Thursday , February 11 2016
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Thinkin’ Out Loud

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Brickyard 400 Race Recap

*In a Nutshell* – The Brickyard 400… the ultimate example of sizzle over steak. *Dramatic Moment* – One lazy evening this week, I painted a model car body for a project I’m working on. Watching the paint dry was more exciting than Sunday’s “race.” *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* They’ll likely be talking about *the Olympics,* not Sunday’s farce of a race. How bad was this event? By lap 18, there was a 17-second gap between the leader and the tenth-place driver. It might not have been a great race, but Indy certainly earned the award for the *most ridiculous name of a race* this year. The event was officially _The 19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records._ Oh, and if you watched at home, thanks to our buds at ESPN they were showing the _19th Annual Crown Royal Presents the Curtis Shaver 400 at The Brickyard Powered by Big Machine Records telecast presented by Golden Corral._ Read More »

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

*The Key Moment* – Denny Hamlin dominated much of the race but miscommunication in the pits dropped him to fourteenth. Kasey Kahne inherited the lead and with clean air on the nose of his Chevy drove to an easy win. *In a Nutshell* – The race is not always to the swift nor the battle to the strong. *Dramatic Moment* – Hamlin’s determined drive over those final laps to get back to the lead was something to watch, especially at a track where passing is so difficult. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Firecracker 400 Race Recap

*The Key Moment* – Kasey Kahne gave Tony Stewart just enough of a push to slip him by the dynamic duo of Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle. Seconds later, Kahne was knocked sideways all pandemonium broke out behind him, handing Stewart his third Cup victory of 2012. *In a Nutshell* – It took awhile to get going but the end of the race featured more violence and mayhem than anything outside a Bruce Willis movie. You gotta love the plate tracks. (No, quite frankly I don’t.) *Dramatic Moment* – Those last eight laps were like lighting a fuse and just waiting for the powder keg to blow. Read More »

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

*In a Nutshell* – If you can’t say something nice, don’t say anything at all. Well, um, the traffic was a whole lot better than last year during a weekend of three tiresome and tepid races. *Dramatic Moment* – There was a protracted and well-driven battle between Jimmie Johnson and Denny Hamlin around the two-thirds mark of the race, one that eventually went the No. 48’s way. Kasey Kahne’s headlong rush to the front in the waning stages was fun to watch, even if a lot of drivers were letting him by because they were worried about having enough fuel to finish the race. Read More »

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

_Editor's Note: Matt McLaughlin is off this week. He'll be back next Monday for Kentucky._ *The Key Moment* - Michael Waltrip Racing had a coming out party at Sonoma. The organization led 86 of the 112 laps with Clint Bowyer doing the majority of the work with 71 of those 86 laps. The race went two extra circuits thanks to a late-race spin but Bowyer held off charges from Kurt Busch and Tony Stewart over the last two spins around the road course to notch his sixth victory of his career and third in the history of MWR. Read More »

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

*In a Nutshell* – Junior wins again and all is sweetness and light around the globe. In fact I predict tomorrow we’ll see Romney and Obama sharing a single root beer float with two straws at the local Rexall and deciding the election by thumb wrestling. I predict the Iranians will give up their nuclear ambitions, North Korea will schedule democratic elections, the stock market will rise 5000 points and the Carpenters “Close To You” will soar back to the top of the Billboard charts. (For you non-88 fans, pssst, I agree, the end of the race was about as boring as it gets.) Read More »

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

*The Key Moment* – With under four laps to go, race leader Mark Martin bobbled just enough that second place Joey Logano was able to execute a perfect bump and run to retake the lead. *In a Nutshell* – A new track surface, a new race distance, and the youngest and oldest Cup drivers competing hammer and tongs for a win. *Dramatic Moment* – The final ten laps featured some of the best racing of the season. It sure did look like Martin (who isn’t competing for a title) and Logano (who only had an outside chance of making it to the Chase prior to his win) were actually battling for the victory, not just willing to settle for a good points day. Read More »

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

*The Key Moment* – Jimmie Johnson aced the final restart, despite a concerted charge by Kevin Harvick to his inside to win a race he dominated for much of the afternoon. *In a Nutshell* – Yeah, it wasn’t classic Dover, but sometimes a driver and team hit the right setup for a particular day and they dominate. It’s been that way since stock car racing began. *Dramatic Moment* – Jeff Gordon had what might have been the best car on the track. He stalked, ran down and passed Johnson for the lead only to have to surrender it and head to the pits to have a loose wheel tightened. Were it not for a pit road miscue, we might actually have had an exciting race. Read More »

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

*In a Nutshell* – It wasn’t a particularly good race, but what it lacked in drama it made up for in length. Sort of. This year’s edition of the World 600 was actually the shortest ever at just three hours and 51 minutes. *Dramatic Moment* – Around lap 317, Kahne and Greg Biffle staged a brief side-by-side battle up front. Kyle Busch had the best short run car, Biffle the best intermediate run car, and Kahne the best long run car. Rarely were they ever driving the same speed at the same time. Those last 100 miles this year were completely superfluous and devoid of interest. Read More »

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

*The Key Moment* – On the final restart, Matt Kenseth started beside Jimmie Johnson but buzzed his tires trying to get up to speed. That allowed Johnson an easy getaway and once the No. 48 car was back in clean air, it was time to put out the fire and call in the dogs. *In a Nutshell* – Oops. Back to the drawing board at Gimmickry Inc. *Dramatic Moment* – While the finish of the third segment was closer, the racing during the second segment appeared to be the most intense of the evening. The racing between Jamie McMurray and A.J. Allmendinger for the final transfer spot in the preliminary race was another highlight of the evening. Read More »