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Thinkin’ Out Loud

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

*The Key Moment* - Dale Earnhardt, Jr. lost a left rear wheel off the No. 8 car moments after a Green/White/Checkered restart, sealing the win for race leader Jimmie Johnson. Honestly, he did - Johnson had gotten such a good jump that it was doubtful Carl Edwards would have caught him. *In a Nutshell* - Tepid processional racing for the first three quarters, with things heating up a bit towards the end. Welcome to the new brand of Cup racing. *Dramatic Moment* - When Denny Hamlin ran out of gas on a restart while leading the race, most of the drivers behind him had a sphincter-tightening moment. The last seven laps of the race were a mess, and it completely scrambled the finishing order of the race. A Green/White/Checkered flag finish at Atlanta - a track well noted for last lap passes - had the makings of a classic until Dale Jr. suffered his bizarre problem. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud: Subway 500

*The Key Moment* - Ryan Newman appeared ready to get around Jimmie Johnson; however, he had to back down when David Ragan's last lap spin caused the race to end under caution. *In a Nutshell* - Hand-to-hand short track combat…racing the way it ought to be. *Dramatic Moment* - A two lap shootout at Martinsville had every fan in the jam-packed grandstands on their feet. *What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* Unlike some other race tracks recently, there *weren't any empty seats at Martinsville*. Hmm. Is there a lesson there? It seems NASCAR's three remaining short tracks are perpetual sellouts. Read More »

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

*The Key Moment* - When Jeff Gordon buzzed the rear tires on the final restart, Clint Bowyer ran into the back of him, propelling the No. 24 forward rather than passing him. *In a Nutshell* - More of the same tepid brew. The finish was exciting, but you had to endure a lot of spread out processional racing for several hours to see it (and stay awake). *Dramatic Moment* - Whether the drama was real or manufactured as a ploy, that final restart had fans on their feet. Waiting to see if Kyle Busch was going to flat out park his soon-to-be former teammate on the penultimate restart to steal the win. It's not like there's a lot of love lost between Busch and Hendrick Motorsports. Read More »

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

*The Key Moment* - Clint Bowyer was trying to reel in Greg Biffle when Juan Pablo Montoya slapped the wall and blew a tire, forcing the race to end under caution. *In a Nutshell* - Grand Theft Auto Race. Biffle was unable to maintain the pace car's speed, but was still awarded the win. *Dramatic Moment* - Two field-decimating wrecks badly damaged the title hopes of several championship contenders shortly after the race restarted following the second rain delay. It's been a few weeks since we've seen three drivers racing hard for the lead, but that happened several times earlier in the race. Hmmm….they run the old cars, and fans see some good ol' racing. There's got to be a correlation there. Read More »

Matt McLaughlin’s Thinkin’ Out Loud : Sharpie 500

*2007 Bristol Night Race Recap* *The Key Moment* - Carl Edwards used the No. 55 car as a pick to pass Kasey Kahne on lap 335, and from there, he drove off into the night. *In a Nutshell* - A kinder, gentler Bristol? How are fans going to react to that? *Dramatic Moment* - There was an extended battle between Carl Edwards, Kasey Kahne, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. just after the 300-lap mark that provided the best action of the evening. *What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week* *OK, so it was a kinder, gentler Bristol...or maybe even Bristol Lite.* And some fans who came expecting to see the usual carnage aren't going to be happy. But as I see it, while two drivers dominated in the pack, there was some great side-by-side racing and a whole lot of passing...two things rarely seen at Bristol. Read More »