2008 Dickies 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com
I should’ve known better. I called Jmmie Johnson to win, so he (of course!) had one of his worst races this year. Consistency is how he is going to win the championship, and although he had a bad car on Sunday, Johnson still managed to pull off a 15th place finish.
Carl Edwards pulled off quite a win yesterday, clearly dominating a race in which most of the field was lapped. He had, by far, the strongest car. I guess I was just hoping that Johnson was going to continue his extraordinary power of never screwing up. Johnson and his crew chief, Chad Knaus, are hated for their strong runs and even stronger finishes despite any setback that comes their way. This weekend was a little more difficult though as Johnson never could get his lap back because of Edwards passing so many cars to begin with.
Edwards really just checked out from the rest of the field. There were few contenders with the exception of Jamie McMurray, who is ironically losing his crew chief in hopes of finding someone that’s a better fit despite a third place finish. Anyone else see any irony in this? It’s a bit like the A.J. Allmendinger switch when he was running so strong and just magically lost his ride. Anyway, McMurray had a great car, but everyone admitted they didn’t have what Carl had under the hood.
After the race, Edwards just wanted to know where Johnson was. He thanked the media for not raining on his parade and telling him Johnson finished second like he did last week. Edwards shaved off nearly 80 points this weekend, making the last two races all the more important for Johnson. This is the mentality that keeps champions alive. Johnson continuously said that he knew that he has not won just yet. He knows that there can be hurdles, despite his amazing luck, which proved to be true this weekend.
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Many drivers struggled with either very loose or very tight conditions, but what the race really came down to was fuel mileage. This was another call by a crew chief that won the race for a driver. Bob Osborne made the call for Carl to stay out even though he was potentially FOUR laps shy of making it. There was a discrepancy on the team as far as calculations were concerned, but in order to win championships, you have to be willing to take risks. That’s just what worked for Edwards this weekend.
Here’s a look at your top ten from the Dickies 500:
1. Carl Edwards
2. Jeff Gordon
3. Jamie McMurray
4. Clint Bowyer
5. Greg Biffle
6. Kyle Busch
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Martin Truex Jr.
9. Matt Kenseth
10. David Reutimann
Not surprisingly, the Roush teams did great. All teams in the top 10 which is what we would expect at these intermediate tracks.
As a side note, the most entertaining and certainly the most hilarious part of the race (at least for me) was when David Gilliland and Juan Pablo Montoya were racing hard somewhere in the top 20. Each lap, we would see one or the other bumping each other. No biggie, right? Well, evidently David Gilliland got tired of Montoya’s driving and bumping. Coming off a turn, Gilliland turned hard right when Montoya was on the high side above him and smashed him into the wall. When I say “smashed” I mean that Gilliland totaled both cars in the incident. Needless to say, Gilliland was parked for the rest of the race. Penalties galore on Tuesday, anyone?
In the interview, Gilliland pretended that he didn’t know Montoya was on the high side. I’m calling foul on that one. It was blatantly clear that Gilliland was retaliating. Montoya even told reporters that they had been racing hard and that he had hit Gilliland. But he also said, “If I wanted to wreck him, I would’ve wrecked him.” Honestly, I thought it was a hilarious wreck.
Needless to say, this weekend made a big dent in the points battle. It’s almost feasible that Edwards can make a real run at this thing come Homestead.
Here are your current top 12 in points:
1. Jimmie Johnson
2. Carl Edwards
3. Greg Biffle
4. Jeff Burton
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Tony Stewart
10. Kyle Busch
11. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
12. Denny Hamlin
s so refreshing to see a healthy battle for the points going into the last two races of the year with two guys who have been great all season long. This weekend, we’re going to Phoenix, which is nothing short of another great track for Jimmie. He’s won here the last two races where Edwards has never won here before. This year is a year for firsts though, so I guess we’ll have to wait and see. Only two to go!