Sunday, April 07, 2013

Martinsville Pick Six

The 2013 Virginia 500 has come and gone and six items are worth analyzing -

The "fall off" tire didn't make the racing better - much was made of Goodyear's tire that was meant to produce greater wear and thus "fall off" more. The argument was it would produce better racing and put it back into the drivers hands. Neither happened in the Cup race. Jimmie Johnson led 346 laps and was almost never challenged, even on late restarts. Drivers were talking about "You can't abuse the tires." It showed; they didn't try to abuse the tires and thus they didn't race particularly hard. Even with that Chad Knaus was still arguing for more abrasive tires claiming tracks with less tire wear "the racing is not as good, because the line selection is minimized."

It's also not much of an endorsement of the Generation Six racecar after some encouraging signs the previous three races.

Danica Patrick actually raced well - and yet it is damning of the quality of the racing that she was basically the only interesting competitive angle all day. Finishing 12th was shocking - by her own admission - and it was the only area all day where anything interesting was happening. Her Stewart-Haas teammates certainly didn't do anything all race; Ryan Newman in particular was embarrassing when he stopped to bring out a yellow and got a three-lap penalty as a result..

Joey Logano, no-show - He got into a scrape during practice and another during the race, but other than that NASCAR's newest "star" was MIA.

Yet another sign Kevin Harvick will drive for Stewart-Haas Racing - after Brian Vickers played bumper tag with Danica Patrick at the finish, Harvick spun him out. Patrick is presumably Harvick's teammate in 2014.

RCR is in serious trouble - 8th, 14th, and 24th in standings isn't particularly encouraging - of the organization's combined five top ten finishes three are the result of Paul Menard, who is assured of a fast fall from contention as the season goes on.   Keep an eye on the rumored switch to Dodge in 2014 for RCR and potentially two other teams, because it's obvious Chevrolet isn't keeping RCR in the fold.  

Which "name" driver will get the in-season axe first? - I'm going to guess Juan Montoya doesn't finish the season with the woeful Ganassi/Earnhardt squad. Clearly overrated when he signed with Ganassi's Dodge fleet in 2007, it's amazing he won two races, and despite a paucity of results - 51 top tens isn't bad but for the talent he ostensibly has it's pretty thin gruel - he's won $33 million in NASCAR.

And so with Martinsville out of the way the Cup series heads to Texas.   

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