Monday, July 09, 2007

Rankin' Rob Takes on Daytona

Due to ill health and general malaise at Willard's Garage, our dear friend Rankin' Rob has graciously stepped in to relieve us our common tatering duties. Thanks, Rob!!

Hamlin and Stewart wreck each other out, Stewart lambastes young Hamlin, who looks like a deer in the headlights in his interview seconds later--he had obviously just watched or heard Smoke's tirade. Gibbs is at a critical point in the season. If he can't get Tony to look at the big picture for a few seconds during a race, if Hamlin is suddenly looking over his shoulder everytime the orange car with the red ass approaches, Gibbs could flunk the Chase. At least Hamlin has a few weeks and a points cushion to get his mojo back before the tournament.

Roush looks strong for the second half. Edwards pushed McMurray to the win and good vibes for all, and Kenseth always lurks. I expect McMurray and possibly Kurt Busch to knock out some of the current top 12 before it's set.

Gordon and Johnson both do everything they can to leave Kyle hung out the last few laps. Gordon in particular had the perfect opportunity to duck down and push Kyle the few feet he needed. I get it, the 24 and 48 were going for the win, but it was obvious that neither car could lead the draft all night long. The word is out, don't help the lame duck. Boosh the Younger minces no words about it in his post-race interview. If they both announce team specifics and sponsorships within the next month, I would not be surprised to see either driver finish out the year with the another team. If Kyle signs to drive the Bud car at DEI that might be a done deal. He may be a bug-eyed creep, but Kyle is fun to watch race. He makes things happen.

Did you hear Kyle Petty say that his Dad calls Kyle Busch the 'best natural driving talent since Tim Richmond'? Do I detect a not-so-subtle attempt to sell Kyle B on joining Bobby Labonte next season? Kyle Petty, by the way, is excellent on TV. He and Dallenbach compliment each other perfectly. I think he will be this generation's Buddy Baker in the booth.

Apropos of nothing, Dave Blaney was competitive all weekend but faded to his typical 23rd place consolation prize. CAT announced this week that they were 'disappointed' in their car missing races this year, and that they would be discussing extending their long-time deal at BDR in the coming months. Blaney drove it on the high line last night like he knows this could be it for his gig and even the team's fortunes.

Speaking of Midwestern hard luck cases--Johnny Sauter keeps showing up and racing, staying on the lead lap and in the field. In a lower profile season, he and Bootie would be a bigger story. The Yellow Freight car is always cheered loudly at Bristol, where Jimmy Spencer used to wheel it in the Busch Series. I'm close to predicting a shocking upset there next month.