First of all, congratulations to Kurt Busch for winning a rain shortened New Hampshire race. A win is a win, and great strategy by his crew chief once again puts a driver in a position for a win. Although I'm not exactly a fan of Kurt's, if any Busch brother is going to win, I'd much rather see the older and more mature Kurt be the one to do it.
In the closing caution laps of the race yesterday, we saw the younger Busch and Juan Pablo Montoya get into a tiff. It appeared that Senor Montoya was expressing his displeasure about something he felt that the younger Busch had done to him earlier in the race, and spun the 18 car under caution. Nascar expressed their displeasure of the incident by penalizing Senor Montoya 2 laps. While I'm not exactly a fan of either driver, and I'm sorry to say to Senor that spinning another car under caution is not how we generally do things here in Nascar, I wish I could have seen all the events that lead to this action in their entirety. I feel that it's possible that Montoya's anger possibly could be justified.
A late caution came out when the 88 car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. was spun while attempting to enter the pits. He was hit rather hard from behind by the 26 car of Jamie McMurray. I still don't know if this was a sudden decision to pit by Dale Jr., because it appeared that he came down rather suddenly from the middle of the track coming out of turns 3 and 4, and McMurray claimed that he just didn't see the 88 car. I feel inclined to believe Jamie's claim, because the hit totally knocked his 26 car out of the race, which was obviously not in his best interests. I have seen no interviews with Dale Jr. to determine exactly what happened in his opinion, but the incident meant that the 88 was reduced from being and obvious top 10 car to a 24th place finish. Earnhardt Jr. did lead laps early in the race, and appeared to have a dominant car before handling problems and a couple of slow pit stops put them back in the field a bit.
Tony Stewart had a very dominant car later in the race, but the series of cautions and fuel stops put him out of contention to win, with the rain coming ever closer.
Speaking of Tony Stewart, it was announced last week that Casey Mears and Hendrick Motorsports will part ways after the 2008 season, sparking rumors that Tony might possibly be in the 5 car next year. It's an interesting rumor, and we will just have to wait and see on that one. Tony is arguably the biggest mover to be rumored to be changing rides this year, and a few weeks ago, was talking that he would like to explore ownership options as well as driving for Chevrolet again. I could see Tony driving the 5 for Hendrick, and possibly still buying into Gene Haas' 66 and 70 teams. Stranger things have happened.
I guess I feel worse for Casey Mears than anyone else that's being talked about switching rides. He is doing so involuntarily, and that's never the way a driver wants to leave his ride. I think there might be some excellent opportunities out there for Casey though. He did win at Charlotte last year, and I imagine a lot of teams would like to get their hands on a Sprint Cup winning driver. I wish Casey very much luck, where ever he goes.
This week it's back to restrictor plates and Daytona. This has long been one of my favorite races of the year, because there's just something about Daytona under the lights.
More about Daytona later this week!