Monday, October 27, 2008

Atlanta, Tires and Tired Drivers

A peer of mine was pondering out loud about the Atlanta race this last weekend.

Working the Steering Wheel
My peer Scott called it an "ice rink" or "skating rink" affect that we were seeing this last weekend at Atlanta Motorspeedway for the Pep Boys Auto 500.  After the first few laps after a stop, drivers were literally skating all over the place as we watched them "saw" their steering wheels to keep the cars under control.

So I wondered the following thoughts:

Is this yet another function of the Goodyears issues with blowing out as much as they did in the previous races or an expected result of just good racing?   I'd think is just good old fashion tire wear and racing for once and it probably is not any side affect of tire issues, perse.

Goodyear has been hammered enough as it is.

Not to mention it's fun to see just who can handle their cars under these conditions and who can't.  I hate to bang on Mikey (Michael Waltrip) but we had at least three cautions from his car disintegrating for one reason or another throughout the day.  If it weren't for bad luck, he's have no luck some days!

Surprising Performances
Non Performance:  You know who surprised me?  Tony Stewart finishing 17th in The Home Depot Toyota No. 20 on the tail end of the lead lap.  I've always thought of him as a wheel man of sorts and thought this kind of condition would be right up his sleeve.  Are we seeing a short timers perspective / attitude from his team or Tony?  Or were they literally that lost on a track condition we've seen them conquer before?

Good Performance: Kudos goes to A.J. Allmendinger for bringing the No 10 Sears Auto Center / Valvoline No. 10 into 14th.  I'm glad he's out from under his old team and getting a chance to show just what he can do.  And A.J. is doing it under a new team in an infrastructure he's not ingrained in, not familiar with.

Wow.  When Jimmie Johnson was busted for speeding on pit road and he had to take his medicine under green, my only thought wasn't that he's doomed his championship, but how will the team manage to salvage the day.  From a lap down to 2nd ain't a bad way to salvage it.  That's for sure.

Expected or Not:  Despite driving the bastard child of the Penske garage, Ryan Newman got his No. 12 Kodak Dodge up into 16th on the lead lap at the end of the day.  Admittedly, I was busy doing other things during the race, but I'm not sure just how much or little media exposure Ryan got on Sunday.  Maybe he did - I was just busy writing, but near the end of the race, you can see he repainted his car with the colors of the wall and still managed a 16th place finish.  Nice...  and kudos to Ryan once again for taking decently supported equipment from KHI and putting it in the winners circle for his debut in the Truck Series race on Saturday!


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