Sunday, October 24, 2010

Sprint Cup 2010: Race 32 -- Johnson's Lead Reduced to Six

What couldn’t have gone better for Denny Hamlin in his home state of Virginia? To pull out a win at Martinsville took the wind off Jimmie Johnson’s sails with Talladega, perhaps the most notorious blender on the circuit, ahead. Meanwhile, Kevin Harvick should feel proud too qualifying poorly but finishing 3rd ahead of Jimmie Johnson. Johnson owes teammate, Mark Martin, a good “at-a-boy” for sneaking into second cutting Harvick’s points’ gain by one top position. Don’t feel too sorry for Jimmie Johnson. If he keeps on finishing 5th for the rest of the season, what’s to worry?

Jimmie Johnson remains in first place six points ahead of Denny Hamlin. What a difference Johnson not leading a lap makes! Kevin Harvick improves his striking distance now at sixty two points behind Johnson. While Kyle Busch moved up in the standings to 4th, he remains -172 points to Johnson too far to catch up barring an unprecedented catastrophe for the #48 team.

Also worth noting, Dale Earnhardt Jr. finally enjoyed a top ten finish in 7th. Kasey Kahne making his debut run with the Red Bull team finished 14th. Given all the controversy surrounding his former team, Richard Petty racing, A.J. Allmendinger finished 12th while Paul Menard gave the struggling operation 13th place finish. Meanwhile, Aric Almirola brought in to pilot the #9 car for the rest of the season, finished 21st.
Welcome back Ken Schrader! He drove the #26 Air National Guard Ford to its best finish of the year, 18th.

At the bottom of the chase, things couldn’t have gone much worse for Greg Biffle, a distant 33rd finish and last place driver, Clint Bowyer, only managed a 38th finish grouped with all the quitters.

Race conditions were perfect with clear, warm weather. The wonderful Rockingham tradition continues while Denny Hamlin must be thinking, “Geez, what can I do with another beautiful grandfather’s clock?

Father time will determine after the next four races if Hamlin has bigger gains to celebrate. He’s clearly in the picture right now.


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