Wilson’s NASCAR Notes: Top Stories from Montreal Weekend
Miss anything that happened in NASCAR over the weekend? You don’t need to waste time scouring the ‘net and reading pages and pages worth of information: here are the biggest stories in NASCAR from Montreal and Chicagoland, and I won’t just tell you what happened – I’ll tell you what I think, too!
The Story: In a race that saw three different drivers fall out of contention while leading – Marcos Ambrose and Carl Edwards due to mechanical problems and Robby Gordon from running out of fuel – Boris Said and Max Papis ended Sunday’s Nationwide Series race at Montreal in exciting fashion, trading places twice in the last set of turns and coming to the checkered flag side-by-side – with Said taking his first Nationwide win by just .012 seconds.
Wilson’s Take: If you just kept your eyes on the front of the field, this was an outstanding show – five different drivers had a legitimate shot at winning, everyone of them a fantastic road racer – so it was fun to watch them work, and we got an exciting ending because of it. You go a little further back in the field, though, and things were really, really ugly. Montreal is a traditional road course – lots of hard breaking and sharp turns. It would have been a challenge for Cup drivers – for the Nationwide guys with less experience, it was a bit too much. There were about a dozen drivers that had the place figured out reasonably well, but the rest of the field was not ready for Primetime.
Kyle Busch Keeps on Winning
The Story: Kyle Busch kept his winning streak alive, driving away from Camping World Truck Series point leader Todd Bodine on his way to the checkered flag Friday night at Chicago – Busch’s fourth consecutive win across NASCAR’s three series. The victory was Kyle’s fourth of the season in the Truck series and 17th in NASCAR for 2010.
Wilson’s Take: At the rate The Shrub is going, he’s going to need to build a sizable addition to his trophy room. He has a very good shot at winning 20 or more total races for the third straight year. Like him or not, the kid wins. A lot. It is impressive.
Regan Smith: Two more Years with Furniture Row
The Story: Furniture Row Racing announced this weekend that they have signed 2008 Cup Series rookie of the year Regan Smith to a two year contract extension, putting him behind the wheel of the No.78 car until at least 2012.
Wilson’s Take: OK, I know that Smith is 30th in the points and nobody would consider him or Furniture Row Racing to be contenders, but here is what is so good about this move – Furniture Row is trying. I’ll elaborate later this week in Two Laps Down with Scotty Wazz, but the No.78 could have easily thrown a washed up veteran in the car and done the start-and-park each week – but they chose not to. They are sticking with a young driver, and they are letting him race (Smith has completed over 92% of the laps run this season) – they want to run well, and eventually they will…a lot faster than the start-and-park teams, at least.
No Sponsor for Jeff Gordon?
The Story: With Dupont not renewing their contract as primary sponsor for Jeff Gordon’s No.24 car next year, the team is working hard to find an alternate name to plaster on the hood. The rumor in the garage for weeks was that Wal-Mart was about to come on board, but the latest reports say the retail giant has decided against sponsoring a race team – leaving Hendrick Motorsports to continue their search.
Wilson’s Take: Wal-Mart has been conspicuous by their absence at NASCAR’s highest level – especially considering how the sport directly targets a primary audience of theirs. If a driver and team of Gordon’s stature can’t lure them into the Cup series – I’m not sure anyone can. The big question is – where does Hendrick Motorsports go from here? It appears that instead of one major sponsor, they will have to go the same direction as many other teams and piece together the season using 10-15 race deals with multiple sponsors. One way or the other – it is safe to assume Hendrick will have someone on the hood of the No.24 car for every race next year.