and their listeners, who think Ryan Newman made such a great save. Ask Juan Montoya how great it was. Some save when you bounce off an innocent bystander. If Newman's save was all that, so was Landon Cassill's. He did the same thing early in the race, ask Brian Vickers.


The whining over the start and parkers. Is there any chance that starting and parking earlier this year helped get Blaney the cash to run up front at Talladega on Sunday? Or, that it helped Joe Nemechek to a great run and third place spot on Saturday? The start and parkers have been around since day one in NASCAR. Everyone's favorite car owner, Richard Childress, did it a few times himself back when he was a sponsorless driver.


  1. Gene,

    The race certainly was interesting... Not only all the lead changes but also all the dance partner changes. This superspeedway draft partner racing continues to be a work in progress. The latest results were made possible in large part by drivers talking directly with each other on the radio. It was no coincidence that the top finishers were hooked up with teammates and enjoying direct communication with each other.

    If I'm not mistaken, going into the race each driver's radio is limited to a certain number of channels they can tune into. I think that needs to be eliminated. Every radio should be capable of hooking up with every other one. If not, then the rich teams like Hendrick have a distinct advantage IMHO...

    They've now evidently begun experimenting with applying slick stuff to their rear bumpers in an effort to limit the pusher's nose from sticking.

    Interesting... A new kind of NASCAR that has many fans wondering.

    Will it take time on these superspeedways to eventually move beyond this type of racing? Will the tracks progressively get more bumpy? Will they be affected by just being raced on over the years? I'm hearing speculation that the type of racing we're seeing now will eventually go away as the tracks change over time. Is that a good or bad thing?

    About the start and parkers... Why in the world does the first guy usually off the track in the NWS happen to be named Green??? I'm ticked! LOL

    Thanks Gene!

  2. Dwindy... Most all of the drivers had a two-dial radio that held 30 other drivers' radio frequencies.

    I wonder about the Pam they're placing on their bumpers. 1) does it even work? 2) if so, couldn't it cause the bumpers to slide into a bad angle even easier, and cause a wreck?

    I'm not sold on the two car drafts, but the big packs were not the best situation either. I suppose I would take 2 car over 42 car packs, even though this type of racing resembles Roller Derby.

    Two of the three Green brothers are former NWS champions. Hang your hat on that, hermano.

  3. anyone know what the actual wording on the yellow line rule is? Is it "the act of passing" or "advancing your position"? If it's the former, then I understand why Hamlin got pinged in the Shootout since it was all one move, lol

  4. tez-

    as I understand the Yellow Line rule, going beneath the yellow line in and of itself is not an infraction. It only becomes a problem when you advance your position while doing so.

  5. MASCAR's handout Sunday during driver's meeting:

    "This is your warning: race above the yellow line. If, in NASCAR'S judgment, you go below the yellow line to improve your position, you will be black-flagged. If in NASCAR's judgment you force someone below the yellow line (in an effort to stop him from passing you), you may be black-flagged."

    I didn't include any of the yellow line debate in this View because it doesn't make any difference. Apparently a driver can be beside another car while below the line. It's legit as long as his front bumper never goes out in front of the competitor's.

  6. On the "slick" bumpers - yes some of the cars are using cooking oil on them to allow them to slide others are using special tape that has aluminum in it to make it slick on the non sticky side.

    Kurt discussed this at Daytona and I think he would say there is no way to make it "too slick"...

    Another great recap Gene - agreed on Newman, he wasnt nearly as self-congratulatory in his post race as Fox was cuz he knew Montoya actually saved him the first time...

    Only thing I know about the line is ON the line is not BELOW the line...

  7. that's the same as me then, Kristen....I vote spike strips from pit entry to the finish line, that'll be easy to figure it out, LOL

  8. KLV... LOL, I agree, for Kurt, it can't be made slick enough.

    On is not below, but the first line in NASCAR's release says, "race above the yellow line". And why are their two yellow lines? Ambiguity, thy name is NASCAR.

    Tez... Spike strips, love it.

  9. That darn yellow line comes into play way to often. I've always wished they would take out that rule and let the drivers roam as they did in the past. Then again, there are a lot of things I wish NASCAR would go back on.