Monday, May 3, 2010

Richmond in the Rear View

If the spring race at Talladega was Christmas morning for race fans, then Saturday's contest at Richmond was Thanksgiving at the in-laws - nice enough and somewhat satisfying, but not as good as Mama makes it.

In what is usually an exciting showdown with fender-bangin' and last-minute slidin', Saturday night's race at RIR didn't quite live up to the hype (or the Dega comparison).

Still, for all the opportunities to catch some shuteye during the broadcast, there were a few developments of note at Richmond this weekend:

Kyle Busch - the Official Restart King - It was only a matter of time before Rowdy ended up in Victory Lane again.  And how fitting that KB's first checkers of the season would be the result of beating Jeff Gordon on a late-race restart.  Gotta hand it to Rowdy, if he's near the front, he gets it done.

MWR outruns HMS - The boys at Michael Waltrip Racing haven't had too much to smile about in 2010. But Richmond may have turned those frowns upside down - both Martin Truex, Jr. and Marcos Ambrose earned Top 10 finishes, while David Reutimann eked out a p15.  Compare that to the Hendrick Motorsports crew who finished 2nd, 10th, 25th and 32nd. Proof of the apocalypse?

Has JJ found his kryptonite? - Ever since the return of the spoiler, Jimmie Johnson hasn't had the most stellar of finishes. Richmond was tough on the No. 48 team. After a miserable night in the pits, Johnson barely saved the car as it slid across the finish line into10th place.  If the spoiler isn't to blame, maybe his tiff with Gordon is.  Ol' Jeff's earlier rantings just might be messing with four-time's head.

Jeff Gordon makes nice - Speaking of Jeff, After Rick Hendrick reportedly put the smackdown on the brewing feud between teammates Gordon and Johnson, all was nicey-nice at Richmond. The pair never got together on the track and Gordon's attitude post-race was all rainbows and sunshine.  We'll see how long it takes for the drivers to go at it again.  Darlington, anyone?

RCR lookin' good - At the end of last year, Richard Childress Racing was making a comeback. They just didn't have enough races left to prove it.  Now that the 2010 season is well underway, it's clear that something is clicking over at RCR.  Harvick has already snagged one victory this season and Jeff Burton hasn't been running too badly either. Also consider they finished third and fourth (respectively) at Richmond. And now that Harvick is the points leader - I'm thinking Happy just might smash "four-time's" plans to make it five.

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