Sunday, April 1, 2012

Rating the Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500: 4 Stars ****

Several drivers walked out of Martinsville Speedway in need of some Goody’s pain relief Sunday in a finish that was as wild as a finish at a restrictor-plate race. However, much of the rest of the race was dominated by a few usual suspects. The second short track race of the season gets a 4 Star Rating.

Martinsville produces racing that Bristol Motor Speedway would love to have back. The only way to make a pass is on the low side and usually that requires bumping the car in front out of the way. Sunday’s race had a lot of green-flag racing, but it also had upset drivers at the end.

The point is that short tracks can have it both ways. Bristol doesn’t have to immediately turn into a wreckfest if track owner Bruton Smith makes some changes to the track, but it could turn the track back to a fast-paced version of Martinsville.

Interestingly, the race at Martinsville would’ve had just five cautions and no major wrecks if David Reutimann hadn’t stopped to bring out a caution with four laps to go. That’s the same as the race at Bristol two weeks ago. That’s not to say one style of racing is better than another, but it does show that a one-groove track can have long stretches of green-flag racing.

Anyway, on to Sunday’s race where Ryan Newman shockingly found himself in Victory Lane. Hendrick Motorsports drivers Jeff Gordon Jimmie Johnson dominated nearly the entire race. Gordon led 328 laps, Johnson led 112 and both were involved in a great battle for the lead at the end before the green-white-checkered restarts.

So, Newman got a pretty large gift Sunday, along with drivers such as A.J. Allmendinger and Martin Truex Jr. All of those drivers ran most of the day between 10th and 15th, but they avoided the big pileup on the first green-white-checkered and came home with top-five finishes.

Many of the Hendrick haters will be thrilled with Sunday’s finish because Gordon and Johnson wrecked at the end and gave the win to somebody different. But, in fairness, this race did not end the way it was supposed to. Thankfully, it was due to a problem with another car and not because NASCAR wanted to spice up the finish of the race.

Up next is the first off week of the season for the Sprint Cup Series. A change in the schedule this year eliminated the early off week. Overall, the break comes at a good time. It actually feels like we have a significant portion of the season behind us, and now everybody can gear up for the next long stretch of races that will take us into July if the All-Star weekend in May at Charlotte Motor Speedway is considered a race weekend.

After the break the series will visit a couple of mile-and-a-half tracks with Texas Motor Speedway and Kansas Speedway. If we don’t have a good idea of who the real contenders will be this season, those two weeks will go a long way toward helping answer those questions.

Have a blessed Easter, everybody.

1 comment:

  1. I guess it's just the way it is anymore in NASCAR... The Chase has bred points racing and it doesn't seem to matter what the venue is now. I look forward to the short tracks and road courses, and, to a lesser extent, Daytona and Talladega. Apparently the drivers of today are content to stay "safe".

    It's a shame to have this type of racing and mark my words... The TV ratings are going to spiral downward as a result, sponsors will go away and the powers that be at NASCAR will wonder why.