Saturday, July 18, 2009

Rating the 400: 3 Stars ***

A picture perfect evening in the heartland brought along with it a nearly perfect race for Mark Martin as he won his fourth race of the year, putting him in position to possibly enter the Chase with the lead. However, all but about 30 laps or so of this race were like it was being run a California. Add to the mix the fact that NASCAR controlled that portion of the race with three debris cautions and it all adds up to a high 3 Star Rating. Thankfully that last segment was crazy.

Glad to see Martin hold on for the win here because he totally deserved to be in Victory Lane. That car was bad fast. There has not been a driver dominate a race like that since Jimmie Johnson did so last year in the fall race at California. Also, there were not many changes to the top of the field all night. The guys that were good at the start of the race were still the ones that were good once the sun went down as well.

Speaking of the sun; what a beautiful sunset Saturday night. That is possibly one of the best things that changing the race to night has done to the weekend. Having no buildings or trees next to the speedway allowed for a great view of an awesome sunset. Plus, the weather was just about perfect for this time of year. Then, after the sun went down, the action on the track heated up.

Now remember, all of these wrecks and hard racing at the end were set up by the three debris cautions earlier in the race. However, once they lined up double file, the fight was on. Hamlin and Vickers, Busch and Johnson, the battles went on and on. Also, coming through the frontstretch they were three and four wide on several of the final laps. The other thing that Chicago did was keep the points standings interesting. Now drivers 10th through 13th are separated by just 13 points with Greg Biffle sitting on the outside looking in.

After the race several drivers were complaining about the double file restarts. Larry Mac was not happy to hear that and said that it "Galls my butt" that the drivers are complaining. Monday Morning Crew Chief has to agree with him here. I thought the new restart rule was something that came out of that town hall meeting with drivers and owners a few weeks back. Now if that's the case, it would seem that the drivers thought it was a good idea to add this rule. Now, however, they are all complaining because it is ruining some of their nights. There seems to be a double standard here. But, drivers will always complain about something when it doesn't go their way. That's just drivers being drivers.

Overall it was not a bad night of racing to finish up the 2009 Summer Series. Now we've got a week off to gear up and head back to the Brickyard which should be much improved over what took place last year. Goodyear has worked their tails off getting ready for this race and hopefully it pays off for them.

Thanks to all who have been able to follow the Monday Morning Crew Chief ratings as they have found a new home for the rest of the 2009 season.


  1. Nice rating as always. Glad to see you have moved over to Blogspot.

    I remember how Jeff Burton thought the double-file restarts were going to be a good thing back at Pocono and now he hates them like a madman.

  2. gonger93 - Yeah, Burton has probably been the driver most negatively effected by the new restarts. Three or four times he has been caught up in a wreck already. Thanks!