Monday, June 29, 2009

A Brand New Winner, and Other Thoughts

Rookie Joey Logano won the Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire International Speedway on Sunday, making him not only the first rookie to win a Sprint Cup race in quite a while, but also the youngest ever driver to win at the very highest level in Nascar.

As many races turn out to be, Joey wasn't in the fastest car on the track. He happened to be in the right place at the right time, and that's all that counts.

Logano was down a lap earlier in the rain shortened race, but managed to get his lap back and was sitting in the cat bird's seat when Ryan Newman ran out of gas just as the rain began to fall at Loudon, New Hampshire, which meant Ryan had to pit, which gave Joey the lead.

As I've always said, a win is a win, and my congratulations go out to Joey Logano and the 20 Home Depot team. Special congratulations go out to veteran crew chief Greg Zipadelli, who had the foresight to keep his young driver in the perfect position, at the perfect time, to win his very first Sprint Cup race.

New Hampshire on Sunday, had what mostly only happens at Daytona and Talladega: The Big ONE. On a restart, under the new double file restart rules, Dale Earnhardt Jr. was starting on the inside line, and spun his tires when the green flag came out. The car immediately behind him, Jr.'s buddy Martin Truex Jr. had to check up. The car behind Truex was Wild Thing himself, Kyle Busch. Instead of trying to check up himself, or wait until they passed the start finish line to pass the cars low, Kyle decided to try to make a hole in the middle. That didn't work, and Kyle spun Truex out, and then all heck took place.

A lot of cars were taken out in that fiasco, including some good ones, such as Martin Truex's 1 TomTom car. Kyle Busch later apologized for doing what Truex felt was a rather stupid move, echoed by Toyota driver Brian Vickers, according to post accident interviews.

The fact that Kyle Busch is even apologizing surprises me. I thought aggressive driving and never taking the blame for wrecks was his game. Is Kyle losing his touch?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished 13th, but the same conditions that proved to be the winning move for Logano found Dale Jr., a top 10 or even top 5 car all day, back in a top 15 finish when the rains came. Had the rain stayed away for a few more laps, it's more than likely that Dale Jr. would have a solid top 10.

Had the rains held off a few more laps, Jeff Gordon would have had the win, because Logano was short on fuel at the moment that Nascar threw the caution and ultimately the red flag.

Were it not for a lost lug nut on the previous pit stop, Tony Stewart would likely have won under the same conditions that Gordon faced. Stewart proved to be very fast, and hard to pass when they had the car dialed in.

Would have, could have, should have, it doesn't matter at all now. Joey Logano is the man of the week, and deserves that recognition. Sincere congratulations to Joey on his first Cup win.

I imagine Joey Logano will be buying Greg Zipadelli a very nice lunch or two this week though.

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