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Seven Days: Vermont Car Blog

October 27, 2008

Bob Sr.'s Weekend Racing Highlights

Editor's Note: Bob Sr. is my dad. He has been racing cars for almost 50 years. If he's not racing on the weekend you'll find him watching auto racing on TV. Every Monday he'll post an update with highlights and the inside scoop on the previous weekend’s big races.

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NASCAR
Atlanta Motor Speedway


Carl Edwards drove a great race to finish first, capped by his spectacular back flip in Victory lane celebrating the win. He thought for sure his main rival for the Chase title, Jimmy Johnson the current points leader, must have been mired back in the field. Earlier in the race Johnson received a pit row penalty and was put way back in 30th place.

Not so... Jimmy steadily, but not too carefully, had fought his way back towards the front hoping to get up close enough for at least a top ten finish. During a caution for debris on the track with only 13 laps to go, Jimmy's crew chief Chad Knaus pulled the defining move of the race. He called Jimmy in, put on four fresh tires, told him to "put on your Superman cape and GO!" With only 8 laps left Johnson passed nine cars to finish an astonishing 2nd place. The drive of the race I thought.

No one was more surprised than Carl Edwards, who thought he had eaten into Johnson's point lead in a big way. Instead he found Jimmy had actually lengthened his lead by finishing second! Carl had aggressively passed Hamlin to take over first place with just a few laps to go and had no way of knowing where Jimmy had finished. When he was told in Victory Lane of Johnson’s feat he was at a loss for words. He told the interviewer "I didn’t want to hear that, you've really rained on my parade" shaking his head in disbelief.

Barring some sort of bizarre circumstances Jimmy Johnson is headed for his third straight championship. Over the final three weeks of the season the team is unlikely to have a complete breakdown. Not with crew chief Chad Knaus pulling the strings.

NIKON Indy 300
Surfers Paradise, Australia


In the last Indy car race of the year the three drivers from down under, Ryan Briscoe, Will Power and Indy Champ Scott Dixon, put on a great show for their loyal fans at this tight street circuit. Powers was the early leader and looked like the sure winner until an inexplicable mistake found him up against a barrier and too badly damaged to continue. He was the pole sitter. With Powers down Dixon and Briscoe were pretty much in their own race. Briscoe had to work hard to hold on to first for rest of the day with Dixon all over him. Dario Franchitti in his first drive back in an Indy race since returning from his NASCAR experience showed he has lost none of his open wheel expertise by finishing third. All in all a fitting finish for the 2008 season.

Danica early in the race spun her car on cold tires colliding with Helio Castroneves.  She probably did not appreciate the closeup camera coverage of her all too familiar tantrums when her car would not restart. Time to grow up.

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