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Thinkin’ Out Loud

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 World 600 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Dale Earnhardt Junior ran out of gas exiting the fourth corner on the final lap allowing Kevin Harvick to streak by and claim his third win of the season. *In a Nutshell* – I don’t think Moe, Larry and Curly could have done a worse job of officiating a race than NASCAR did tonight. But then NASCAR has a lot more than three stooges. *Dramatic Moment* – Waiting to see who was going to run out of gas on those final two laps. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2011 All-Star Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Carl Edwards' crew got him off pit road first after the final mandatory four-tire stop with ten to go. The No. 99 cruised to an All-Star Race victory from there. *In a Nutshell* – For all the pre-race hype concerning bad tempers, revenge, no remorse, paybacks and the gloves being off it was a pretty sedate date at Charlotte Saturday night. *Dramatic Moment* – This event was devoid of drama… utterly soulless without a hint of excitement. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Dover Spring Race Recap

_Editor's Note: Matt is off this week, attending his niece's graduation ceremonies. He'll be back for the All-Star Race; for this edition, our Bryan Keith fills in._ *The Key Moment* – Matt Kenseth took two tires and Mark Martin stayed out while leaders Jimmie Johnson, Carl Edwards and Clint Bowyer all took four during pit stops under caution on lap 364 after Juan Pablo Montoya backed into the turn 4 wall. Hey, being on probation and unable to hit other drivers, he needed to hit something. *In a Nutshell* – Mr. Five-Time and Concrete Carl traded the lead back and forth for much of the afternoon and were clearly the class of the field, but a late-race caution, everlasting tires and the importance of clean air won this race for those that opted to take two or no tires during the final cycle of pit stops. *Dramatic Moment* – Nothing that could compare to the fireworks and near firefight that broke out at Darlington last weekend... though seeing apprentice Matt Kenseth past grandmaster Mark Martin for the eventual win had to be refreshing for those two fan bases. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Darlington Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Darlington Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Brad Keselowski gave Regan Smith just enough of a shove on the final restart to keep him ahead of Carl Edwards on two fresher tires for the final two laps. *In a Nutshell* – Regan Smith, driving for an underfunded single-car team based out of Colorado scored the second big upset win of the season. *Dramatic Moment* – You knew those final two restarts were going to produce some bent fenders and frayed tempers but I don’t think anyone expected the fireworks that ensued at the end of the race. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Richmond-1 Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Richmond-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kyle Busch was able to stretch 107 laps out of a tank of fuel to drive to victory Saturday night. *In a Nutshell* – Perhaps it’s appropriate that on a weekend where gas prices soared north of four bucks in most parts of the nation, all three of Richmond’s marquee events were decided on fuel mileage. *Dramatic Moment* – Waiting to see who, if anyone, would run out of gas on those final laps. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Talladega-1 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – It came right down to those final few inches when Dale Earnhardt, Jr. pushed Jimmie Johnson across the line .002 seconds ahead of Clint Bowyer. *In a Nutshell* – A nice payoff after a long afternoon of mediocrity. *Dramatic Moment* – If Hollywood tried scripting a stock car race where eight drivers all finished within two car lengths of each other, nobody would buy the script. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* If these guys *aren’t going to race until the final five to ten laps,* then why is the race 188 laps long? Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Martinsville Spring Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Martinsville Spring Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – With four laps left, Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s car got just loose enough to allow Kevin Harvick to slip by for the win. Junior tried a classic crossover move to retake the lead but missed by a couple inches. *In a Nutshell* – Lots of lead changes, lots of bent fenders and frayed tempers, huge clouds of tire smoke, bunches of passes for the lead amongst different drivers and an exciting finish. It just doesn’t get much better than that. *Dramatic Moment* – If you weren’t on your feet for those final ten laps, contact your doctor. You may be dead. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Fontana Race Recap

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Fontana Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kevin Harvick got up on Jimmie Johnson’s bumper entering turn three on the final lap to get the No. 48 loose. That opened the top lane and Harvick drove jauntily on by for the win. *In a Nutshell* – 195 laps of terrible followed by five laps of terrific. *Dramatic Moment* – A lot of fans at home must have been startled out of a nice nap by all the cheering there at the end. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Probably most of them will be talking about *basketball*. It’s all anyone around here is discussing and it drives me nuts every March. Read More »