Home / Thinkin’ Out Loud (page 20)

Thinkin’ Out Loud

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

*The Key Moment:* Chad Knaus’ questionable call to outfit Johnson’s No. 48 with four tires on the final stop paid off. Miraculous holes appeared before his Chevy like nothing I’ve heard of since Moses parted the Red Sea. *In a Nutshell:* Good ol'-fashioned NASCAR racing with prolonged side-by-side battles for the lead and throughout the top 10, fenders rubbing, tires smoking, and the fans on their feet. Yeah, this is why even us cynical old son of a bitches keep watching every week. *Dramatic Moment:* If your heart wasn’t pounding for those final ten laps, you may want to make an appointment with a cardiologist.

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Atlanta

*The Key Moment:* Kurt Busch held off Matt Kenseth and Juan Pablo Montoya on the final restart to score his second consecutive spring Atlanta race win. *In a Nutshell:* Where were the elephants and the clowns? If you’re going to have a parade you need to have elephants and clowns. *Dramatic Moment:* You’d have thought that double wide restarts with two laps to go would have spiced things up. Not so much as it turns out.

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Las Vegas Recap

*The Key Moment:* With sixteen laps left to run Jimmie Johnson, shod with four fresh tires, passed race leader Jeff Gordon, who had just two (and two worn ones) to take the lead and eventually the win. *In a Nutshell:* Man, I’ve seen more damned passing on a merry-go-round. *Dramatic Moment:* It was an afternoon totally bereft of drama, a good nap spoiled. An utterly insipid excuse of a sporting event.

Read More »

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

*The Key Moment:* Kevin Harvick reeled in and ran down race leader Jimmie Johnson but slapped the wall with three laps to go, breaking his momentum and handing the victory to the No. 48. *In a Nutshell:* Foul weather in the area and uncertainty as to whether the race would run its full distance ignited something fans have never seen during a Cup event at Fontana before … real racing.

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: 2010 Daytona 500

*The Key Moment:* Greg Biffle gave his friend and former teammate Jamie McMurray a vital push down the backstretch on the final lap to propel the No. 1 car to the win. *In a Nutshell:* Daytona International: Putting the “Car” back in “Carnage.” *Dramatic Moment:* Kevin Harvick’s take no prisoners move to the inside on the restart following the eighth caution wasn’t pretty, but it was effective. Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s headlong charge from tenth to second on the final lap had the fans on their feet. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* If the Daytona 500 is indeed the “Super Bowl” of racing, as some term it, having *the field of play come apart in the middle of the race* is completely unacceptable. So the folks that own it might be ready to repave it in 2012 after a mere 34 years? They could have saved themselves some egg on the face and done it after last year’s Firecracker 400.

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Bud Shootout

*The Key Moment:* Kevin Harvick, on fresh tires, took the lead on the final restart right before mayhem occurred behind him, leading to a late caution in one of the most bizarre Green-White-Checkered finishes since… well, when Harvick won the Daytona 500 in 2007.

Read More »

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

*The Key Moment:* Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin made quick work of Kurt Busch on the final restart, and Hamlin prevailed in the battle of the JGR teammates to drive to an uncontested win. *In a Nutshell:* With a whimper, not a bang, the 2009 Cup season finished, imploding upon itself with a very unpleasant sneezing and wheezing as the calliope collapsed to the ground. *Dramatic Moment:* Unfortunately, most of them occurred at the midpoint of Saturday’s Nationwide race, but watching Juan Pablo Montoya run down Tony Stewart to deliver a little retribution off his front bumper wasn't bad.

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Phoenix Fall Race Recap

*The Key Moment:* Johnson’s crew got their driver off pit road first on the final set of pit stops. Once the No. 48 car had clean air on its snout, it was unstoppable. *In a Nutshell:* Jimmie Johnson drove another nail in his competition’s coffin with a dominating drive. *Dramatic Moment:* There weren’t many in a race that started out with some enthusiasm but quickly petered out altogether. Johnson and Kurt Busch actually waged a somewhat stirring battle early in the event. The side-by-side restarts at the narrow Phoenix track made for some physical racing and a pair of big wrecks. *What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *Cup Racing At Phoenix.* Name that acronym!

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Texas Fall Race Recap

*The Key Moment:* Kyle Busch ran out of gas with two laps to go, handing the lead to his brother Kurt, who used extraordinary mileage to drive to his second win of the season. *In a Nutshell:* Terrible television timing, Busch brothers battle, Jimmie Johnson in a jam, fans feel frustrated, NASCAR necessitates No-Doz. (Or, if you prefer: frustratingly unwieldy cars keep torpedoing historically interesting sport. Someone help! It‘s terrible.) *Dramatic Moment:* I dunno. I guess watching race cars run out of gas just isn’t to my liking. With the Brothers Busch leading all but 13 laps, and the leader and second place drivers often separated by a straightaway, I was nearly lulled comatose Sunday. But, like they say, your mileage may vary.

Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Talladega Fall Race Recap

*The Key Moment:* When the stuff hit the fan Jamie McMurray was at the front of the pack, seemingly as surprised to be there as anyone was to see him take the checkers. *In a Nutshell:* 183 laps of tedium followed by five laps of incomprehensible, stomach churning insanity posing as some facsimile of a race. Terrible, simply terrible. Utterly so, without any redeeming social value. *Dramatic Moment:* A long, long pause waiting to get word on Ryan Newman’s condition after his terrible tumble. At the plate tracks I usually sit and wait to watch to see if the rotors start turning on the Med-evac helicopter after an incident. If they don’t, everyone is OK. If they do, someone is not. If they start turning then stop, the worst possible outcome has occurred. Welcome to Talladega, future home of the “Worst Possible Outcome 500.” Your ticket to the race comes with a complimentary toe-tag.

Read More »