On Memorial Day weekend, we had a marathon of racing just to get through NASCAR’s holiday special, the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway. If the day wasn’t long enough, Mother Nature wanted to join in on the fun and make sure we had a winner celebrating on Monday. Let’s see who endured chaos and the long day.
On The Gas…
5) Matt Kenseth – Mr. Where Did He Come From, albeit, driver of the No. 20 Circle K Toyota has slowly but surely shown speed. Thus, it gives Kenseth fans a glimmer of hope that Joe Gibbs Racing (JGR) is about to crack Victory Lane.
4) Daniel Suarez – Well another JGR driver was standing on it this week. The young rookie just missed having his second top 10 in a row. All told, he is beginning to show the progression that the team was looking for. It could be a good second half of the year for Suarez.
3) Jimmie Johnson – Obviously, Johnson was a little overzealous with being “on the gas.” It cost him with a lap and a half remaining. Johnson was well on his way until the tank ran dry to the cheers of “the haters.” Still, he came home inside the top 20, and happily waves his two checkered flags in the face of his detractors.
2) Martin Truex Jr – As the new points leader, that should frighten the rest of the field. As good as Truex has been with scooping up the bonus points, he can take comfort with the fact that the regular season champ goes into the playoffs with an extra 15 points. Not sure that’s a team you want to spot points.
1) Austin Dillon – Another first time winner. What were the odds of Dillon getting a win before JGR, much less the Nos. 24 and 21 teams? I’d have liked to put 10 dollars on that. A very happy Pop Pop aka Richard Childress now has two of his cars in the playoff. Welcome to Victory Lane, Austin Dillon and the No. 3 team.
Unlike Dillon, we’re burning up and moving on. We didn’t have to wait to do burnouts in our barn.
On The Brakes…
5) Joey Logano – The No. 22 Ford has a checkered flag but no playoff points. With a mile and a half in their own backyard, Logano and Todd Gordon never got the handle right at Charlotte, coming home 21st, a lap off the pace.
4) Matt DiBenedetto – Poor guy had a solid run going and blows a tire early enough to watch the sunset at his house. He wound up tweeting, “Watching the race on tv in a slightly bad mood.” Mother Nature had to dump on it and make his viewing displeasure that much longer.
3) Kasey Kahne – At this point, they may want to change everything on the No. 5 team, up to an including the car itself. Bad luck doesn’t even describe what’s going of this team any more. Maybe Kasey Kahne will stumble on a four-leaf clover heading to Dover. The monster’s hungry and the No. 5 car may be lunch.
2) Chase Elliott – Didn’t even have time to break a sweat before the No. 33 broke everything. Most of it went through the front of his car and it looked like the boy scouts were about to roast marshmallows at a NAPA store.
1) Brad Keselowski – Sorry Brad, that NAPA store wasn’t a drive through. Being on the brakes does nothing when you’re sliding through oil and debris. At least he made good pictures and had time to watch the sunset at home with his family.
It was a tremendous day of racing on Sunday. I hope everyone took a moment to spare a thought for our fallen military members throughout history that made days like that possible.
That said, there’s no cruise control this weekend. Everyone will be on the gas in the hopes of avoiding the monster’s Bite. It’s Dover.