Sunday, September 24, 2023

Nascar Nation 5.10.2006

By Rick Racela

Having a dominating car all night, one driver felt that he could stay out while the remainder of the cars pitted. The car in second at the time pitted along with everyone else except the overconfident leader. When the race ended, the car that was in second was in victory lane, while the car that was leading and stayed out finished third.
The moral of the story? Always take tires with the rest of the pack, and never underestimate a driver looking for his first victory in 28 races.   Those two drivers were Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr., Harvick being the overconfident driver and Earnhardt being the victor of the Crown Royal 400 at Richmond International Raceway.
His first win since July of last season came and an excellent time for Earnhardt and his team. Many experts felt that once the number eight Budweiser team got a victory and that taste of winning again, his season would light up and Junior would continue to win.
Earnhardt failed to make NASCAR’s Chase for the Nextel Cup last season, but in victory lane Saturday night he felt quite confident.
“I feel real comfortable about making the chase,” he said. “Even if we find ourselves in the middle of the summer slipping, I think something is going to click in crew chief Tony Eury Jr.’s head that he’ll make sure that we get to where we need to be.”
He is in the spot he needs to be now; sitting in sixth, 216 behind leader Jimmie Johnson in the standings. He was ninth at this point last year, without a win and 307 points back of the leader.
With Junior crossing the line first, Virginia native Denny Hamlin finished an impressive second. Hamlin was driving with an injured hand due to an injury sustained while horsing around with his team near their hauler, an injury which required Hamlin to get 21 stitches.
Kevin Harvick led the most laps and had the car to beat, but do to a late race gamble, finished third. Greg Biffle recovered from a pit road mishap to finish fourth, and Kyle Busch rounded out the top five. Martin Truex Jr. was running 15th when his car suffered engine failure. He finished a career worst 41st.
Busch Series:
After a two-plus hour rain delay, the Childress Racing team continued its Busch Series dominance with first, second, and seventh place finishes in the Circuit City 250.  Kevin Harvick again became the victor, but not until he waited with others for over two hours in a rain delay to get the race in, which ended at about 1:30 a.m. on Saturday morning.
The NASCAR FX crew had some fun with the drivers during the delay, timing NASCAR’s best talker, Kenny Wallace, the amount of time it would take him to answer three questions (Wallace beat his own record, going over five minutes and 20 seconds). The TV crew also counted the number of times Michael Waltrip said his sponsors’ names, something he is widely known for, in a five-minute interview (Waltrip spoke seven different sponsors over 20 times).
Harvick held off a late charge from his teammate Jeff Burton to win his third Busch race out of the last four. Burton finished second; teammates Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle finished third and fourth, respectively; and Ryan Newman finished in fifth place.
 Coming Up:
The Busch and Nextel Cup teams head to the Lady in Black, Darlington Speedway, for another weekend of racing under the lights. Turn on the TV and don’t touch that dial! Don’t miss one second of the exciting racing from Darlington!
Bruce Knoll, 14, of Eldora, can be contacted by email at bknoll

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