Wednesday, March 30, 2011

About time to heat up ‘Have at it’

As Kevin Harvick bumped five-time champion Jimmie Johnson down the backstretch on the final lap of Sunday’s race, many people expected some sort of reaction from Johnson because even though he is mellow, he doesn’t get beat that way very often.

“I hate losing to (Harvick) coming off of (Turn) 4 like that, but we did everything we could today,” Johnson said after the race. “We had a great race, made our car a lot better all day long so I’m really proud about that.”

Oh boy. How about that fire? Now, I’m not here to rag on Johnson for not going all Kyle Busch on Harvick after the race, but it speaks to the fact that while the racing has been intense, the drivers have stepped out of their cars and played nice off the racetrack thus far.

I’m not saying this a good thing or a bad thing. The focus should be on the on-track action and not whatever is said during the week or after the race, but after last season, many people expected the drivers to come out of the gate swinging.

At this point last season, Carl Edwards and Brad Keselowski had just finished making up after Edwards flipped Keselowski at Atlanta.

It’s not as though there haven’t been opportunities for confrontations after a race. After the Phoenix race where Gordon used the slam-and-run, Busch could’ve reacted the way Gordon did at Martinsville one year ago when he made sure Matt Kenseth wouldn’t win the race after Kenseth had slipped by him on the final restart.

Instead, Busch was very contrite and apologized for putting Edwards in the wall early in the race, which brings up the other possible feud. Edwards said he would return the favor to Busch in the future, and while he has not backed down from that statement, the two have since played nice, both in the Cup and Nationwide series.

Now, for those who live for postrace soundbites, shouting matches and the occasional fight, that could very well happen as the season progresses. Several drivers have announced they have some payback after Phoenix and Bristol.

It would be unfair to say the racing has been tame this season, because there has been hard, close racing in several of the races, even some late in the race at California.

However, as the weather heats up, so may the tempers, and we’re headed to the perfect place for that — Martinsville.


  1. It should be interesting to see if the boys will have at it on the tightest track in NASCAR, or if the watered down points racing will continue.

  2. Gene - I'm hoping this new points system isn't going to turn into the same thing as the Chase. I'm afraid we may be seeing teams react to how severe the punishment is for a bad finish.