Tuesday, October 19, 2010

Rating the Bank of America 500: 3 Stars ***

More drivers fell out of championship contention Saturday night in Charlotte while a non-Chaser broke through for the first time in this year’s Chase. The final race before the megascreen at Charlotte gets a 3 Star Rating.

Jamie McMurray did it again, and the best season of his career continues. Thankfully, there are things outside of the Chase that still matter at this point in the season, and his win is one of them. He had a good car all evening and couldn’t even be slowed down by a late debris caution. It looked like his car was set up for the long run, but nobody at the front took tires and McMurray was able to hold on.

A line of Chasers followed McMurray to the checkered flag, and Jimmie Johnson extended his lead in the points standings. It’s often said a team shows they have championship potential when they make a good day out of a bad start, but they usually don’t come back from spinning out to finish third. Only the #48 can pull that off.

As I said last week, Johnson, Denny Hamlin and Kevin Harvick are the only drivers left who have a real chance of winning the title. However, Hamlin and Harvick look to be the strongest competition Johnson has had in several years. Usually he has one main challenger and someone else who hangs on for a while, but this time Hamlin and Harvick both look like they have staying power. Plus, good tracks lay ahead for both drivers.

Overall, Saturday’s race was OK. McMurray’s win will likely go down similar to David Reutimann’s victory at Chicago earlier this year. People were happy he won, but the race itself wasn’t terribly exciting. However, the second-place driver caught the leader several times throughout the night. They rarely made the pass, but back in the days of the wing nobody caught up to the leader.

With the Chase halfway complete, things move north to southern Virginia at Martinsville Speedway, the final short track race of the season. After a stretch of intermediate tracks, the two unknowns are next. The shortest track at Martinsville will give way to the longest one at Talladega. Both should be fun and have the potential for great races.


  1. I can tell you the strategy for many of the Chasers now depends on Dega - specifically JJ getting caught up in a big wreck early. Last time I checked trying to win a championship based solely on the bad luck of another was not a good strategy.

    Watching the difference between 48 and 2 teams was shocking - both spun about the same time yet JJ recovers no problem. He deserves #5 IMO

    3 stars - solid race with some excitement of Chasers having problems but not the right Chaser....

  2. Definitely 3 star worthy. The best night race at CMS in at least 5 years.

    Talladega will tell the tale. Harvick has been the man at the plate races this year. So, he'll lock up 2nd place in the points.

  3. klvalus - Good point, but that's what his dominance has caused. Why stop at five? lol It feels like he could win seven in a row. Although I'm sure the championship format would change before that happened.

    Gene - It does seem that the Charlotte fall race often gets forgotten amongst the Chase and all. For all those who hate the restrictor-plate tracks, the race at Talladega is the last hope for many of those same people who hate Jimmie Johnson.

  4. jmayer...

    I liked the first part of the race. Always a pleasure to see the 48 go sideways, blow it's tires and limp into the pits... Then the wheels came off almost everyone else's dreams... Whoopie?

    I've got a good feeling about Martinsville! LOL

    Yeah... 3 stars for the early upper.

  5. Dwindy1 - A good feeling in what way? When Johnson spun there were a few opportunities during that spin that could have bitten that group. First, he could've actually hit something. Second, the tires spun backwards for just a second and I thought he may have damaged the engine, but of course that #48 engine is indestructible. lol

  6. jmayer...

    Seems to me the short tracks offer a lot of opportunities the intermediate and long tracks just don't have... What kind of opportunities? Just wait and see!