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April 20, 2014

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Too bad there aren’t four races a year at Martinsville

There is no question that the racing at Martinsville is better than the racing at Bristol. Bristol’s reconfiguration has made the racing there less physical and made Martinsville my favorite short track. There should be four races at year at this track instead of two. Either that or Fontana could be reconfigured to be the West Coast version of the Virginia track.

Unfortunately, Mother Nature moved the race to today, depriving a lot of people who had to work the opportunity to see a great race.

It would have liked to see Jeff Burton battle all the way to the end for the win. But fender damage cut the right front tire of the No. 31 and that was the end of Burton’s chance for a visit to victory lane. Burton is due for a win and if he keeps this up, I hope we will see him there soon.

Hamlin had the lead late in the race, but when the caution came out due to Burton’s tire, the No. 11 car came to the pits for four tires. Hamlin restarted the race with four laps to go in the 9th position. What was the No. 11 team thinking? Well, they must have been thinking about winning. Those four tires helped him get the win as the race went into overtime with a fender-crunching green-white-checkered finish. Hamlin made the best of a bad pit call.

Hamlin has stated that his team is the one that could give Johnson and Company. a run for the championship. Hopefully, this is the beginning of that quest.

I was an early fan of the wing, but after seeing the cars race with the new spoiler, I have to wonder what I was thinking. The cars look more traditional. More like a stock car should look. I wonder why this change wasn’t made earlier? I guess we’ll have to wait until Texas to get a realistic idea of how the spoiler affects the aerodynamics of the cars.

Martinsville epic finish

There were some tire issues during the race. But did you see how much negative camber some of the cars were running on the right front tire? The top edge of some of those tires was really leaned in. Even though Martinsville has short straightaways, I wonder if that much camber produces too much tire wear as the tires ride on the edge during the straight portion of the track.

It was a rough day for Kurt Busch and, according to the race broadcasters, Kurt was hot on the radio for about 200 laps. But I can’t feel too sorry for Kurt’s crew chief, Steve Addington. His experience as the crew chief for hot head Kyle Busch was a great training ground for dealing with Kurt.

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