Monday, June 4, 2012

Dover: A Sign of Things to Come?

No. 24 has been fast but unlucky
Uh-oh.  The NASCAR garage should be worried, very worried.
It took Hendrick Motorsports months to go from 199 wins to 200.  Since then it has three wins in three races, including the All-Star event.  Jimmy Johnson won for the second time, leading 289 of 400 laps in winning his 7th Dover race.
“Obviously everybody at Hendrick Motorsports is putting a lot of effort right now from the engine and chassis and body department trying to get the cars built because the sport is evolving so quickly with rules changes and things of that nature, it's difficult to stay on top. To get to where we are, a solid three or four weeks for Hendrick Motorsports is nice.”
Johnson wasn’t even the Hendrick team’s fastest car.  That honor belonged to Jeff Gordon, who was celebrating his 20th anniversary with sponsor DuPont.  But a terrible string of bad luck continues to haunt the No. 24 team.  First Gordon was forced to pit with a loose wheel and fell two laps down.  He still had an outside opportunity at the win if the cycle of pit stops ran their course, but a caution for “debris” dashed those hopes.
“The middle part of the race when he got by me and drove away, that's all I had,” Johnson acknowledged.  “I didn't have anything for him then. I'm not sure what he had at the end of the race. 
As bad as Gordon’s weekend was, it was worse for Kurt Busch.  On Monday NASCAR suspended Busch until June 13 and extended his probation period through the end of the year for “actions detrimental to stock car racing; violation of probation; verbal abuse to a media member.”  The suspension means he will miss Sunday’s Pocono race.
Busch seemed to be on the edge of car and emotional control throughout the weekend and lost it after the Nationwide race, barely making it through the post-race Speed interview.  Then he blistered other reporters with profanity-filled comments about the quality of their questions. 
Busch apologized following the suspension, but received less than an overwhelming endorsement from Cup car owner James Finch.  "If he's going to kill himself, I'm not going to be in the airplane with him," Finch told ESPN.  "If that's what he's planning on doing, I am going to get out." Finch has said in the past he wouldn’t put up with Busch’s shenanigans.   
No word on a Pocono replacement for Busch

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