Saturday, April 9, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 7 -- Shoot 'Em Out Texas Style

David Ragan is a driver who needs a break. Showing early promise as a young driver for Roush-Fenway replacing Mark Martin in the famous #6 car, he started out looking like a sure talent but has floundered the last two years with an assortment of troubles many not his fault but the results have not been good. 2011 has looked more promising so far at times and no time was better than qualifying for the Samsung Mobile 500 at the Texas Motor Speedway winning his first poll in the Sprint Cup Series. On the outside poll, more team support with teammate, Carl Edwards. In fact, three out of four of the top qualifiers are Roush boys with Matt Kenseth in 4th. Clint Bowyer snuck in to 3rd and another Earnhardt/Childress powered car starts 5th, Regan Smith, starts 5th. Greg Biffle is the chump of the Roush stable with his starting position being the 9th spot. Lots of top drivers would love that chump status.

Here are the top qualifiers:
1. David Ragan, #6, Ford
2. Carl Edwards, #99, Ford
3. Clint Bowyer, #33, Chevrolet
4. Matt Kenseth, #17 Ford
5. Regan Smith, #78, Chevrolet
6. Jimmie Johnson, #48, Chevrolet
7. Marco Ambrose, #9, Ford
8. Joey Logano, #20, Toyota
9. Greg Biffle, #16, Ford
10. Kurt Busch, #22, Dodge
11. Kyle Busch, #18, Toyota
12. Jeff Burton, #31, Chevrolet
13. Kasey Kahne, #4, Toyota
14. Juan Pablo Montoya, #42, Chevrolet
15. A.J. Allmendinger, #43, Ford
16. Ryan Newman, #39, Chevrolet
17. Jamie McMurray, #1, Chevrolet
18. Trevor Bayne, #21, Ford
19. Paul Menard, #27, Chevrolet
20. Michael McDowell, #66, Toyota

One can’t help but notice a freeloading scab is starting 20th and will take home a nice purse for doing nothing. Meanwhile, Travis Kvapil running for an outfit short on funds goes home having invested in everything needed to compete the race. This is another reason, NASCAR must eliminate start and park teams. Explain this situation to Kvapil’s sponsors who get NO exposure this weekend. J.J. Yeley, Mike Skinner, and Joe Nemechek are in the field 35th, 36th and 37th.

Tony Stewart’s frustration must be growing with only a 26th start. One wonders how much longer he and crew chief, Darian Grubb will continue. Dale Earnhardt Jr. and Kevin Harvick start 28th and 29th after battling for last week’s win. Jeff Gordon is banished it 32nd place.

In the race for the Texas six shooters as the grand prize, the 2011 season heads for its more typical 1 ½ mile tracks. Who’s a good bet this weekend? How about Carl Edwards who is off to a good start in 2009 and has three wins including a season’s sweep in 2008 at the Texas track? Denny Hamlin won both 2010 races at the track. Is Matt Kenseth ready for a win? He thinks so, and having won at Texas and having the most top 5’s of any driver might make him a good bet, but meanwhile wily old Mark Martin has the most top tens. Neither Kevin Harvick nor Kyle Busch has ever won at the track. Are they due? For folks who want to get anxious about Jimmie Johnson winning his 6th straight championship, he has found victory lane in the fall 2007 race. Weather will be in the low to mid 80’s with a chance of thunderstorms in the later half of the race.


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