2008 Kobalt Tools 500 Review

Kobalt Tools 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

Should I talk about the race and the winner or the tirade that Tony Stewart had afterward? Both were entertaining to say the least. I guess Ill leave Stewarts tirade as part of my weekly news and notes segment. Tires were definitely a topic of concern after the race, so if you would like to know more, look for that one a little later this week, and I will fill you in with all of the details.

As for Sundays Atlanta race, it did not disappoint. There were tirades and wrecks and those who showed why they are champions. Kyle Busch was the winner yesterday with a dominant car that wouldve been hard to beat. Carl Edwards was perhaps the only other car who wouldve threatened that 1-2 Toyota finish, but luckily for the front 3, Edwards blew a motor on 277 bringing his day to an end. We saw a multitude of cars pull out front and lead for the day. Busch was one of them, as was Carl Edwards, Dale Jr., and Jeff Gordon. It seemed as though those cars running in the top five were untouchable to the rest of the field. There was a point where only eleven cars were on the lead lap.

While there were so few cars on the lead lap and the leaders were beginning to pull away from the field, it seemed as though NASCAR conveniently found debris on the track to bring some cars back on the lead lap and to bunch up the field again. Its amazing how someone spinning in the infield wont cause a caution but a spring rubber sitting on the edge of the grass when Jr. or Edwards have a six second lead will bring out the yellow. I think that Tony Stewart may have hit on something last year when he made a point to say that NASCAR was throwing debris cautions when it was convenient for them. No one wants to see the fans change the channel, but we would like to see a fair race every once in a while. If Jr. or Edwards gets a six second lead, then so be it. They obviously deserve what they have if theyve driven away to that extent.

Anyway, Johnson again struggled for most of the day, remaining a lap down at most points. Knaus and Johnson are puzzled as to why they are struggling so much in the early part of this season. How long has it been since weve seen both Gordon and Johnson out of the top 10 in points? I dont even think I can remember the last time that happened. Jr. and Gordon ran relatively strong all day, though, just lacking enough power to slide by those Toyotas. We never saw Jr. and Gordon work together which was a bit disappointing because both Stewart and Busch worked to get the 1-2 finish for the first time since 1954 for a foreign car. This was a history-making weekend for Toyota, and I would expect to see now less than stellar performances for Toyota for the rest of the year.

Despite Busch and Stewart finishing 1-2, there was the issue of grip on the racetrack. Busch was one of the most exciting drivers to watch as usual because no matter what his car was doing, he gave it 110% anywhere on the track. He may be sliding out of turn 3 sideways, but Busch never let off the throttle. He maintained his composure and kept his car on the track. We saw Jr. brush the wall early in the race, barely affecting his car. Michael Waltrip also had his share of troubles with the wall as did Elliot Sadler. Sadler hit the wall three times before he eventually called it quits. Evidently, if you have not heard Stewarts rant about Goodyear yet, the tires for this speedway were too hard for the composition. This caused cars to be loose when they shouldnt have been and gave a lot of drivers problems with handling. That was the biggest problem of the day.

Needless to say, this weekends race was another unpredictable one. Although Matt Kenseth had to start at the rear of the field for switching out transmissions, he finished with a respectable eighth place, moving him to twelfth in the points standings.

The top 10 finishers in Sundays race are as follows:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Tony Stewart
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Greg Biffle
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Clint Bowyer
7. Kevin Harvick
8. Matt Kenseth
9. Brian Vickers
10. Jeff Burton

This was a field with 5 Chevrolets in the top ten (for once this season!) and three Toyotas. Fords rounded out the rest, with Dodges not having a dominant performance as they have been these past three weeks.

The points standings have changed around quite a bit again this week.

Your top twelve in the points for the Sprint Cup are as follows:

1. Kyle Busch
2. Greg Biffle
3. Kevin Harvick
4. Ryan Newman
5. Jeff Burton
6. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Tony Stewart
9. Brian Vickers
10. Kurt Busch
11. Martin Truex Jr.
12. Matt Kenseth

This week is gearing up to be one of the best races of the seasons. The COT ran here last year, so drivers and crews should have a better idea how to manipulate their cars for this track as compared to the rest of the tracks they have run on this season. Regardless of anything else, its BRISTOL! This is the best short track on the circuit. Get ready for the excitement because no matter what happens, tempers will flare and drivers will lose their patience as they work their way around this half-mile oval on Sunday.