Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: 2009 Autism Speaks 400 at Dover Edition

Scott Impresses

Jimmie Johnson’s win in this week’s Cup Series event at Dover may not have been a surprise, but the results across the two other national series at the 1-mile oval certainly were. Brad Keselowski was in the right spot at the right time in Saturday’s Nationwide race when Joey Logano got into Kyle Busch, who was restarting from the lead with just a handful of laps to go. It was only career win No. 3 for Keselowski in the series, who is expected to make the full-time jump to Sprint Cup in 2010.

While Keselowski has been in the public eye since his upset win at Talladega one month ago, Saturday’s rain-delayed Truck Series race produced the first career win for another promising young talent. In just his second full season, 21-year-old Brian Scott utilized late-race pit strategy to pick up his first NASCAR checkered flag, and in the process jumped into the top five in points, just 107 out of the lead.

See also
Tracking the Trucks: 2009 AAA Insurance 200 at Dover

Scott posted seven top 10s in 25 starts last season but has been on a tear early in 2009 with four top 10s and one win in his first seven starts. It’s pretty safe to say Keselowski is a “can’t miss” prospect, but Scott may be one of the few young guns to keep an eye on in the Truck Series as he climbs the NASCAR ranks.

Tire or contact?

Speaking of young guns, I’ve heard a couple of people blame Logano for the late-race contact with Kyle Busch that essentially gave the win to the No. 88 team. I’ve been a Logano critic since the hype machine first fired up, but there is absolutely no validity to those thoughts that the contact was all on him. Busch was restarting with a tire going down and when he drove it off into turn 1, he had to get off the gas to not lose the car… forcing Logano to get into the back of him. That left the move as nothing more than a racing accident. It’s that simple.

As it is, the contact also took any chance of a win away from the No. 20 team in what’s been an impressive season for Logano in Nationwide to date. It’s not that Busch didn’t have any reason to be upset at his 17th-place finish, though – it closed the deficit between Busch and Carl Edwards in the standings to just 40 points.

The debut that wasn’t

This week was supposed to be the Nationwide debut of a fourth generation Earnhardt, Jeffrey, but everything that could go wrong, did go wrong for the 19-year-old. After crashing his No. 31 Rick Ware Racing entry during a mock qualifying lap in practice, he turned around and failed to post a good enough time in qualifying to get into the field on Saturday.

Expectations are astronomically greater for anybody named Earnhardt in this sport, and perhaps the grandson of Dale Earnhardt felt the need to squeeze a little too much speed out of his car. At least he’ll have up to seven more starts this season in hopes of gaining experience before running for Rookie of the Year honors in 2010.

Davis finally gets a break

It’s hard to find a racing prospect who’s had as tough of luck as 18-year-old Marc Davis. Davis’s career began as a developmental driver for Joe Gibbs Racing, but after a number of setbacks he has since had to compete with a family-owned team just to be on the track. His equipment hasn’t always been top notch, but that all changed when Braun Racing announced this week that he will pilot the No. 10 Nationwide car in six races this season. He finished 34th this weekend in his first race with the team but will have another chance to impress other owners June 6 at Nashville.

Frontstretch LIVE BLOG comment of the race

Each week, I will further expand on some of the more interesting fan comments from our weekly Frontstretch LIVE Cup race blog. Here’s one of the more interesting comment’s from this week’s edition:

Yeah, I think Kyle should not have chimed in on the (No.) 88 problems. He needs to focus on getting to the Chase with JGR, not Hendrick.  – Speeddemon787 on Kyle Busch taking a jab at Dale Earnhardt Jr. this week.

See also
Holding a Pretty Wheel: The Time is Now for Dale Earnhardt Jr. as Tony Eury Jr. Departs

I may be in the minority, but I for one had nothing against Busch’s comments about Junior. Busch may be arrogant and cocky, but he’s not stupid. We’ve all said the sport needs a great rivalry, and what better rivalry than NASCAR’s bad boy and NASCAR’s golden boy… it’s exciting and could help both the sliding ticket sales and TV ratings. But while Busch will undoubtedly make the Chase in the No. 18 car, it is Junior who must run up front – no matter the crew chief – to keep feeding the rivalry.

P.S.: Our live blog pops up again next week! Come join the fun!

Notes to Ponder

  • One for the owner-drivers: With his runner-up finish, Tony Stewart became the first owner-driver to lead the points since 1992.
  • The FOX Cup: FOX awarding the FOX Cup to Stewart after the race was pretty silly. That trophy won’t be on Stewart’s mantle, it’ll be in the trash.
  • Speaking of FOX: Say goodbye to Digger and friends! Dover marked the last time we’ll have to see the furry creature in 2009 as TNT takes over broadcasting duties starting next week.
  • The new Dodge engine: Kasey Kahne finally got the new Dodge engine under the hood and picked up his second consecutive top 10. Could we see a late Chase run for the No. 9 team?
  • Junior and McGrew: The new driver/crew chief pairing resulted in a much-improved 12th-place finish. Don’t look too much into it just yet, though, as McGrew was appointed crew chief for this week only after Keselowski failed to make the race.

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The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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