texas 500- who to watch/ who will win
10 cup races at this track with 10 different winners. no one driver owns this track but with roush having won half the races with 5 different drivers, we'll just add it to the list of tracks he owns. we go from the race with perhaps the coolest trophy in sports to a venue where the top prize is a pair of boots. perhaps the suckiest trophy in all of sports. atleast texas gives out a hefty payout.
at one point several races ago, the fastest qualifying speed of the season was posted, topping atlanta, charlotte and both restrictor plate superspeedways. texas is the track that was giving indy car drivers (maybe it was cart- who cares) vertigo from driving so fast 2 or 3 years ago. there is much prestige in having the fastest track. see charlotte repaving pushing speeds up to 197.
point is texas is FAST and a second groove has been coming in slowly but surely. im watching for a good race with good passing up front and great passing 7-30 cars deep in the field. hopefully we wont struggle through another mile and a half, follow the leader, snoozefest.
mark martin has good history here and hes backed it up this weekend with great qualifying and practice efforts. kenseth too. when he qualifies in the top 10, watch out! biffle won this race last year and has a top 10 start. edwards won the race in fall and loves these types of tracks. kahne also loves these mile and a halfers and he has the pole.jj yeley starts on the front row while teamate stewart starts from 40th. this shouldnt make too much difference to someone with a great car as kenseth proved this race can be won with a back up engine, and from the last place starting spot.
i really dont have my finger on the pulse of anything to make a bold prediction (i would most likely be wrong if i tried) however texas has been kind giving several drivers their 1st wins (j. burton, dale jr) and drivers who didnt have many wins (e. saddler and r. newman) have found success here. this could be good news for drivers like c. mears, j mcmurray and r. gordon as a darkhorse. the labonte brothers are always fun to watch at this track and rookie yeley could suprise people with a great run in bobbys old ride. watch team yates, 2nd and 3rd in practice, and i think d. hamlin will do descent. dale jr. won in his rookie season here. does truex hav it in him? im sure he does but he really doesnt have the equipment yet. i still think a 15-20th place finish isnt out of the question. while im not really looking at anything from the pointsleader in this race, i will not be suprised at all if he cracked the top 6 and maybe gordom will work his way up late in the race to pull out a 9-13th place finish.
notable that dale jr.s 1st win here, was also the late adam pettys ist and only start in the cup series and the one and only time him and his dad competed together, although adams car failed and he was a non factor through most of the race. watching dale sr. celebrate in victory lane with his son, humanized him in my eyes. while i never rooted for him on the track, i always rooted for him as a team owner and a father (even as hard assed as he was). this is a tape i'll never record over. i'll be watching if either driver has a co-pilot with them this weekend.
this week is tough.
1) m. kenseth
2) e. saddler
3) g. biffle
4) kurt bush
5) m. martin
6) k. kahne