Thursday, March 25, 2010

5 Questions Before ... Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500




Two short tracks in a row? Really? Hey, I’m not complaining, but there’s going to be a lot of bent sheet metal once all is said and done! And I don’t mean to “spoil” it for you, but the rear wing is now a piece of NASCAR history that won’t be seen again until it’s put on display in the NASCAR Hall of Fame! Also, Jimmie Johnson has the highest driver rating at Martinsville Speedway, the site of this weekend’s Goody’s Fast Pain Relief 500. Even if Johnson doesn’t win, it looks like the winner will most likely be a Hendrick Motorsports driver. There’s a shock.




Anyways, unless you’re an HMS fan, that was probably a pretty dismal preview for you. Here are a few questions regarding the race this weekend:





How much of an impact will the spoiler really have? … Yes, NASCAR has run the spoiler before. However, it’s never been used on NASCAR’s new car. From what we’ve been hearing from the drivers during testing, it’s really not going to make a huge difference. Of course, we haven’t seen these racecars get in a big pack yet in testing. Everyone seems to be in agreement that we really won’t know how these cars will react until we get to Texas. Can’t we just skip Phoenix and Martinsville?





Who will sass Jimmie this week? … You’d think after almost five years of domination, you’d have heard more comments similar to Kurt Busch’s last weekend. Instead, these drivers say things like “It’s amazing what these guys are able to accomplish” and “We really should respect them and what they are doing.” Oh, sure, I’m sure some of it is genuine. But inside you know these drivers have to be muttering profanity-laced tirades 10x as worse as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s Bristol tantrum. Speaking of which …





Why is this Dale Earnhardt Jr. thing such a big deal? … Almost every major NASCAR media outlet has written about Earnhardt Jr.’s “discussion” with crew chief Lance McGrew after he received a pit road speeding penalty on lap 325. While Earnhardt’s response was admittedly interesting to hear, was it really necessary? After all, you can probably find at least four or five stand-downs between a driver and a crew chief or spotter ever weekend. The only reason it was such a big deal is because it was Dale Jr.! Unless the media was just sick of talking about Jimmie Johnson. . .





What does Mother Nature have against us? … I feel like I’m asking this question every week! Two common themes to this season: Jimmie Johnson and Mother Nature. I guess the real question here is which you find more annoying? Just for the record, showers are in the forecast for both Friday and Saturday this weekend. You know how they always mention the sponsors in the invocation during pre-race ceremonies? If they can mention sponsors, they can mention weather! Fans should be asked to get down on their knees; hands stretched towards the heavens, and BEG for good weather. If that doesn’t work, just be sure to bring a poncho in your knapsack whenever you head to the track.





How long will the points standings stay this close? … Kevin Harvick leads Matt Kenseth by a mere one point in the current points standings. It took a while to sort out who was leading after the race on Sunday, but the final points had Harvick atop the standings. I know it’s still early, but normally at this point in the season the points are a little more spread out. Even more surprising, Kurt Busch is the only other driver in the top 12 in points who has won a race. Granted, only three drivers have won a race this year (Jamie McMurray won the Daytona 500), but I still find it amazing that Johnson has won three races yet still isn’t leading the standings. If he wins the race this weekend at Martinsville, though, that might change.





Bonus questions: How many jokes will the commentators make about the spoiler/wing before we’re all groaning on our sofas? … Will Trackpass work this week? … Who are you voting for in the All-Star race?


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Photo courtesy of NASCARMedia. Opinions expressed are solely those of the author.

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