NASCAR News - Week of August 22nd
Coca-Cola Racing had two big reasons to celebrate this weekend at Michigan. They first reason is that they captured their ninth title of the season with Greg Biffle’s victory. The second reason is that Biffle’s victory propelled him into the NASCAR Sprint Cup points lead. Biffle had held the points lead for several weeks earlier in the year, and now he will try to hold onto it until the start of The Chase next month.
The race at Michigan was shaping up to be a real exciting finish. Jimmie Johnson, who was the points leader going into the race, had worked his way up from the back of the pack to capture the lead in lap 191 of 200. Biffle was close on his tail and was slowly closing the distance when Johnson’s engine gave out with just six laps to go. It was a bad break for Johnson, who ended up finishing in 27th after an engine change. The poor finish also dropped him down to 4th in the NASCAR Sprint Cup standings.
Brad Keselowski finished in 2nd at Michigan, followed by Kasey Kahne in 3rd, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 4th and Marcos Ambrose in 5th.
The race started with pole sitter Greg Martin easily holding onto the lead through 65 laps until he suffered a very scary moment. Bobby Labonte’s car went into a spin ahead of Martin, and Martin’s car went into a slide as he tried to avoid a collision. Martin’s car slid into the wall and crashed hard enough to almost force the wall into the driver’s seat. Luckily, Martin was able to walk away from the smoky ruins of his car unhurt, but he was out of the race after his stellar start.
One note of controversy from Michigan was the displeasure that Jeff Gordon expressed with his teammate Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Gordon yelled at Earnhardt over the radio about his “hard racing.” Apparently Gordon was upset with the way that Earnhardt was handling restarts, forcing Gordon to go wide and then sliding in in front of him. It will be interesting to see if these two superstars have any more problems with each other as the season heads to the finish and the stakes get higher.
Elsewhere, the NASCAR Nationwide Series was at Montreal. Justin Allgaier nipped Jacques Villeneuve at the finish line, erasing a 20-car length lead over the last lap. It was an exciting finish, but perhaps the most interesting story of the day was what happened to Danica Patrick.
Patrick was leading the race and her car was looking great when some crazy spectator threw a shoe out on the track. Patrick ran over the shoe and somehow it caused her car to immediately lose handling when a bracket shot out. It ruined her chances of winning and she ultimately finished in 26th.
Next weekend the NASCAR Sprint Cup goes under the lights for a night race at Bristol. Night races are always good for an added element of excitement, and with the Chase just a month away it should be a great night of racing. The race will be 500 laps and 267 miles. Look for Kyle Busch to have the best chances of winning. Busch has won 4 of the last 5 races at Bristol. Jimmie Johnson and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. also traditionally run well at Bristol, so they should be in the hunt as well.