By: Drew Hierwarter
Nobody asked me but . . . .
With all the talk about NASCAR’s dwindling fan base, the Monday crowd that returned to Chicagoland for the rain delayed GEICO 400 was surprisingly large.
The win was Tony Stewart’s first of the 2011 season and couldn’t have come at a better time for his chances in the Chase.
Stewart has now won at least one race in 13 consecutive seasons.
The last NASCAR Sprint Cup Champion NOT named Johnson was Tony Stewart. Could he be the next?
Flat tires and bad pit stops made Kyle Busch look like anything but a Chase contender. His 22nd place finish at Chicago dropped him from 2nd to 9th in points and seriously damaged his championship hopes.
Jeff Gordon also lost eight spots in the points and is now 11th.
Gordon and Denny Hamlin have begun the Chase in a deep hole and the first thing they need to do is stop digging.
Once again Kurt Busch was heard on the radio berating his team for giving him such a bad car. If it’s that bad Kurt, just park it and let somebody else drive. There are lots of guys who would love to have your job.
The GEICO 400 worked out to be yet another fuel mileage contest. Maybe NASCAR should consider throwing a caution flag for a mandatory fuel only pit stop with 20 laps to go on all 1.5 mile tracks?
ESPN’s split screen during commercials was a nice idea but doing it when the cars were just cruising around under caution made it seem kind of pointless.
Next week the Chase moves to New Hampshire Motor Speedway where Stewart-Haas Racing finished 1-2, (Newman, Stewart) the last time the circuit was there back in July.
Jeff Gordon has more experience at New Hampshire than any other Chase contender. He is the only one of the twelve who has run in all 33 Cup races held at that track to date.
Ryan Newman, the most recent winner at New Hampshire, also has the most poles there, with five.
It’s still unknown who will drive the Wood Brother’s number 21 car next year. It’s between Trevor Bayne and Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Apparently the decision will be made by Ford Motor Company and other sponsors. When did team owners lose this much control?
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. remains the only driver in the 2011 Chase for the Championship without a win. His third place finish at Chicago was his third best finish of the year following a second at both Martinsville and Kansas.