So, what did we learn from Texas?
Well, we learned that if you were going to have an old fashioned wild west shootout, there was no better place to decide matters. Who represented the Good, the Bad, and the Ugly on Saturday afternoon was determined simply by who you liked best, who you wanted to get the gold when it was all over. So we watched as Blondie, Tuco, and Angel Eyes took up their positions.
We learned that, unlike in the original, the bad man sometimes wins. In this version, it was Blondie and Tuco lying in the dust when the credits rolled. Denny Hamlin came alive late and roared off into the sunset to pick up his 8th win of the season, 16th of his career. At least I didn’t have to stick around to watch his post-race interview. There are some drivers I like, some I don’t mind, and a very few I just can’t stand. You can guess where Angel Eyes, er, Denny stands with me. I’m not saying he would not be deserving. I am just saying that I would not be happy about it.
We learned that sometimes unhappiness comes in the form of bad things happening to nice people. Jeff Burton made a mistake and tried to drive beside Jeff Gordon to let him know that. In doing so, he made another mistake, destroyed both cars, got Mr. Gordon upset, got into a slight physical confrontation with the aforementioned Mr. Gordon, and generally gave us all something to talk about it. Bad for the Jeffs, good for us stiffs.
We learned that one man’s misfortune is another man’s new pit crew. Jimmie Johnson’s boys were, well, the pits, costing their driver positions on the track. Right after his team-mate got Burtonized, and faster than you could say Donald Trump, the Lowe’s boys got fired and the Dupont lads got hired. Things went better for Johnson, while his old crew took care of the custodial duties in cleaning up the #24 pit box. Johnson still finished 9th, three spots behind Kevin Harvick. Hamlin is our new series leader, Johnson 33 back, and Harvick 59.
We learned that Greg Biffle was the star of this movie, but after losing a couple of gears his fate would be 5th. Meanwhile, with Gordon’s tough experience, Carl Edwards is now fourth. Should Hamlin finish last the next two races, with the other two contenders just about as unfortunate, and if Carl wins by leading the most laps the final two races, he would be our new champion. Then again, a rose could bloom from my butt. Hey, it could happen.
We learned that in this old world there are few things as traumatic as seeing a guy give the finger to another guy. Kyle Busch got caught speeding, got parked a lap and, after saluting the official with one certain digit with his in-car camera rolling, got parked for another two laps. Oh, the humanity! Sure, there may be those who have lived such a sheltered life, who have such tender sensitivities, that they may view the punishment as deserving. For such people I can only say [middle finger extended].
We learned that NASCAR is still trying to figure out how to keep Cup drivers from winning the Nationwide series. Here is the solution. You take away from any driver’s Nationwide point total the number of Cup points they have earned that season. That should do it…and you are welcome. By the way, that would have given Justin Allgaier the honor, as it should be.
Two races to go as we head to Phoenix where Hamlin has never won, though has finishes between third and sixth in six of his previous ten starts there. It is where Harvick as claimed a couple of victories over the years. However, it is also where Johnson has won four of the last six held there. It is a track on which he has chalked up eight straight top fives, a dozen top tens in 14 tries, and a worst finish of 15th. I wouldn’t exactly count out his drive for five just yet. You could see Blondie rise up yet again as they go for a few dollars more this Sunday. Enjoy the week.