Sunday, April 29, 2012

Rating the Capital City 400: 2 Stars **

After several races full of long green-flag runs and few caution flags, people thought that all might change as the Sprint Cup Series visited Richmond International Raceway. Unfortunately, Saturday night’s race combined all that has been bad about the 2012 season and gets a 2 Star Rating.
Even though it’s a short track, Richmond produced similar racing as most of the other tracks outside Daytona this year. There were only five cautions throughout the race, and that’s including the bogus debris caution NASCAR threw with 12 laps remaining to spice up the finish.
None of those cautions were for a wreck besides Kurt Busch’s spin on lap 118, and he didn’t sustain any damage.
The complaints about no wrecks started to get louder and louder as each week passed, so NASCAR decided to throw the caution in hopes of an old-time throwdown.
Well, the only possible throwdowns at the end of the race would’ve been between drivers and NASCAR officials instead of drivers angry at each other.
Kyle Busch won the race, but Carl Edwards and Tony Stewart should have been the two drivers to battle for the win. Instead, NASCAR penalized Edwards for jumping the restart on lap 318 and the debris caution at the end killed Stewart’s chances when he came in to pit and Busch beat him out of the pits.
The rest of the race wasn’t terribly exciting, but other than the screaming people who lust for wrecks each week, this would’ve been a fairly typical race. Edwards likely would’ve driven off from the field and cruised to victory.
Edwards sure could have used the win, too. He remains ninth in the points standings after finishing 10th at Richmond. Still, his run Saturday night should build some confidence for the #99 team. They usually aren’t that great at short tracks, and his teammates have run extremely well on the intermediate tracks this year.
Talladega is always a crap shoot, but Edwards ran well at Darlington last year and will surely get a win or two at some point during the summer. Stewart and Edwards ran most of Saturday night’s race as if it was last year’s season finale at Homestead. Regardless of how they’ve run so far this season, both the #14 team and the #99 team are still two of the very best in the sport.
After all of the problems, perceived or real, with the racing during the past month or so, all of that will be forgotten as the series heads to one of the greatest racetracks in the world, Talladega Superspeedway.
Talladega race weekend is one of those on the schedule where it doesn’t matter how the racing has been or how your favorite driver has run so far this year. Everybody has a chance to do well at Talladega, and it is usually some of the most exciting racing of the season.
The only silver lining to the problems at Richmond is that it generated debates that will have people talking throughout the week. That will only continue after next week because there is always something that gets people fired up after a Talladega race.
Enjoy next weekend, folks, it is one of the special stops during the season.

1 comment:

  1. All you need to know about Nascar is explained by a picture of the stands.

    Richmond used to be packed, and now despite double file restarts, lucky dogs, and wave arounds, just look at the stands.