Monday, April 30, 2007


My fiance is not so much into watching NASCAR races on TV, so it's rare that I get to see both the Busch Series race and the Cup Series race like I did this weekend.

I enjoyed the Cup race enough: yes, it is always a pain to have a finish under the yellow flag, but NASCAR seems to have done all they can to prevent this kind of thing from happening. The hardest racing is going to take place during the final laps, which translates into a bigger risk of someone wrecking. During the restart with 23 laps to go I predicted there would be three more caution flags: I was right, although the last one ended the race.

But the ending of the Busch race more than made up for a somewhat disappointing Cup finish. I've always wondered why the second place cars in restrictor plate races haven't tried harder to make last lap passes. Well, I mean, I know one reason why they don't try for these passes: a near-certain second place finish is too tempting to give up, when the consequences of getting hung out to dry might be getting passed by four or five cars. I guess what I mean is that despite this risk, I'm always a little surprised more drivers don't go for it. But after seeing Bobby Labonte pull it off, I think the reason we don't see it is because unless you're a really experienced driver, you'll have no chance. Labonte's move around Tony Stewart coming off of Turn 4 was one of the greatest moves I've seen in a restrictor plate race.

On a personal response note: for years, I haven't been able to watch a restrictor plate race without feeling physically uncomfortable waiting for the inevitable crashes. Maybe I'm jaded or desensitized or maybe the racing is just better, because I was able to enjoy these without worrying.

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