Monday, July 02, 2007

Plenty Of Subplots At New Hampshire

The New England 300 came and saw a surprisingly good finish, and with it we saw quite a few subplots, some of which may carry over to subsequent races. Among the subplots from this Loudon outing -

*** Some more cheating going on? Kyle Busch and Johnny Sauter measured too low, the situation that cost Brian Vickers a starting spot on Friday. The cars in question were impounded to be examined at NASCAR's R&D center, and one can hold reasonable expectation of a fine.

*** The loosening of DEI. Dale Junior's announcement a few weeks back appears to have looened up everyone at DEI, and the organization has suddenly run more crisply. This race for much of the day was a DEI clinic as the two Juniors, Earnhardt and Truex, led 110 laps total but had nothing for Denny Hamlin at the end.

*** JGR gets off the skids. Though Tony Stewart didn't have a great finish and J.J. Yeley continues to stumble with mediocre runs, Denny Hamlin put the organization back into victory with their two-tire stop in the final 50 laps. Given how strong the JGR effort had been in the COT races, it's a bit surprising that it took this long to win one.

*** Ganassi/SABCO Racing versus Bobby Labonte - Labonte and Juan Montoya ran in close proximity late in final practice and traded a couple of passes. By race standards it wasn't anything noteworthy, but it seemed curiously heated for a practice session. It turned out ot be a harbinger, as Labonte and Montoya wound up in close proximity at points during the race's second half and Ganassi teammate David Stremme got into the mix on a late wreck with Labonte. From that spin the normally-smooth Labonte was smoking his brakes at times clawing past other cars, and he finished off his race by gunning past Montoya for 18th.

*** Robby Gordon snakebit again - "The alternator got us," he said afterward. The alternator shut off around Lap 180 - and begs a question I've long had; what are teams doing that so frequently kills the alternators they run? That he limped home 17th was noteworthy bceause he ran better than that most of the day.

*** The COT, always the COT - "I'd like to know who it was that said this car would reduce the aeropush," Jeff Gordon said afterward, "because I could have told you from the first time I drove this car that it would make the aeropush worse." Matt Kenseth added, "it's probably more about track position with these cars than with the old ones....the fastest car didn't win. The guy who got two tires got out front and won..."

*** Ray Who? - Ray Evernham entered three cars in this race; two made the race and neither made any noise. Kasey Kahne drifted backward to 25th and Elliott Sadler did even worse.

*** Pit penalties - Ricky Rudd and Greg Biffle each got busted for speeding twice. It wasx a strange day for pit penalties.

In all it added to another subplot-filled race leading to one bound to have even more subplots as the Cup guys hit Daytona again.

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