The 48 suffered serious damage when Juan Pablo Montoya elected to put him into the wall. (Jason Smith/Getty Images)
Bristol Motor Speedway put on another fun show last night with lots of on-track action. Some of that action tore up some of my pre-race favorites, unfortunately. Here’s a quick run down of what happened to my top six:
Jimmie Johnson: Johnson had a fantastic car and led many laps, but just as he and Kyle Busch were poised to engage in a thrilling duel at the front of the field, Juan Pablo Montoya inexplicably hooked Johnson and sent him on a bash-up ride into the wall. Johnson had to go behind the wall to make repairs; he finished 35th many laps down.
Juan Pablo Montoya: Montoya had at least a top 10-ish car, and after he eliminated one of the top cars in Johnson’s 48, it appeared he was in good position to challenge for the win. He ultimately wasn’t as fast as Busch and several other drivers, however. He finished 7th. Continue reading
Kevin Harvick passes Tony Stewart during a restart while the field runs five-wide behind them. (Jonathan Daniel/Getty Images)
My picks didn’t fare too well at Michigan on Sunday:
- Jimmie Johnson: The 48 was good early but began slipping back a little as the race progressed. Then, at least two slow pit stops put Johnson way back in the field, and he had a hard time recovering. And once again, the 48 team seemed to have trouble improving the car throughout the race. Johnson finished 12th.
- Greg Biffle: The 16 was very good most of the race and contended for the win. At the end, however, Biffle was just a bit too loose to take the checkered flag. He finished 4th.
- Jeff Burton: The 31 was pretty good much of the day, though more like a top-8 car than a contender to win. Alas, when Jeff Gordon suffered a flat tire late in the race, Burton blasted him from behind and seriously damaged his own car. He finished 24th.
- Kasey Kahne: The 9 was above average, but far slower than I expected. After the race, even Kahne said, “Something went wrong today.” He finished 14th.
- Kurt Busch: The Duece blew an engine at lap 30 and finished 40th.
- Tony Stewart: I thought the 14 would be strong, and he was. He was a contender for the win late, but at the end he didn’t quite have enough to run down the leaders.
Note: Pit tactics came into play Sunday during a late caution. Some teams took four tires, some took two and Denny Hamlin didn’t pit at all. He turned that track position into a 2nd place finish.
Greg Biffle and Sam Hornish Jr. prepare to duel for the win on the final restart. (Al Bello/Getty Images)
Red flags, rain and pit tactics provided viewers with an exciting finish to Sunday’s race at Pocono. With 40-ish laps to go, Jeff Gordon seemingly had the race in the bag, but a caution flag for rain prompted numerous cars to scramble for track position on pit road. Gordon took four tires, but a number of cars took two, some took none and Sam Hornish Jr. didn’t even pit! Greg Biffle eventually got around Hornish with his two new tires for the win.
My picks were pretty strong but fared so-so:
- Jimmie Johnson: He led the most laps when the track was hot, but when it cooled down, his car tailed off, and for the second week in a row, the 48 team had trouble improving the car. He finished 10th.
- Jeff Burton: At his best, Burton seemed to have roughly the #3 car, but he never seemed to be a threat to win. He finished 8th. Continue reading