Tuesday, April 5, 2011

Fan Insight: McDowell blatantly wrecks Ambrose, tire issues again and Kevin Harvick edges Dale Earnhardt Jr. to win at Martinsville.

Welcome RaceDriven.com readers, as I sit here writing this article, I find something very funny about the last two races. Picture it if you will, last weekend, NASCAR fans saw an interesting 400 mile race on a 2-mile D-shaped oval that in the end saw a classic three-car battle for the win with Kevin Harvick making a last lap pass on Jimmie Johnson and Kyle Busch to win his first race of 2011.

Now you fast forward to Martinsville Speedway for the Goody’s Fast Relief 500 (by the way, no plug here for the sponsor, but they sure do know how to pick them, exact match), a half-mile paper clip flat racetrack that is described as two long drag strips with a u-turn on each end and amazingly enough despite tire issues, NASCAR fans saw on hell of a race all day long that ended the same way in California, but it was Kevin Harvick this time edging out Dale Earnhardt Jr. and once again Kyle Busch for his second win of 2011. Back-toback victories for Harvick.

The three funny moments here have to be, one Kevin Harvick making a statement as “The Closer” by winning back-to-back races. Second, we had two completely different racetracks and yet the same amazing finish at the end and third, (sorry Kyle Busch fans, but this is my favorite), in the late stages of both races, Kyle Busch was muscled out of the lead and possibly the win and would have to settle for third as he watched two-three better drivers drive off into to the sunset and win the race. Again sorry, but I know I’m not the only one who thought that, but still what a way to go, however there’s plus for you Rowdy Busch fans, he is leading the Cup points.

But back to the end of the Martinsville race, I have to admit as a member of JR Nation, first Dale Jr. had the bottom grove on Kyle Busch, Kyle should have stayed high, but he didn’t so they had contact and Kyle he went up the racetrack and Dale Jr. went by. Personally I see Kyle Busch repaying that to Dale Jr. later on this season despite the fact that Kyle came down on Dale Jr….

Anyway, once that pass was made with 20 laps to go, I was on the edge of my seat and watching the laps click down…thinking damn could this finally be our day and yet watching the closer, Kevin Harvick close in on Dale Earnhardt Jr. and with 4 laps to go, make the pass. I have to say at that point, my heart sank because as much as I wanted that, as much as JR Nation wanted that win, I know Dale Jr. would be upset and in this case, second place does suck. But nonetheless, it was a good day and no I don’t blame Harvick at all and he’s not the bad guy, he just had the better car at the end of the race plain and simple.


1. Three driver milestones were reached at Martinsville: Mark Martin made his 800th start and managed a 10th place finish. In the same race, both Greg Biffle, Jamie McMurray made there 300th start on Sunday as well. That is an amazing accomplishment for each driver especially Mark Martin. Martin has been NASCAR for a few decades now and he is one of the most well-respected drivers in the garage area.

2. Martin Truex Jr. and Kasey Kahne get into a violent crash at Martinsville: On lap 222, Martin Truex Jr. heading off into turn 3 with a hung throttle hitting the outside wall like a ton of bricks and in the process taking Kasey Kahne with him. As I touched on Sunday night on my personal site and blog BVinsight.com, this was a violent hit for sure, I watched several different angles and it looked like Truex Jr. did scribe a little speed off when he hit Kahne, but still what a hit. But I think that Kahne did take the harder hit. (Read More and watch the video..)

3. Michael McDowell blatantly wrecks Marcos Ambrose: Early on in the race on Sunday, the #66-Michael McDowell “normally a start and park team/driver) ran the #9-Marcos Ambrose down hard into turn 1. After the incident, McDowell said he wasn’t taking it any more, which told fans that McDowell blatantly wrecked Ambrose and for what, I have no idea.

The TV really didn’t show much, but the “start and park kid” McDowell needs to learn fast that you don’t do that, this is Martinsville, its early in the race and you need to have a level head, but that was completely uncalled for and someone including Ambrose could have been hurt. That wreck could have also taking out another driver as well. I guess McDowell who was running his first real fun race of the season, wanted to make a statement and say I’m a racer too. But that statement was I can act like a jerk too and I will take someone else out if I want too. What a joke, he lost my respect.

4. Tire issues: On Friday once again, NASCAR saw tire issues, but unlike in Bristol, nothing was done. I wish Goodyear would just have brought back last years tire. However all wasn’t bad, the tire issues actually created a old Martinsville race with drivers sliding around, beating and banging on each other and it was a classic Martinsville ending. Amazingly enough, its the type of racing that Bristol Motor Speedway fans want to see again at Bristol.

5. Good attendance: Heading into Sunday, I wondered just what the attendance would look like, and amazingly enough, the great finish was seen by almost a full house. Martinsville looked like they did very well on attendance and for that track, that’s a good thing. Keep in mind, according to Jayski.com/ESPN, Martinsville hold 61,000 seats and they had an est. 60,000 seats. But I should mention that the TV broadcast on FOX said they had 90,000 in attendance.  

Well ladies and gentlemen, with that said, that’s all folks and now NASCAR is off to Texas for a Saturday night race, that should be interesting for sure.

Photo by Chris Trotman/Getty Images