Monday, March 19th, 2007 8:39am UTC
By Luke, Thunder Lounge
Published on Thunder Lounge.
Wow. Where did this week go? I have no idea. Last I checked it was Tuesday, and now it’s Monday already. This sucks not only for our dear readers, but for myself as well. There was a lot of issues I, of course, had comments for last week. However we’ll move forward and try this again.
So by now you know Jimmie Johnson went back to back, passing Stewart with a couple laps to go yesterday at Atlanta, and sailing off into the sunset. Not a huge surprise, but a feat worthy of respect with the closeness of competition these days.
Johnson also, as the title implies, helped to make first time NASCAR history. It started Friday night with Skinner, Jeff Burton kept it alive Saturday, and Jimmie sealed the deal Sunday. Of course we’re referring to the first time ever that all three of the NASCAR top series had back to back winners. Skinner won the truck race at Fontana, and Burton also won last weekends Busch race at Las Vegas. And you thought Montoya’s top 5 was something.
Speaking of things Ganassi, not a bad effort thus far in 2007. Too bad that heading into the final race of guaranteed starts from the 2006 owners points that Robert Yates can’t yet say the same. We’re not officially calling the struggle yet, but it sure is shaping up to be. But hey, they’ll always have the front row at Daytona. Right?
So while you’re probably more worried about your canned pet food at the moment, and I’m thankful I use the non-tainted stuff, there’s folks out there with much bigger worries on their shoulders. Toyota, for starters, and it’s even poorer than expected start to its Cup debut.
After Atlanta, in the 2007 Owners Points battle, the lone Camry in the top 35 is Dale Jarrett by a scant 18 points. Next comes Blaney at 45 points out of the coveted Top 35. One small positive note in all their struggles is Vickers. He’s the next spot behind Blaney and 75 points out of the running. He’s also missed 2 of the 4 races thus far, only making the show in Fontana and Atlanta. That’s translating to a positive how, you ask? To still be that close in the hunt, and only making half the events to date, it means he’s ran “respectable” in those two events on average. Something Dale Jarrett and Dave Blaney who have had twice the opportunities to score points can’t say.
Anybody seen the recent NAPA commercial with Sammy Hagar in the closet? You know, the one where Mikey and DJ are walking though the hall at “Michael Waltrip Racing” and you hear Sammy jammin out with the “slightly different” version of his classic “I can’t drive 55″. Then Mikey opens the closet door and asks if he could turn it down a little bit, and Sammy snaps right back with “Can you drive a little faster”?
Could this be the sign that NAPA is digging its heels in and trying to make the best of a start-up situation? That’s the way I see it, to use Tim’s line, and although the results are obviously less than they had hoped for they can still make due with some creative advertising. Every little bit helps at this point.
If things keep going the way they have been, Toyota better hope Vickers makes it in this week at Bristol. A decent finish could squeak him into the Top 35 for Martinsville, and he could end up the lone Camry in the show thereafter. We say thereafter since that could be, and most likely will be, the last time DJ is eligible to use the Champions excuse (er, provisional) this season. Having used 4 so far, the trend would be one more at Bristol and Martinsville and then with his trend in Owners Points he’d be on the outside looking in.
The only salvation for struggling teams at this point is that now it’s time to put the COT on the track to race. Some say that the playing field will be leveled with it initially. While this is true to some extent, since nobody has raced it in an actual event yet, you can still expect the cream to rise to the top. Your bigger organizations have been working on it for quite a while now, as they have the resources and capabilities, while smaller operations have had to put more focus on the first for races of the season.
One thing is for certain though as we head to the mountains of Tennessee. All bets are off.
Share your thoughts!.
Filed Under: Atlanta, Brian Vickers, Dale Jarrett, Drivers, Hendrick Motorsports #48, Jimmie Johnson, Michael Waltrip, Michael Waltrip Racing #44, Michael Waltrip Racing #55, Nascar, Nextel Cup, Team RedBull #83, Teams, Tracks
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