Monday , May 25 2015
Home / Thinkin’ Out Loud (page 20)

Thinkin’ Out Loud

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Shelby 427

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Shelby 427

*The Key Moment:* On lap 269, Kyle Busch nudged aside Clint Bowyer to take the lead. Busch, who had won the pole for the race, was forced to start out back after blowing an engine in practice -- so the accomplishment is much more impressive than it will appear in the record books. *In a Nutshell:* NASCAR wraps up its early season visit to the Mild, Mild West with another less than compelling race. *Dramatic Moment:* Saturday’s Nationwide race might have been the most unpredictable event in recent NASCAR history. Sunday’s race? Well, at least it wasn’t as bad as Fontana last week... and more people were on hand to catch the mediocrity. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Auto Club 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Auto Club 500

*The Key Moment:* Matt Kenseth’s crew was flawless all night, getting him off pit road first on the final sequence of pit stops. Despite Kenseth’s initial Charlie Brown-like resignation over the radio, he was able to hold off the No. 24 car. *In a Nutshell:* With all due apologies to Albert Hammond, “It never rains in Southern California, but boy don’t they warn you, that it bores, that it bores…” *Dramatic Moment:* For the last twenty laps, Jeff Gordon kept Matt Kenseth honest, but he apparently licked all the red off his candy too early in the run. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Daytona 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Daytona 500

*The Key Moment:* Matt Kenseth took the lead just as Aric Almirola spun to bring out the seventh caution of the race. Rain began falling before green flag racing could resume. *In a Nutshell:* For better or worse the 2009 Cup season is out of the gates. Let’s see how this nag is going to run down the stretch. *Dramatic Moment:* Action heated up as the race approached the halfway mark once threatening weather moved into the area. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *What in blazes was Dale Earnhardt, Jr. thinking* when he used up the No. 83 as a chew toy on lap 125? Even Junior’s most devoted fans have got to admit that amounted to an on-track mugging. Sure, Earnhardt was frustrated after a second unforced error in the pits -- but taking out half the field was uncalled for. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bud Shootout

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bud Shootout

*The Key Moment:* Kevin Harvick assumed the lead milliseconds before the caution flag flew, signaling the end of the race. *In a Nutshell:* With the convoluted new format and dearth of attendance and excitement Saturday night, is it time to just call this Shootout silliness off? *Dramatic Moment:* Waiting to see who was going to hit Greg Biffle next. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* The folks at Daytona said they were *lowering ticket prices* to put fans in the seats in this tough economy. Apparently, they didn’t lower them enough. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Ford 400

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Ford 400

*The Key Moment:* Carl Edwards ran out of gas as he coasted across the finish line to take his ninth Cup win of the season. *In a Nutshell:* Carl Edwards did all he could do, but Jimmie Johnson did all he had to do; and thus, the 2008 Cup season went out with a whimper, not a bang. *Dramatic Moment:* I’ve got six words here; B-O-R-I-N-G. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* So, how many *Cup team members will actually be given pink slips on Monday,* and how many teams will show up to race at Daytona in February? There’s a lot wrong with this sport today, but one thing *you cannot fault either Carl Edwards or Jimmie Johnson* for is showing class in defeat and victory. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Checker O’Reilly Auto Parts 500

*The Key Moment:* Jimmie Johnson held off a hungry Kurt Busch four times on restarts in the final 25 laps. *In a Nutshell:* Johnson put on a clinic, showing the rest of the garage area who is going to be this year’s champion - and why. *Dramatic Moment:* There was some good racing back in the pack. At the front? Not so much. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *Johnny Benson leads Ron Hornaday by three points* going into next week’s Truck Series finale, and Clint Bowyer leads Carl Edwards by 56 points going into next weekend’s Nationwide finale. Here’s what’s odd about that: both of those series use the “classic” points system. So, a suggestion for NASCAR’s senior brass: check Brian into rehab and announce the death of the Chase format at this year’s NYC banquet. Some would argue that the Chase is working just fine - it’s keeping everyone’s focus off of how the Car of Sorrow is ruining the racing in the Cup Series. You know what they say... a camel is a horse designed by committee. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud : Dickies 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud : Dickies 500

*The Key Moment* – Carl Edwards soft-pedaled 113.5 miles out of a tank of gas to cruise across the finish line first at half throttle. *In a Nutshell* – Edwards day-long domination forced his competitors to use risky strategy in the pits late in the race, but Edwards and the No. 99 bunch trumped them all with the riskiest strategy of them all at the end. *Dramatic Moment* – Waiting to see if the No. 99 was going to run out of gas on the final two laps. Or, waiting to see if Texas Rangers were going to arrest David Gilliland for attempted murder after he wrecked the No. 42 car. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Well, I sure hope they aren’t talking about stock car racing Monday and Tuesday. *This year’s presidential election is a crossroads for the greatest nation in the history of the world.* Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pep Boys Auto 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Pep Boys Auto 500

*The Key Moment:* Leader Denny Hamlin spun his tires on the penultimate restart, allowing Carl Edwards to power by him on the outside exiting Turn 2. *In a Nutshell:* The new car and an old race track… a combination that goes together like peanut butter and spinach. *Dramatic Moment:* Watching Jimmie Johnson roar from eleventh to second in the final three laps, taking advantage of fresh tires. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* What are people going to be talking about around the water cooler this week? The presidential race, the economy, Wall Street, the World Series, the NFL, and *just about anything but the Chase,* an ill thought-out gimmick that hasn’t raised the pulse of the general population one iota. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: TUMS Quik Pak 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: TUMS Quik Pak 500

*The Key Moment:* Jimmie Johnson got an excellent jump on that final Green-White-Checker restart and kept Dale Earnhardt, Jr. off his rear bumper. *In a Nutshell:* Stock cars running belly to the ground, bumper-to-bumper into the fading sunlight of an autumn afternoon. It just doesn’t get any better. *Dramatic Moment:* Well, it's not the Chase, is it? Dale Earnhardt, Jr. seemed to have Johnson’s number late in the race, but a series of cautions ended his chances. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* What has *Jimmie Johnson figured out about Martinsville* nobody else can pick up on? For that matter, what has the entire Hendrick organization figured out about Martinsville? Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bank of America 500

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bank of America 500

*The Key Moment:* Jeff Burton and Jimmie Johnson waged a spirited battle for a few laps after the final restart before points leader Johnson apparently decided discretion was the better part of valor. *In a Nutshell:* Wasn’t this new car supposed to end the era of cars up front with clean air on the nose running away from the field, with previously fast cars mired in traffic unable to pass anything but the time? Newsflash: It didn’t work. Film at 11. *Dramatic Moment:* There was some good racing back in the pack and after every restart, with track position so key and passing so difficult. The short-lived Burton / Johnson battle probably takes top honors. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Maybe they ought to add some *reverse light decals* to the rear of the 48 car because Jimmie Johnson seems to want to back his way into this championship. Read More »