Tom Time Blog: Fire, Fights and Feuds; It’s Saturday Night Short Trackin’, Cup-style!

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April 30, 2014 — Written by RaceChaser Online Senior Editor Tom Baker — Photo courtesy Yahoo Sports —

NASCAR had quite a night last Saturday night.

We had fire.

We had fights.

We had feuds.

We had our second “two-time” winner.

All this took place in one spectacularly entertaining Saturday night of racing at Richmond International Raceway when the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series put on another of its’ exciting 2014 race events and Joey Logano went from fifth to first in the closing laps to take his second win of the season and virtually lock himself and his Pennzoil Ford Penske Racing team in the Chase for the Cup at the end of the season.

Logano is quickly, if still quietly, establishing himself as a viable contender for the championship in a season that has seen 7 different winners in the first 9 races.  He has meshed well with pit boss Todd Gordon and he gets along famously with brash and sassy teammate Brad Keselowski.  The “double deuce” will be in contention for many more wins before the season is out, I suspect.

How many times do you see one fire in a NASCAR Sprint Cup Race, let alone four?  Goodyear’s tires were shredding like cheese on Saturday night and Clint Bowyer, Cole Whitt, Ricky Stenhouse and Reed Sorenson all experienced the ugly side of what happens when that shredded rubber hits the rest of the hot components around the wheel well.  Thankfully they all were OK.

Let’s hope that Goodyear can learn something from Saturday night to make a more durable compound for the next race at Richmond later this year.

I think all of us were more than surprised to see two of the sport’s most upbeat racers, Casey Mears and Marcos Ambrose, end up in a post-race confrontation on Saturday night.  The two argued and Mears appeared to grab Ambrose and attempt to pull him aside to get him away from the crowd.  Ambrose didn’t seem to like that and fired an “Australian Boomerang”   square into Mears left eye.

The question is, what will NASCAR do about this?  What should they do about it?  Based on past decisions, suspension for Ambrose would not seem out of the question.

Jeff Gordon had an interesting race.  A brilliant piece of pit strategy found him slowing down so Junior would pass him and he could restart third at the end of the race instead of second.  Then, Matt Kenseth made his car wide enough for two race tracks and held Jeff back just long enough for Logano to slither through and take away Jeff’s chance to win.

I don’t believe Matt did anything wrong.  I just had the thought that at one point in time Jeff might have been a bit more “aggressive” in trying to “move” Matt out of the way.  As it is, Jeff continues to keep himself in contention and a win or two is all it will take to make sure he has a shot at the previously mentioned championship at season’s end.

Richmond has always been a track where action is a-plenty but it’s usually nothing like we saw on Saturday.  It sure was “Saturday night short track racin” and yet another banner NASCAR ‘Cup race.  They’re finally putting the “racing” back in the racing and the fans are responding.

Just think…this weekend is Talladega!

Have a safe racing week everyone.

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