by Clance' McClannahan, Special To NASCAR commentary and driver pictures, 2012 NASCAR schedule, video, Bench Racing With Steve and CharlieFebruary 27, 2010 12:04 am UTC 1 Comment
How much does luck really have to play in NASCAR? Auto Club Speedway was a perfect example of both good luck, bad luck, skill and strategy.
Race Day at ACS started out cloudy, with the threat of rain looming overhead in in the future. Lovely Katharine McPhee, Season 5 American Idol runner-up, performed the National Anthem, after stating “I’ve never watched a NASCAR game before.” Personally, I am really glad she said that prior to the first inning, or it might have been embarrassing for her later.
Andy Garcia was able to give the command. “ Gentlemen, start your engines!” and still be politically correct.
Pole sitter Jamie Mac led the race for about 5 seconds, and then Juan Pablo Montoya politely said “Excuse me?”, and took the lead. If you would reach far back into your memory…(I mean, it’s a stretch for me), you will remember that JPM led 60 laps at ACS in October, and in one truly horrendous moment, lost that race. Juan Pablo Montoya meant serious business and opened up a lead of more than 3 seconds by Lap 12. By Lap 29, Jimmie Johnson’s good luck began to show, and the 42 car’s not so good 30th lap, gave him a brush with the wall. Soon after…it was Good vs. Bad for JPM, Kasey Kahne and a few others. Namely Dale (**NOTE to Jr. Nation: Dale doesn’t want to be called Jr. or June Bug, anymore).
In the meantime, a war was beginning to rage. Kevin Harvick and Jimmie Johnson had begun the battle that would continue throughout the race, which culminated in one of the finest moments in NASCAR History.
Lap 97 began to get a little more interesting. Now we will get into the good luck, bad luck, strategy (?) syndrome that happenedthat day.
Martin Truex Jr. loses power. Later, Martin Truex Jr’s engine blows.
JPM begins to battle with Jeff Gordon for 5th position. Harvick and Johnson continue to dance the Flamenco (to impress Juan Pablo Montoya) for 1st and 2nd, not being able to decide who would lead and who would follow.
In one of the most endearing and heart breaking moments of the race, Kasey Kahne, being conscientious of the bleak economy, decided he would help out some poor souls, who needed to make some money to feed their kids, by making sure they had jobs replacing the sod he tore up.
Ryan Newman’s engine blew up. DNF. Again. JPM, looking very competitive, was out of contention once again, after a great 140 laps. It also, was due to another kaboom of a large quantity of moving parts, critical to the car continuing to run..
Kevin Harvick discovered that one of Jamie Mac’s pit crew has a part time job with Cirque du Soleil. Scary.
Then there was Dale Earnhardt Jr. It seems like the last few years, if it’s going to happen to someone it will be Dale Jr. Personally, I don’t think he has any better or worse luck than many driver’s. I think his worst luck is the scrutiny he is constantly under. Much more than other driver’s. Broken Axle. Axle Broken. Race over for the 88.
Jimmie Johnson seemed to be going backwards for a small moment in time. Then… From out of the blue…comes JJ again. Jamie Mac, startled, said “”How can he be leading? “He was on pit road, wasn’t he?!!”
Why yes, he was. Double J won. 48/48.
Luck? Strategy? All of the above?
Kevin Harvick , at the end of the race, summed it all up, in one sentence. Possibly one of the finest quotes in NASCAR History. I am honored to have been able to do small tribute to that little quip at The Church.
“They have a golden horseshoe stuck up their ass.”
…And that, Dear Fans, was the finest finish to a race I have seen since the Daytona 500.
*What wondrous events shall LVMS bring us this weekend? Aw…the suspense is killing me!