Race React: I Love This Track!

by Jim on September 7, 2013 · 9 comments

That was the thinking throughout much of this evening during theRIR 3 race at Richmond. Occasionally it does, but the racing at Richmond International Raceway rarely disappointments. The just-concluded race- all the batty theories aside- is a prime example.

The Hollywood script would have had Jeff Gordon winning the race from the pole, a grizzled (he’s getting old enough to be called that) legend making it in on a last chance. It’s safe to say at a race track like this- .75 mile in length- that would be no foregone conclusion, and it was not. After breezing along throughout the race’s early stages, Gordon would become one of many who led the race; in his case, up front, falling back, and racing towards the front again. He’s right; it’s been just that kind of season for the ‘24’ team.

racing at RIR 1For me, I’m Goldilocks on this track: some are too short (producing more wrecking than desirable), some are too long (I’m not sure I’d be one missing the plate tracks if they went away), but Richmond is just right.

That’s the positive I’m taking away, as this thought will give way to discussions that will have cries of skullduggery, a lack of enforcement of rules on re-starts, and all manner of unhappiness that the ten race chase is now here.

It’s shame, because there was excitement in this race fromEdwards celebrates beginning to end. Gordon, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Newman all looked like they had shots at winning. Kevin Harvick made a spirited run. Jack Roush’s top two drivers had the kind of night that gives them a lift heading down the homestretch. Jimmie Johnson’s team is no longer a stone cold lock for their sixth title, blowing a hole in another of a long list of conspiracy theories that can’t, and will never be proven.

racing at RIR 2For those of us who believe there should be more short tracks in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, this race is Exhibit “A.” All the other silliness will overshadow what was a good night of racing, but this race had all the elements this fan looks for.

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1 Twostepn September 8, 2013 at 4:06 am

Well Jim, think I have to agree with ya just about 99.9% on it being a good race. But the fun part is just fixin’ to start.
They is gonna be boat loads of “why come’s” and “what iffen’s” in the next few days. I already heard a bunch of “I’ll never watch a’nudder one again!!”
Just my 2 cents worth while sittin’ on the porch drinkin’ coffee and watchin’ the new day start.

2 Vicki September 8, 2013 at 5:30 am

Enjoyed the race although it didn’t especially go my way results-wise. Was happy to see Kurt make it in. He earned that berth in the Chase for sure. Nice underdog story.

I wish NASCAR would get their act together on re-starts and just go to a “anything goes when the green flag falls” rule and let it go at that instead of the “strikes and balls” calls.

It is going to be a rough next ten races for Clint Bowyer if the SHR bunch are convinced he “threw” the race. I don’t know if they’ll wreck him but they sure won’t pitch him any breaks.

3 Josie September 8, 2013 at 6:30 am

I’m sorry Jim,..I am having a very hard time getting past the Bowyer spin “heard round the world”! The radio talk was quite damning…let’s all be real here… “Is your arm hurting? Itch it!” Come on folks! I like Bowyer.. But this is a time NASCAR needs to make a call…and do what’s right…the restart with Menard and Edwards was a so so call..a redo may have solved that issue..but the Bowyer spin..sorry..Nascar has lost their collective minds.. (I will say I was disappointed with Newman throwing his pit crew under the bus..he had 25 previous races to make up the list pint he needed to break the tie..alittle sour grapes and post race disappointment I guess.)

4 Josie September 8, 2013 at 6:33 am

Lost point not “list pint” although I’m sure Newman would’ve liked a pint of some hard stuff after Richmond!

5 Jim September 8, 2013 at 8:08 am

@Twostepn’- What do yo think the odds are they’ll still be watching anyway? I’ve heard & seen similar comments, and I doubt it ever happens. Seems like I’ve heard (and said) similar comments while waking up with a nasty hangover on Saturday and Sunday mornings before. Back in the day, of course. :)

6 Jim September 8, 2013 at 8:09 am

@Vicki- My greater problem among the two controversies is with the re-start. I think they should handle sketchy re-starts, by giving the drivers one more chance to get it right, and then penalize the offending driver if it happens again.

7 Jim September 8, 2013 at 8:13 am

@Josie- You can’t prove that; I’m not picking on you, I’d say that to anybody. That’s not to say it didn’t happen. I don’t care for the way Newman talked about his pit crew, but he has it right, if you take care of yourself, you take matters into your hands. For every bad call, there’s a failed play. If it makes you feel any better, Bowyer and Truex will be non-factors in the Chase, same as Gordon and Newman if they had made it.

8 Josie September 8, 2013 at 9:01 am

Well you know Jim…there’s right and then there’s wrong..and you can spin it anyway you chose..but that was just wrong! I will say one thing…I’ve watched Indy racing for years…they make calls..some of them they seem to get wrong…but they make them and they don’t care if its against a big team or a backmarker…Nascar seems afraid to open their mouths…with the radio chatter and Waltrip congrats to Bowyer being a “good team mate” after the race …MWR would not make good defendants in a court of law! I am so so looking forward to some heavy payback..after all Newman and Gordon have nothing to lose at this point..so hopefully it will be “have at it boys” to the hundreth degree! (Hopefully Newman has apologized to his pit crew..or he’ll be sitting on pit road a long time for his stops!)

9 Vicki September 8, 2013 at 12:31 pm

That would work, Jim. Their “judgment calls” that seem to go one way one time and another way another time is part of what fuels so many fans’ conspiracy theories and the allegations that they play favorites.

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