I was put in a no-win situation on Sunday, or was it a Win-Win? Everybody at the Watering Hole knows that I am a huge Jeff Gordon fan. You know..I have a JG Cap, two JG Tee shirts, A 1997 Dupont Die Cast and of course the Jeff Gordon front license plate. I have been a Gordon fan every since Ernie Irvan retired. On the other hand, I had Jimmie Johnson in the weekly Nascar Pool. What to do?
Jeff Gordon, driver of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet definitely had the car to beat Sunday afternoon at Dovers Monster Mile, but a loose lug nut would cost him the opportunity to win. It caused him to get out of pit stop sequence, and getting caught on pit road during his last stop on lap 339 for debris on the track took him off the lead lap. His streak of Bad Luck would continue. He would take the Wave Around and started too far back, to have another shot at the lead. He finished 13th on the day.
With out a doubt, Jimmie Johnson had a strong race car, and with Jeff Gordon back in traffic, no one else was going to beat him on this Sunday. He led 289 of the 400 laps of the race and easily withstood the restart with 31 laps to go, and won his second regular race of the year and Hendrick Motorsports 4th in a row, including the non-points allstar race. Jimmie retains fifth place in the points standing, now only 31 points behind leader Greg Biffle.
Greg Biffle retains his points lead, but seen his margin shrink on Sunday. With his 11th place finish, he lost ground to all of his closests persuers who finished ahead of him on the track, including race winner Jimmie Johnson. His lead on Matt Kenseth is only one point, and 10 over Dale Earnhardt Jr..
TV Analyst Jeff Hammond pointed out just before the green flag, about the dangers of exiting turn two. He had said that because of the lack of room, anything happening at that point, would, and could be catastrophic. It didn’t take but 9 laps for his concern to come to fruition.
Landon Cassill on exiting turn two, drifted down the track, and as Tony Stewart explained after the wreck, “I didn’t have time to be patient, and I didn’t give Landon adequate room to get his car under control”. He also relieved Regan Smith from blame for hitting him in the rear as he slowed. By the time the crash was over, 12 cars had piled in.
Stewart returned to the track on lap 74 and finished 25th, one position better than that of Carl Edwards, who blew a tire and slammed into the Turn 2 wall on Lap 164. Down 80 laps when he returned to the track after repairs, Edwards dropped from 10th to 12th in the Cup standings.
As always, the action on this unique set up was fast and intense, showing us why they call it The Monster Mile. And yes, it was a Win-Win for me on Sunday. Having JJ in the pool, and a great race on a Sunday afternoon, how could I lose?
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Photo Courtesy Getty Images For Nascar