Sunday night has arrived, and just like last week, the Imperial March plays loudly for the Evil Empire that is Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe’s Home Improvement Chevrolet team. Before we get any further to the finish of the race, let’s discuss how we got to that point.

I have to say first that TNT and crew have done an excellent job during their broadcasts this year. I find their coverage to be about 450,000 times better than Darrell Waldrip, Larry McReynolds, and Mike Joy. I guess it is the fact that Darrell has to run his mouth continuously throughout every race. With Waltrip’s mouth running nonstop, it usually focuses on only Dale Earnhardt Jr. The TNT crew seems to talk about everyone during the race. TNT is also not afraid to show you some racing in the middle of the pack. Fox should be taking notes for when their coverage returns for the Daytona 500 next winter.

The coverage started with a great opening of this season’s on track incidents amongst various drivers. We were reminded of Carl Edwards and Jamie McMurray at Atlanta Motor Speedway, Evil Empire and Jeff Gordon at Texas Motor Speedway, and Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. Others drivers and dust ups were shown as well, but those are the big ones that come to mind. It was a great opening to the coverage of the race with all the talk this week of paybacks coming.

Long green flag run was the story of the day. After an early caution for littering on the track, the race stayed green for what seemed like forever. It was not that the racing or coverage felt forever, you just normally expect NASCAR to miracle a caution somewhere in there. As for the littering for the first caution, from what they showed on TV it appeared a driver determined there was no need to keep a water or drink bottle inside the car. Kind of wonder how it got on the track. It was obvious it came from a driver by its appearance.

I have one complaint on coverage, and all of the NASCAR broadcast partners do this. During pit stops, they cannot stick with one driver for the entire pit stop. The Evil Empire was hot on the tail of the Budweiser Ford of Kasey Kahne. Coverage showed the Empire’s car pulling into his pit stall and work being almost completed. A split second before the shot changed to another car on a green flag pit stop, you could tell by the stop watch that the Evil Empire was having a problem with the stop. You could also see the Storm Troopers were having difficulty with the left rear tire. The Evil Empire returned to the track and was around seven seconds behind Kasey Kahne who was still leading the race when all stops had been completed. My question and challenge to the broadcast partners: can you stay with the car until the pits stop has been completed? At least have that split screen thing so you can see what happens until the car pulls out of the pits.

The race continued on and another caution did not occur until the previously mentioned Kahne blew an engine. Appears some more work is still needed on Ford’s new generation engine. Juan Pablo Montoya had an entertaining go from this point on forward. Different tire strategies put different drivers up front and such. Juan and Jeff Gordon, driving the Dupont Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, got tangled in turn two. They did not wreck, but they bumped and banged around the track for a lap or two. It was starting to look like Gordon was going to make another enemy on the track. Juan was later dumped by a Red Bull racing car and did not finish the race. Juan would later say his car was really loose and he and Gordon were just racing hard. Sounds like no sour grapes from that incident.

We get down to the last restart of the race with the Evil Empire leading the race. Before I get to that, have you ever noticed that the Budweiser and Miller Lite car always seem to be shown in a battle each week? I wonder if that is planned somehow. That happened early in the race. Back to the ending. Kurt Busch is running second and catches the Evil Empire. Going through turn three, Busch bumps the Evil Empire from behind and sending him up the track. It was not an attempt to wreck him, just a tap to take the lead. Busch is now leading, but there are still around seven laps to go. In this situation, you have to make sure that you are not caught by that guy you knocked out of the way. The Evil Empire struck back and caught Busch with about two or three laps go and gave pay back. The great thing about the payback was that Busch was not wrecked. He got the same thing that he gave to the Empire. The Empire got by and motored to the win.

On to Her Danicaship (A.K.A. Danica Patrick) and her not surprising run in the New England 200 on Saturday. It only took a total of seven laps for Her Danicaship to find the turn two wall. Let me jump back to my last article. Where did I say the wreck would occur, oh yeah turn two. Feels good when you get a prediction right. Jesus must not like Her Danicaship very much because it was the Racing with Jesus car that took her out. Her Danicaship immediately after the wreck was heard on the radio whimpering and whining about the incident. Included in her whiney nails on a chalkboard rant was a question on whether a penalty would be issued for the other driver’s actions. The response on the radio to this question, no. Her Danicaship better wake up if she plans on having a career in driving stock cars. These are not the cars of the IZOD Indy Car Series. In Indy cars, you cannot touch and bump. Touching with the open wheel cars just does not work out real well. If you are going to whine and complain, stay at home and watch on TV and wait for the next Indy race. On a side note, Her Danicaship did keep one streak alive at the conclusion of the race; she has finished 30th or worse in each Nationwide Series race she has participated in.

Another week is over. We did not see the paybacks that everyone thought were going to happen this week in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. With the high speeds of Daytona in the Coke 400 at the Daytona International Speedway next Saturday night, payback will likely not occur. Check out my strategies to winning next weekend coming about mid week. We also get to the Indy Cars at Watkins Glen this weekend.

Have a great week as we approach Independence Day.

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