Follow me on

Twitter Feed Facebook Feed RSS Feed Linked In Youtube

Uh, could somebody tell me just what was going on that last lap of the Shootout, please?


Okay, here's the setup: heading in the last lap of the Shootout, Jamie McMurray (26) blocking Jimmie Johnson (48), while Jeff Gordon (24) and Kevin Harvick (29) move to the high side....and moments later....(Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


  By Mike Mulhern

   What the heck happened that last lap in Saturday night's wild Shootout?
   Jamie McMurray, leading, was blocking right and left in the green-white-checkered sprint, Kyle Busch got shoved below the yellow line, Kevin Harvick was coming on the outside, Denny Hamlin was coming up the middle….and for a moment it was four-wide.
   Then the crash….
   "I need to look at the video to see what happened, I'm not exactly sure," Jimmie Johnson said. He was running second, side-by-side with teammate Jeff Gordon and looking to make a move for the lead on McMurray.
   "Coming down the backstraight Tony Stewart (who had restarted 13th after stopping for fresh tires) was to my bumper and gave me a great (bump-draft) shot.
   "And two cars in front of me were stalled out and there was a lane in the middle of them. So I thought I could take the run Tony gave me and shoot through.
   "I'm not sure if somebody on the outside lane was trying to come down or if I came across somebody's nose or what, but we made contact and started the wreck.
    "It was just hard racing, guys racing hard for every inch. In the 500 you won't see people early racing that hard.
   "But this was a blast. A dash for the cash, for sure. I think the fans got what they wanted."


   When you're running in tight formation at 190 mph, all those bumps become magnified (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Gordon managed to finish fourth, "but I couldn't even tell you what was going on that last lap.
   "I was holding it wide-open, looking for every bit of momentum, every gap or hole I could find, and anyone to push me or go with.
   "We were four-wide coming off of turn two…and there wasn't enough room to be four-wide.
    "I was pushing Casey Mears, and we got a heck of a run down the backstraight. Man, they just all spread out – and there were a couple of guys who thought they were in go-karts instead of stock cars.
    "Great racing…just got a little bit too wild.
    "And I've got to say that was a very impressive run by Kevin Harvick. It was pretty cool to see him come from back there and win.
   "Man, I hope the 500 is not like this. But if there are cautions late in the race, absolutely.
    "I expected this to be wild. However there were a couple of guys doing some things I thought were unnecessary. And unfortunately the cars were dancing around a lot, and that had a lot to do with the wrecks."

   Tony Stewart said all the action showed drivers actually felt comfortable….though not everyone here would believe that.
   "Everybody had more grip, and any time you get more grip, guys are going to start putting it in places that are going to make them get edgy," Stewart said.
   "What surprised me was how many times guys could go through the middle and not be totally out of control. When they got in the center (lane), they were able to go on and not be waiting on the wreck to happen.
     "It's just a lot of movement…and this isn't the widest track we run on. It gets pretty crowded -- Especially when you get three-wide.
   "On the last lap we were four-wide at one point in one and two. That's something you very, very rarely see.
   "As much as it just seemed like it was half out-of-control, everybody was in control too.
   "Any time they get comfortable, guys are going to push that much harder.
   "And this track is very temperature-sensitive, just like Indy and Charlotte. Any time there's any track temperature, everybody's cars slide around."
   And when it cools off at night (the race didn't start till 8:30 p.m.) there is much more grip.


  Jimmie Johnson (48) had a hard night in the Shootout (Photo: Getty Images for NASCAR)


Post new comment

The content of this field is kept private and will not be shown publicly.
  • Web page addresses and e-mail addresses turn into links automatically.
  • Allowed HTML tags: <a> <em> <strong> <cite> <code> <ul> <ol> <li> <dl> <dt> <dd>
  • Lines and paragraphs break automatically.
This question is for testing whether you are a human visitor and to prevent automated spam submissions.
Enter the characters shown in the image.

© 2010-2011 www.mikemulhern.net All rights reserved.
Web site by www.webdesigncarolinas.com