Note: This was originally posted on April 5, 2007.
I'm beginning to think that Rick Hendrick Racing had a bit of an advantage on the Car Of Tomorrow.
With back to back wins at Bristol and Martinsville, it's not hard to think that. I don't want to start conspiracy theories or anything, but what does Hendrick have on the rest of the field? A distinct advantage, I think.
Although Kyle Busch said the COT "sucks", you can't argue with success. I can't imagine winning a race and saying that my car sucked. If I won any race at all, I'd say that the Pennziolhappycamperhootersdaimlerchryslerfordchevrolettoyotafoodcitywinn-dixie Hyundai was a great car today, and I thank my sponsors for my wonderful victory, and please understand that I am a mere driver, but the engineers made this fantastic victory possible. I'd be so excited that I'd grow hair on my chin.
Martinsville was a great race for 2 reasons. 1st of all, the finish was great. 2nd of all, the great finish could have been avoided entirely.
On lap 358 Dale Earnhardt Jr. had by far the best car. He led so many laps, and stretched it out, it looked possible that he might indeed lap the field. It would have been good if he had. But, then, the rains came. Many people thought it was an instant victory for Dale Jr. That was not to be.
On Lap 10,000 or what seemed to be, the 48 and the 24 raced side by side, and beating and banging, finally finished a race that had been on tv for what seemed like 40 hours. What seemed like 20 straight hours of listening to DW and Larry McReynolds kiss the collective posteriors of the two top Hendrick drivers so much that I had to finally turn off the tv. Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon could not have had two more enthusiastic fans than DW and Larry Mac. Fox Sports denies this, of course, but I was watching, and it was a bit sickening. Finally, after what seemed like 40,000 laps, Jimmie Johnson won a close one by beating Jeff Gordon to the line. I was relieved. I'd been watching TV for about 12 hours, with all the pre-race coverage. Jimmie was a little downbeat, saying, in essence, that he hated to beat his team mate that way. Jeff was very downbeat, saying that he hated getting beat that way.
My opinion? A win is a win. Team or no team, you still have to win the race, and for that I congratulate Jimmie Johnson. He did what he had to do. Jeff's predictably whiny behavior was, well, predictable.
Dale Jr. finished 5th, and got hammered in most of the media for not winning. What they fail to see is a driver that has recovered from 2 DNF's to being a contender to win every race.