The difference in the Shelby American at Las Vegas Motor Speedway yesterday was two tires. Jeff Gordon dominated the day leading all but 48 of the 267 laps and didn?t win. During a late race pit stop Gordon took on only two right side tires, while Jimmy Johnson got four new Goodyears. After the restart, Johnson ran Gordon down and passed him with 17 laps to go. With inferior tires, there was nothing Gordon could do to prevent it.
Crew Chief Steve Letarte and Gordon both thought taking on only two tires was the right call to gain track position. I?m not going to sit here at my keyboard almost 24 hours after the fact and second guess two of the best minds in the business. In the post race interview Gordon said, ?. . . .we?re not going to beat ourselves up over this.? Neither am I.
Johnson has now won two out of the first three races of the young season. Some in the media are already talking about Johnson winning his fifth straight championship! While I wouldn?t bet against it, I think it?s just a little too early to be talking about that!
It was necessary for me to be on the road most of yesterday and I took advantage of the situation by listening to the race on the radio. The highlight for me was Juan Pablo Montoya being interviewed after the crash involving him and teammate Jamie McMurray. Juan used a somewhat profane expletive to describe what happened. NASCAR has said they want to let the boys be boys but I?ll bet Montoya will be asked to write a check to cover that little transgression. And the folks at PRN may give some thought about incorporating a delay in the future.
Rookie Michael McDowell learned an important lesson on Saturday during the Sam?s Town 300 Nationwide Series race. Specifically, when a faster car is bearing down on you, hold your line and let the other car go around where they can. Instead, when McDowell saw the most famous rookie in NASCAR, Danica Patrick, in his mirror he decided to give her room on the high side. Unfortunately, she had already decided to go low. He turned down into her path and both cars ended up wrecked and in the garage early.
To his credit, McDowell took full blame for the incident during the post crash interview. Ms. Patrick, however, was unavailable for comment.
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