Monday, August 24, 2009

Exciting Finish at Bristol!

Great finish at Bristol Saturday night. Classy racing between Mark Martin and Kyle Busch over those last 5 or 6 laps. Either one of them could have wrecked the other but they didn't. They were clearly the class of the field and showed it at the end. Nice finish for Dale Jr, 5th for the second week in a row.

Off to Richmond and Atlanta before the chase begins!

Monday, August 10, 2009

Marcos Ambrose wins Nationwide Race @ Watkins Glen Saturday, Finishes 2nd in Sprint Cup Monday

Marcos Ambrose won the Nationwide Race Saturday at Watkins Glen and then finished second today in the Sprint Cup race. Big weekend for him at The Glen. Carl Edwards was third, Biffle had a top five, as did Kyle Busch. Kyle was pretty grumpy after the race. More later.

Oh, Tony Stewart won the race, 3rd this year, extending his lead in the points. Great season for Tony and his team.

Thursday, August 6, 2009

NASCAR is Back at The Glen, Watkins Glen, That Is

NASCAR SPRINT Cup drivers and teams will be taking on the second and last road course of the season this weekend at my home track, Watkins Glen. I went to my first race at Watkins Glen when I was about 8 or 9 years old. My brother Bill and some of his friends took me along--they probably didn't have any choice--to watch sports cars, those funny little two seater European cars, and also the predecessors of Formula 1. Saw all the great road course drivers over the years, Sterling Moss, Graham Hill, Jackie Stewart, and so many more. Also saw all kinds of cars and motorcycles race there, FI, Can-Am, Trans-Am, and of course eventually the real race cars, NASCAR stock cars. Even saw some drag racing there in the 60's.

Then the track went quiet for around 10 years in the 70's and into the 80's. Corning Inc., formerly Corning Glass Works, bought the track in the early 80's to spur tourism to the area, in part to help soften the blow of decreased manufacturing employment in the Southern Tier/Finger Lakes Region of New York. NASCAR was a major part in the resurgence of The Glen. NASCAR was getting hot, thanks to ESPN TV coverage, and The Glen benefited from the resurgence.

I attended the first three or four NASCAR races at the Glen, before the little chicane was put in on the backstretch to slow the cars down before the tough downhill 180 degree turn at the end of the very long straightaway where speeds were reaching 175 or so mph. Geoff Bodine took a wild ride in the grass into the tire piles, one of the worse crashes he ever had. And I was there in 1991 when J.D. McDuffie died after he lost control at the end of the backstretch. I will never forget seeing his car come back on the wrecker all covered with a tarp. We knew he had died when we saw the car all covered up. Tragic. But of course, the race went on! And, many safety improvements were added, most notably the "kitty-litter" gravel areas to catch and slow cars when they go off the track to keep them from hitting the retaining walls at great speed.

The double-file restarts will be fun to watch. Turn 1 is one of the most exciting turns in racing, as far as I'm concerned, all about going as fast as you can down the front straight and then out-braking your opponent to get the preferred line through the corner. Lead going out of turn one and you will probably lead the rest of the way around.

Hopefully the weather will be beautiful in the Finger Lakes this weekend. If you never been to that part of New York State, you should go, and short of that, enjoy the views of the area you will see on TV during the race. The Glen is a special track, one of the most historic in the U.S. Enjoy!


Monday, August 3, 2009

Denny Hamlin Wins Pocono

Okay Tom, this for you, since you may be the only person reading this. I picked Hamlin on Saturday, didn't I? Just had a feeling he could pull it off since he won twice in one season two years ago. He was a man on a mission today. I listened to most of the race on the radio while at work. Sounded like a pretty exciting race for a Pocono. And what about Jimmy Johnson and his team! Came back from being three laps down to finishing 13th.

Speaking of listening to the race on the radio, was actually pretty cool. For those of you who haven't listened to races on the radio, it is pretty exciting. MRN does a great job covering races. What is really entertaining is that there are reporters in each corner and they tell you what is going in every lap all the way around the track. Makes you be able to "see" what is going on. Pretty exciting.

Watching Victory Lane on Speed. Great show to see the whole race in an hour with commentary. Lot's of rough driving there today. Looks like maybe Denny should have been penalized a lap for pushing David Reutimann out of the way. Robbie Gordon and David Stremme were held for five laps for rough driving. Tough penalty but well reserved.

Off to my home track, the road course at Watkins Glen next weekend.