Tuesday, August 10, 2010

Rating the Heluva Good! Sour Cream Dips at the Glen: 2 Stars **

After the long trek that was the race at Pocono a week ago, the race at the Glen Sunday finished in nearly half the time. But, half the time did not mean twice the excitement; the top six finishers were in the top six nearly all 90 laps. The final road course race of the season gets a 2 Star Rating.

On a positive note, Juan Pablo Montoya’s victory was huge for himself and the entire #42 team, including his crew chief, Brian Pattie. The season has been a struggle for this team, and lately it seemed every call Pattie made turned out in a negative fashion. Sometimes the world seems lined up against someone, and Pattie has been fighting it for the past month or so.

However, this week everything came out perfectly for Pattie and the #42 team. Plus, Chip Ganassi’s magical year continues as he adds not only another win in 2010, but he also became the first car owner in NASCAR to have each of his teams win a race this season. This marks the first time an owner has accomplished such a feat since Roger Penske, of all people, did it with Ryan Newman and Kurt Busch in 2008. No matter where the #42 and #1 end up in the final standings, this has been a special season for the Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing organization.

As for the race itself, the battle between Montoya and Marcos Ambrose early in the race was as good as it gets on a road course. Two of the best road course drivers in NASCAR were going at it as hard as possible. For Ambrose, although he didn’t win, this was still a very successful weekend. A win in the Nationwide race and third in the Cup race is something many drivers would consider a dream weekend. And, if Ambrose does stay in NASCAR and makes a move to the #9 car, he is still going to have an excellent chance to win races in his career.

The theme of the 2010 season has been drivers’ battles on the track that lead to heated moments off of it. This week Boris Said and Tony Stewart, along with Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch, came home with different views of how the race went Sunday. Said and Stewart locked horns coming out of Turn 1, and Stewart spun Said into the fence. Later in the race, Busch and Burton, now in their third spat this season, collided as Busch tried to push the issue out of Turn 6, nudged Burton into Jimmie Johnson and spun the #48 out.

Overall, the racing for much of this season has been better than in past years, and now we have a battle for the final spot in the Chase on our hands. Mark Martin and Clint Bowyer are now separated by only 10 points with four races until the cutoff. It never fails. If NASCAR set the limit at 25 drivers in the Chase, the battle for that 25th spot would be as tight as any throughout the standings.

Next week things straighten out as the series moves to Michigan. Expect plenty of green-flag racing with a possibility of a fuel-mileage finish. There haven’t been many fuel-mileage races this season with all of the late cautions. That just means we’re due for one right about now, and Michigan seems to be the last realistic chance of such a finish before the Chase begins.


  1. I've got a beef with the coverage - Marcos and Juan were not the only two up front all day. Kurt was never lower than 3rd and never got any love from the announcers - ah hello??

    2 stars for the racing action but 5 stars for the quick race! Although if I were there I'd want it to last a bit longer...

  2. Seems like all the new asphalt 'run off' areas (instead of gravel traps) have prevented a bunch of caution laps at the Glen now.

  3. Okay jmayer... 2 stars...

    But I still like the change of format.

    Maybe someone needs to build a road course with 25 degree banked turns going left then right and a thirty yard wide track! Have two mile long straightaways side by side with a flat hairpin turn and grandstands on both sides! Now we're talkin'! LOL

    BTW, you see where Kasey Kahne may sign with Red Bull for a season? Maybe Marcos will lite in the number 9 with RPM! I think Budweiser's going a different direction too. King Richard should get on the phone to Foster's Beer a natural for Ambrose!

    On to Michigan where Cousin Carl wins?

  4. The battle between Juan and Marcos was one of the best duels seen this season...pity it couldn't last the whole race, ahh well.

    I think I'm in the minority for this; didn't like all the extra paving they did. No punishment at all for running off the track doesn't sit well with me, lol

  5. The Glen doesn't hold a candle to Infineon. Then again, I AM biased towards Infineon. As far as race coverage, to put it bluntly, ESPN SUCKS!

    Re Michigan: as much as I don't want to see it happen, I think it's Carl Edwards' time to win. The track is well suited for him. And by my elementary calculations, Kevin Harvick has to finish 21st or better to clinch a Chase spot.

  6. klvalus - ESPN tends to seek out a storyline early in the race and then stick to it like glue the rest of the way no matter what happens. Must be a philosophy they have, but come on, adapt to what's happening once in a while.

    Gene - The safety improvements were much needed so overall it was a good move. However, now the Glen is a lot like Pocono, Michigan and several of the tracks on this part of the schedule. Big and wide where they get strung out for a large portion of the race.

    Dwindy1 - That would be the most exciting race on the schedule, no doubt lol. Looks like probably Bud will go to Harvick. Love the idea of Foster's to the #9 with Ambrose!

    tezgm99 - Those eight laps were as good as it gets with two road race professionals. Maybe if Ambrose had not charged so hard at that time there may have been a similar battle at the end. Montoya just had an awfully good car this week.

    jon_464 - I tend to agree, I like the technical aspects of Infineon and it seems like that race is more of a wildcard than the Glen. And how about that math? Impressive!