2008 UAW Dodge 400 Review

2008 UAW Dodge 400 Review
by Virginia Vroom of Predictem.com

Well, call it Edwards lucky day or whatever you want, but he was the one to beat on Sunday, that is, if he didn’t beat himself first. While, Carl Edwards did walk away with a victory, it was not without fighting for it first. He almost lost the race on lap 215 when a tire carrier failed to maintain control of a tire. Although it did manage to roll across pit road, NASCAR officials ruled that a television cameraman interfered with the crew’s ability to maintain control of that tire and did not pursue a penalty. Edwards got lucky.

But he may not be so lucky after NASCAR makes its weekly penalties announcement today. This is because officials found an issue in Edwards’ car where the lid to the oil tank reservoir was completely off. Three weeks ago at Daytona, officials found a similar problem with five Nationwide series cars where the lid was loose but not completely off. We should find out today, but I would expect to see Edwards and his crew chief docked some valuable points. This is going to make a big difference as this is the first time in his Cup history that Edwards has led the points standings. He is only 21 points ahead of Kyle Busch, so with any penalty, I would assume that Busch is going to take the lead again.

As far as the rest of the race was concerned on Sunday though, for those doubters who thought that the COT was making for uneventful races, I dare you to say anything now. At Las Vegas, there was a record 11 cautions, breaking the previous record of ten, and quite a scuffle within the last 10 laps of the race. The wrecks began with Stewart taking a hard lick on the outside wall when he blew a right front tire. He gingerly climbed from his car and it was later reported that he did not suffer any major injuries. In fact, Stewart left the anxious reporters with a few jokes before heading back to his hauler.

Despite all of the other cautions, some for debris, others for smaller incidents on track, the most vicious wreck of all came with only four laps to go when Gordon accidentally clipped Matt Kenseth’s back bumper and both cars tore across the speedway abruptly ending the competitors’ day. The front five cars, including Kenseth, Edwards, Earnhardt Jr., Gordon, and Greg Biffle were fighting up front for track position with only 5 laps to go. Gordon was trying to make room and go high but managed to grab Kenseth’s bumper on the way up. Jr. just barely avoided the wreckage. Kenseth’s car swung high and smacked the safer barrier on the outside wall while Gordon’s car made a sling-shot move up and then back down the track to the entrance to the garage area. With no safer-barrier and the angle of impact, Gordon is lucky to have walked away without any sort of serious injury. This latest wreck, in which Gordon’s radiator was left on the track yards away from his car, has him calling for more safety precautions to be made at LVMS. Needless to say, this was Gordon’s second DNF in just three races and an unfortunate end to Kenseth’s day when both had a great chance at pulling off a win.

The race was red-flagged for the following eighteen minutes to allow for cleanup. Jr. claims this is where his race was lost. He claimed that his car was no good on cold tires and with only three laps to go, there was no way that he could pass Edwards’ car, as Edwards pulled half a second out with only three laps to go. In my opinion, Edwards car was going to be hard to beat regardless of tires or anything else at this point. Biffle, who was running third at the time, claimed that he had a car to beat Edwards but could not get around Jr., who continued to block Biffle. But, hey, that’s the name of the game. It’s one thing to catch someone. It’s another thing to pass him. That’s what makes someone a great race car driver.

The top ten was again another surprise.

1. Carl Edwards
2. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
3. Greg Biffle
4. Kevin Harvick
5. Jeff Burton
6. David Ragan
7. Kasey Kahne
8. Travis Kvapil
9. Denny Hamlin
10. Mark Martin

Whoever counted out Roush is going to have a hard betting season. They may just prove to be the Hendrick of 2008. With such strong runs by Kenseth, Biffle, and Edwards, the Roush team is picking up steam while Hendrick struggles with bad car setups and just plain old bad luck. The Toyotas, with all of their hype at the beginning of the season, are not doing poorly, but they are not quite as strong this week as they have been with only one in the top ten finishers. The points are still in the process of being jumbled around with this being only the third race of the season. It’s definitely a bit odd only seeing one Hendrick car in the top twelve, especially without it being Johnson or Gordon.

Top Twelve in Points as of LVMS

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

Maybe the reporters (myself included) put too much emphasis on the so-called ‘big’ stories of the off-season, focusing on Hendrick and Jr. in particular. The other teams were evidently out to surprise us all. Keep an eye on those Roush boys. We’re heading to Atlanta this weekend, another historically strong track for Roush. Edwards just may pull three in a row. Stay tuned and find out!