Monday, May 30, 2011

Race Fan's Paradise

Sebastian Vettel

Yesterday was a race fan’s dream day.  As stated by Darrell Waltrip, “I had breakfast in Monaco, lunch in Indy, and supper in Charlotte,” which most race fans did.   When “breakfast” came around, Sebastian Vettel won the Formula 1 Grand Prix.  From there, we headed to Indianapolis for “lunch,” not to be disappointed by the race that was served to us.  The finish was a disappointing one for J.R. Hildebrand, who crashed in the last corner on the last lap; allowing Dan Wheldon to win. 

Dan Wheldon
Dinner anyone? For that, we head south to Race City U.S.A.  for the Coca Cola 600, NASCAR’s longest and most physically and mentally challenging race.  Brad Keselowski led the Sprint Cup field to the Green Flag.  Lap 3, Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who replaced Trevor Bayne in the No. 21, scraped the wall, not having much damage.  Brad Keselowski led for the first seven laps, until Cousin Carl came through and took the lead.  On lap 30, Greg Biffle begins to complain that the cool box needed to be changed because the car is getting too hot.  Carl Edwards accumulated a 4.4 second lead over A.J. Allmendinger before the first caution came out on lap 74 for debris in Turn 1 and when the green flag waved, Jeff Burton led the field.  The second caution came out when Bobby Labonte spun in Turn 4, allowing David Ragan to lead the pack back to the green.  By lap 104, the track was a cool, 102 degrees. 

On lap 108, Matt Kenseth, who lead for a good portion of the race, passed David Ragan for the lead, until lap 171, when debris on the track caused the third caution, allowing Marcos Ambrose to lead for five laps.  When Jamie McMurray showed up, he quickly snatched the lead for five laps, before Matt Kenseth came back.    The night ended early for Jamie McMurray when on lap 182, his engine blew; for Casey Mears and Landon Cassill when the two crashed into each other on lap 188; for Paul Menard when he hit the wall in Turn 2 on lap 240  and for David Starr when he hit the wall on lap 289.  The worst wreck occurred on lap 302 between Mark Martin and David Gilliland, collecting Ryan Newman as well.  When Carl Edwards went below Gilliland, Gilliland moved up the track into Mark Martin, somehow connecting the two cars.  All three of the drivers got out of their cars safely.  On lap 396, the fourteenth caution came out for Jimmie Johnson when his engine blew up.   
Kevin Harvick's winning burnout

*Images from Google*

When lap 398 rolled around, Steve Letarte told Dale Jr. that he was about a half lap of being able to finish the race.  On lap 400, Kasey Kahne was leading until Dale Earnhardt, Jr. raced past him to take the position.    On the final lap, 500 feet away from taking the checkered flag, Jr. ran out of fuel, allowing Kevin Harvick, who hated his car all night and felt like he had no chance of winning, to win.  

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