As the 2011 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series season heads down the final stretch of the season, here is my final thoughts on yesterday’s AAA Texas 500 at Texas Motor Speedway:
1. Finally NASCAR wakes up and instead of taking the punishment from the NASCAR community (fans, drivers, teams, owners and etc.), NASCAR parks Kyle Busch for the rest of the Texas Motor Speedway weekend after he blatantly retaliated on Camping World Truck Series driver Ron Hornaday during the early stages of the race.
This was way overdue for Kyle Busch and he deserved it. Of course I would love to have seen Busch be suspended for the rest of the 2011 NASCAR season and that includes just staying home and no access to racetracks, but at least NASCAR parked him for the rest of the weekend.
But it was cool seeing Kyle Busch on the pit box watching his #18 M&M’s Toyota go around the racetrack without him driving it. He looked bored at times, perfect, I hope he finally got the message.
2. Seeing Tony Stewart pickup his 4th win of the chase at Texas was great. Last week he said that he wasn’t going to make it easy on point leader Carl Edwards and he didn’t. But Edwards is sticking in there with another good finish (2nd place) and now has a 3 point lead. Borrowing a miracle or a bad run for both Edwards and Stewart, this is a two-man race because Kevin Harvick is -33 behind and Matt Kenseth is -38 points behind.
3. Jimmie Johnson is just about out of this one for the Sprint Cup Championship despite the fact that I would have loved to see six straight NASCAR Sprint Cup Championships. Personally over the last few years, I’ve become a fan of Jimmie Johnson, he’s a talented driver and NOT vanilla (my yogurt is vanilla, not him.)
4. I have to give it to Kasey Kahne and his #4 guys, he is making the final days of Red Bull NASCAR racing team look good. Could it be that all that team needed was a veteran driver with a good crew chief combination to be successful? I truly believe so.
5. Despite all of the hype and even with Kyle Busch being parked, the AAA Texas 500 was boring as hell. Tip to ESPN, as a NASCAR fans and a racing fan, can you please show more than just the chase drivers and the ones racing upfront and go back in pack a little bit and show some racing back there. Same goes for the talk.
6. On the losing end, not much to say about Joe Gibbs Racing this weekend except for Denny Hamlin as he was the only driver to finish on the lead lap and in the 10th spot. Joey Logano had a bad day with a blown engine and Michael McDowell (who replaced Kyle Busch) in the #18, finished 33rd, 3 laps down. I do have to say one thing, while I’m NOT a fan of Kyle Busch and got what he deserved, I do fell for his #18 team, the crew chief, pit crew, and people back at the show that work on this car didn’t deserve what they got this weekend at all.
Now with two races to go in the Chase for the Championship, who will win next weekend at the newly repaved and redesigned Phoenix International Raceway? I would guess that Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Carl Edwards will be in the hunt as well as Jeff Gordon who won there in the spring.