Wednesday, February 13, 2008

1st Victory in Two Years for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Bud Shootout

Well last Saturday was the 2008 Bud Shootout. It was filled with lots of good racing. Before I start talking about the race, I would like to talk about one of the practices that happened before the race got started. The final practice for the Bud Shootout was Friday night. It was jam packed with action. First it started off with Clint Bowyer spinning out Ryan Newman. That took out Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Ryan. So with the last practice, they had to pull out a new car which they had no driving time with. Then Tony Stewart tried to squeeze in next to the wall and Kurt Busch making it three-wide. There wasn't enough room, so they wrecked. It wasn't that bad though. Well when they were headed to pit road, Kurt started ramming into the side of Tony Stewart. They were immediately called to the "Oval Office", that's the NASCAR hauler. They were still bickering about it, and Tony allegedly threw a punch at Kurt. Anyway, they let them go and told them they would meet in the morning after everything had cooled down. The final punishment was both of them were put on a 6 week probation. And let's not forget this isn't the first ontrack confrontation they have had. Remember Bristol? lets just say that these two aren't the best of friends

Now for the actual race. It was great racing. I wasn't too pleased with Kasey Kahne. Absolutely no one would draft with him. They would shuffle him around until he was in the middle, and then no one would draft with him so he dropped to the back. It was very frustrating. I was rooting for Dale Jr. to win or Tony Stewart. Both of those would have been memorable. For Tony it would have meant that he won the Bud Shootout on his first try with Toyota. That ould have been huge for Toyota. On the other hand, for Dale Earnhardt Jr., it would have been even bigger. Dale Jr. did win. I was so excited for him. That was big. It was his first race with Hendrick Motorsports. Wow that right there says how great that team is. To be able to hire a new driver and then that driver to win "right outta the box"...that was great. He had been with the company his father founded, but left at the end of last season because of he and his stepmother, Teresa Earnhardt. I know that was tough for him, but man did it pay off. It was emotional to see him whenever he came to victory lane. Rick Hendrick was there. Everyone was there. It was cool. He was grinnin' from ear to ear. That is the first time we have seen a true smile on his face in a LONG time. They all talk about "Oh, I'm excited to be driving with this team...we're gonna have a great season.", but they say it with the dullest faces. This was amazing. I know he was happy. This was his first win since the middle of 2006. Let's not forget how he got the win Saturday night though. His teammate Jimmie Johnson bumped him twice, which was just enough to slide past Tony Stewart for the win. Hendrick Motorsports will be even better than last year.

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