Sorry if this is disjointed, I'm mostly going to ramble here! Just be forewarned!
This was probably one of the most exciting races I've seen in the past few weeks. Congratulations to Jimmie Johnson and the entire 48 team for another win at a track that has very special meaning to all the Hendrick folks. Jimmie held off a late charge by Ryan Newman and his teammate Jeff Gordon to win a caution filled race. My man Dale Jr. was 4th with a few laps to go, but the late cautions kept him from gaining on the guys in front of him, and then the engine finally went away, relegating him to a very disappointing 23rd place finish. The guys on the 8 team really hustled today though, and gained him positions in the pits several times. Tony Gibson and the team, and certainly Dale Jr. can't help the engine failures, especially at the track. Yet another in the apparently unending saga of engine gremlins that has hurt the Bud crew so many times this year.
Was it just me, or did Martin Truex Jr. seem to be involved in at least half of the cautions today? If so, I can't blame him, his shot at the championship is diminishing week by week, and he's driving more aggressively than I've ever seen him. Dale Jr.'s engine problems yet again this week have to have him worried about not only the rest of this year, but next year as well. As a matter of fact, all the Childress drivers have to be worried as well. Fortunately for all of them, there was apparently only 1 engine failure this week out of the combined DEI and Childress shops.
During the races, I read several message boards, just to see what people are saying about the race more or less in real time. Emotion is a huge part of the sport of Nascar, and heat of the moment posts are very telling during the race. On one board, which will remain nameless, most of the posters were more concerned about Dale Jr.'s rough driving, than they were with the progress of their own driver for much of the race. Obviously, this was not a Dale Jr. message board, but I saw posts calling for Jr. to be immediately parked by Nascar, to be suspended for the rest of the season, etc. I know some of these posters are relatively new to Nascar, but for goodness' sake, learn a little about the sport before you start posting garbage like that! This is MARTINSVILLE, for Christ's sake! Bumping and banging have been going on at this track for 60 YEARS now! Dale Jr. was on the receiving end of the taps and bumps at least as much as he was on the giving end. I didn't see much posted about Tony Stewart, but he basically used brute force to get through the field. I don't have a problem with it. It's short track racing, folks, and as Carl Edwards said earlier on MRN, that's why they wear helmets in this sport. It's a contact sport, much like football, except they're wearing sheet metal instead of shoulder pads.
I truly wish there were more tracks like Martinsville. The racing just doesn't get much better than it did today, at least in my humble opinion. My guy didn't finish too great, but he did finish, and he led laps and was driving away from the field. That was worth seeing, no matter what.