2008 Sharpie 500 Review

Sharpie 500 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

Saturday night races may be my new favorite, no matter what track we go to. We watched a grueling and exciting 500 lap race. For some drivers, it was a great points day, while for others, like Kasey Kahne, the Chase is starting to get farther and farther out of reach. We always know that coming to Bristol will produce unpredictable outcomes. This race proved that theory.

With so much at stake in these last three races, it’s no wonder why tempers were flaring at the end of the race. What caught me off-guard was who had the tempers. We saw the “big one” happen when Casey Mears’ spotter told him he was clear when Michael Waltrip was actually above his right rear fender. Mears went to the high side to get a good run into the corner, but Waltrip clipped his ear fender causing a wreck involving multiple cars and knocking Kahne out of contention this week in the points. Although Kahne’s ride was heavily damaged by the wreck, he chalked it up to just being Bristol. He understood what it meant for the points, but he simply said that he’ll get ’em next weekend.

The irony of this weekend is the new feud that is brewing between Kyle Busch and Carl Edwards. Busch managed to run the entire race without hitting anyone, which is quite a feat for this wild driver. The problems began when Carl Edwards, who had been running strong all night long, decided that if he wanted to win, he had to make a move one way or the other. Edwards said he asked himself what Kyle would do if he was in the same position. He came to the conclusion that Busch would find a way to ‘move’ him and he’s done it in the past. So, what does Edwards do? The good ‘ole bump and run worked really well for him on lap 469. Evidently, although Edwards managed to hold Busch off for the win, Kyle was not happy. He bumped Edwards into the wall after the race ended, but Carl quickly fought back, spinning Busch out on the bottom of the apron, much to the delight of many Kyle Busch haters. Needless to say, the crowd went wild.

Other strong runners were Jeff Gordon, Denny Hamlin, and Kevin Harvick, but they clearly could not contend for the lead with the likes of Busch and Edwards. I know that many are wondering what could’ve happened to Jr. and why he finished so poorly. Let’s just say that Jr. made a very bad rookie mistake at the start of the race. He passed cars and gained positions before the cars got to the start/finish line when the race initially started. According to NASCAR rules, drivers are not allowed to gain positions at the commencement of the race, thus Jr. had to come through pit road for a pass-through penalty. This put him a lap down, and at Bristol, getting a lap down is usually terrible because so many cars go a lap or more down that getting to the Lucky Dog position is nearly impossible.

Let’s see how the top ten came out:

1. Carl Edwards
2. Kyle Busch
3. Denny Hamlin
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Jeff Gordon
6. Ryan Newman
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Tony Stewart
9. Matt Kenseth
10. David Ragan

With those finished, there were a few changes in the top 12.

1. Kyle Busch
2. Carl Edwards
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Jeff Burton
6. Tony Stewart
7. Greg Biffle
8. Kevin Harvick
9. Jeff Gordon
10. Matt Kenseth
11. Denny Hamlin
12. Clint Bowyer

Bowyer pushed his way back into the Chase while Kasey Kahne dropped 3 positions to 14th. David Ragan is now on the bubble in 13th position and has definitely proven that he has the ability to make things happen on the track. Ryan Newman moved up 2 positions putting him in 15th position. We only have two races left now until we lock in the top 12. This weekend, we’re headed back to California. This is one of Edwards’ favorite tracks. Look for him to be up front, especially with the way he’s been running recently.