Well, we have learned that if you want to play there, you must have a fiddle in the band. Matt Kenseth apparently took no chances and brought along an entire string section. He led for over half of the contest to claim the 19th of his career, and was walking away from the boys like it was the days of old. You know, the winner about twenty laps ahead of the field and with a monkey running around inside the car. Okay, I’m kidding about the ape.
We learned that while Matt was winning for the first time in a couple of years, the real excitement at the end came from Tony Stewart. He tried to win on fuel, but was too fast in the pits and the penalty would cost him. Well, not really. We watched as Smoke ran out of gas on the final lap and watched his name dance to the right on the crawl. A Top Five? Nope. Ten? Nope. 12th, the last guy on the lead lap and with the least amount of petrol. Once again, Tony wasn’t real fussy about sharing his feelings afterward.
We learned that Dale Earnhardt Jr’s return continues. Okay, he is just one wreck, one bad engine away from having all the nay sayers return, but so far, so good. He was 24th at Daytona, but no worse than 12th in any race since. Junior was 9th Saturday night and sits sixth in the standings. I understand he kind of likes the track they are heading to this weekend.
We learned that Carl Edwards would take over the top rung, nine ahead of Kyle Busch and 13 up on Jimmie Johnson and Kenseth. Of course, first means little right now; tenth and the number of wins does. Stewart is ahead of Paul Menard by four points, but the hardware guy would still get in while Jeff Gordon’s win at Phoenix would give him a pass to the ball.
We learned that Kurt Busch, Ryan Newman, Juan Pablo Montoya, and Kevin Harvick are the others currently sitting pretty. Wins at Fontana and Martinsville leave Harvick solid at this juncture, but there is lots of time, races, and available wins up for grabs before the cut off to get too engrossed with who is where just yet. Unless you happen to be Denny Hamlin, Jamie McMurray, or Jeff Burton. Those lads can be excused for worrying a little bit.
I learned when bad bugs somehow slip by your anti-virus, you get a weekend off. When they get fixed, you are back in the saddle again. I also learned when a bad bug bites a driver, he might spent a night at hospital. Obviously, some critter had it in for Trevor Bayne, but the elbow has recovered. At least it was an elbow. I can think of worse places to get bit.
We will learn who is the king of Talladega on Sunday. Junior has won five times there, but the last time was in the fall of 2004. Jeff Gordon has six wins, the last in the fall of 2007. However, if you tally up all the points from the past six races there, the man would be David Ragan, of all people. I know!
I’ve learned that there are worse places than Okotoks, Alberta, which is where my boys will be involved in a baseball camp this weekend. That means I’ll be watching all the action when we return home. As you don’t fast forward nothing when it comes to watching Talladega, it could prove be a long Sunday evening for one baseball dad. Enjoy your week.