Last Sunday, at Auto Club Speedway in Fontana CA, the real 2010 NASCAR season began. The Daytona 500, after all, is a spectacle, an aberration, a crap-shoot, and where one finishes there is a no indication of future performance. ((Yes, I’m talking to YOU Derrike Cope)). The Auto Club 500 last Sunday was a more accurate race for soothsayers and pundits to begin with in the their various divinations of how the season will unfold.
Jamie McMary continued his Daytona momentum by grabbing the pole, but the air rushed out of that balloon as he finished a more expected 17th. Now don’t get me wrong, the move back to Gannasi is a good thing for McMary, and he will have some good finishes as the season rolls on. But now the real season will begin to sort itself out. LasVegas will be the next puzzle piece to be fit into place.
At Califormia, the Roushketeers, with the exception of Dave Ragan ((23rd)), did well. Matt, with new crew chief Todd Parrott, finished 7th. Biff was 10th. The Carl ((who just had his first kid this week, a little 8 lb 4 oz canned ham named Anne—congrats to Carl and his wife)) finished 13th. My new favourite lout Kevin Harvick is getting himself in stride and finished 2nd (more on that after the bump). And the Jeff Burton (3rd) bandwagon is starting to get fired up. Monsieur Bowyer finished 8th. Nice to see all the Childress boys in the top 10, at least for one descending series of moments. Kurt Bsch had a solid car….Tony Stewart finished strong, as did Joey Logano ((who rebounded nicely from Saturday’s little spin through the weed)), and Mark Martin, and all were top 10.
But as is well known, there are machinations, and the there are evil machinations. There is ability, and then there is damned ability. But none of those count for much more than what they would ordinarily count for when you also have luck.
It was Ralph Waldo Emerson who said, “Shallow men believe in luck.” It was Jimmie Johnson who was the beneficiary of that luck, whether he or his erstwhile colleague Mr. Chad Knaus believe in luck or not. At the end of the day, it was naught a matter of belief. It was a matter of fact. And a matter of time, 2/10ths of second to be exact. One lap 225, with Jimmie Johnson in the pits on a green flag pit stop, Brad Kesolowski spun the #12 AAA Insurance Dodge out on the frontstretch, bringing out a caution. Johnson completed his pit stop, and barely made it out of the pits just a tiny bit ahead of race leader Jeff Burton…replays showed he made it out ahead of Burton by maybe a foot. This left Johnson on the tail end of the lead lap cars. And had Burton driven maybe 3 or 4 mph faster while the field strolled around under the caution, Johnson would have come out the pits a lap down. Instead, he was on the tail end of the lead lap, and when the rest of lead lap cars came into the pit on lap 226, Johnson inherited the lead. And the rest is in the history books.
It was luck, really. Luck. And if that makes me shallow, then so be it. There are at least 2 0r 3 or 42 other guys who can join me in the shallow end of the pool then. Burton and Harvick both come to mind. And after the restart, Johnson got off to a good start, as would anyone who was starting at the front on that restart. Harvick was able to run Johnson down, and he tried to go high around him. But my thinking is that that was a tactical mistake on Harvick’s part. He should have held on longer and tried a low pass. But fuck it. It wasn’t evil machinations or damned ability, it was simply a matter of luck. 2 focking 10ths of second.
In the luck of the chase.
Comes the deer to my singing.”
Now speaking of Shallow Men…and more the way they played than for any belief in luck, my Chelsea Blues took a hard strike to the nads today at Stamford Bridge. And yes, Hilario was filling in for the injured Peter Cech at goal and he performed poorly…conceding 2 goals that Cech would most likely have stopped. And yes, Ashley Cole is out with a broken ankle and on and on. But still, it was no excuse. My Blues played poorly. They all went out to mow the meadow and instead, the goat fucked them all in the ass. Drogba today, like Rooney last Saturday at Everton, had a lackluster game. And Chelsea, was piss poor on defense. I could blame it on injuries, and a let down after playing in Italy, and poor play at goal by Hilario, but I won’t. There would no good excuse if they’d lost like that at City Stadium let alone at Stamford Bridge. None.Rise above lads, rise above.
Both Michael Ballack and Juliano Belletti were sent off for chippy red card penalties. So basically City was on the power play for the final descending minutes of the match. And to be honest, it seemed to me for most of the match like Man City had about twice as many men on the pitch than Chelsea. They played tight defense, blocked passing lanes, and frustrated the piss out of the Blues who made way too many stupid penalties and stupid mistakes for a team of their calibre. After that 2-4 thrashing at Stamford Bridge, they are lucky to still be atop the Premier League table 1 point ahead of Man U.
Las Vegas is the city built on luck. Bad luck, of course. But luck all the same. I won’t trot out any of the tired cliches here if I can help it. I’ve been to Vegas a couple of times, and as for gambling, I can take it or leave it. Leave the shallow men to their own devices.
Out at the Las Vegas Motor Speedway for Sunday’s Shelby American, Kurt Busch tees it up on the pole. It’s his home track and he set a record qualifying speed. A blistering 188.719 mph. Good for him. I like Kurt Busch. And while I’d prefer to celebrate a Matt Kenseth win with a shot or 2 of Crown Royal, I won’t mind a bit if Kurt takes the checkers on Sunday. Instead of that Crown Royal, I’d glad pour out my 67% full pint of SPATEN Bock and fill that pint with ice and MILLER LITE for a good ol’ Polish Victory Lap. Matt Kenseth is my favorite driver, Kurt Busch is my second favorite. Although I DO wish that someday he would be sponsored by a better brand of beer.
Now for you shallow men out there who wish splash a little cash on this, Paddy Power has Kurt at 16/1 odds for the win. I don’t know the Vegas line, nor to do I care. But I guess if DID live in Ireland instead of Wisconsin, I just might put a fiver on that.
As for my third favourite driver, Ryan Newman…well…something’s gotta get back on track with him. Maybe he should talk Smoke into letting him drive something diesel powered, like a 2010 DAF XF 105, or an EMD SD40-2. Seriously though, I’m not sure what’s amiss with Newman these days, besides most everything. It might be that Stewart Haas is starting to hit the sophomore slump, with Newman leading that charge. Or maybe it’s just bad luck. After all, he was running in the top 10 at Fontana when his engine blew up. He was caught up in someone else’s foolishness at Daytona. And now there’s Vegas, where Newman has rarely run very well…only 1 top 5 there, and that was back in 2002. His crew chief, Tony Gibson is optimistic about this race, but his optimism might be well founded since Newman tees it up 3rd. Boss Man Smoke tees off 9th. I’d like to see Newman do well. 3rd place behind Kurt and Matt would be perfect.
And if that focking Jimmie Johnson and his damned ability and his dumbfuck luck win again, I will probably just shoot myself in the head and call it a season. Word to Dave Blaney…”You’re going to start and park anyway…can’t you just put Jimmie Johnson into the wall on your way to the garage?? Is that too much to ask??” *flail*
And in completely unrelated news, the Savior of NASCAR qualified her #7 Go Daddy Chevrolet 37th for this evening’s Sam’s Town 300. She qualified, as did 5 of her fellow drivers, on owner’s points and not speed. 176.638 mph is not a very swift qualifying time. Then again, Kenny Wallace, Brian Kesolowski and the ever scintillating Tony Raines could fare no better. So we shall see how the learning curve swings tonight. Bring it home in one piece on the lead lap and all will be well. That’s all I ask from Danica Patrick tonight. I hope for her sake, that good luck in Vegas lies in odd numbers.