Five things we learned at Loudon
Johnson's fourth-place finish on Sunday didn't give him the overall points lead -- he's now in second, 35 points behind Martin -- but it announced to everyone (as if anybody needed a reminder) that he has the stuff to win a fourth straight Cup title. The Chase now moves on to Dover, where Johnson won in May, and where he's nearly as dominant as he is at Martinsville. JJ has four wins in 15 career starts at the Monster Mile, and has never finished worse than 15th in a fall race at the track. It's true that most of the tracks in the Chase are in his wheelhouse, but the situation is even more pronounced at Dover and Martinsville.
Martin's brilliant regular season was a deft combination of points racing and aggressive driving. He didn't lead a ton of laps all year, but along with crew chief
Montoya had the fastest car all weekend at New Hampshire, leading all three practice sessions, winning the pole in track-record time and leading the most laps in Sunday's race. His car was especially strong early in runs, and he nearly charged to the lead after the last caution of the race, moving from fifth to second in one lap. He and crew chief
I have to admit, I missed this one. Last week, I wrote in Racing Fan that RPM's announcement that it was going to merge with Robert Yates Racing and switch from Dodges to Fords was a good thing, a harbinger of more competitive days to come. But the deal is still in the works, and last week, RPM released former director of competition
With 39 laps to go at New Hampshire, Jimmie Johnson entered pit row for his final stop of the day. He made the move while ESPN was on a commercial break, but the live radio and video feed in the NHIS media center broadcast the events as they happened. But lo and behold, when the Worldwide Leader in Sports returned from paying its bills, the network announced Johnson's pit stop as if it was happening live.
My question: Why? It was a pit stop. What's the big deal? Yes, the broadcast is delayed, but we had the raw, live ESPN feed in the media center ... which means that Johnson's pit-stop was double-delayed to folks viewing at home. It's this tendency to bend reality that makes people distrust what they see on the news (and read in newspapers and magazines). Again, it didn't matter within the context of the race, but in the big picture, it's not comforting to know that ESPN isn't troubled by a little line blurring.