By admin | December 29, 2010
By Richard Allen
NASCAR 2010 had a number of memorable moments to occur throughout the course of the season. Here is the second of two partial lists of the happenings I remember from this past year. This listing is in no particular order.
Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fails to win- 2010 proved to be yet another disappointing season for Junior and his legion of fans. For the second year in a row the sport’s most popular driver went winless and failed to make the Chase for the Championship.
Crew chief, car owner, pit crew, and the driver himself received criticism from fans and detractors alike. In the end, crew chief Lance McGrew was replaced at season’s end by former Jeff Gordon pit boss Steve Letarte.
2010 was just another year to pass by with this driver, his team and everyone else involved not living up to the expectations when Junior moved to Hendrick Motorsports. In 2011, he will turn 37 years old which means the number of chances for adding to his win total and scoring a championship are dwindling.
Johnson’s pit crew gets dumped- The fall race in Texas proved to be one of the most entertaining of the year for a variety of reasons. However, one of the most intriguing stories to come from that race was the benching of Jimmie Johnson’s pit crew in favor of Jeff Gordon’s after the #24 car fell out of the race.
At the time, it seemed as though the move was made out of desperation, but in the end, crew chief Chad Knaus was proven right. Seemingly unfazed, Johnson went on to claim his fifth consecutive title with the new crew in his pit box for the remainder of the season.
Shake up at Hendrick Motorsports- Looking back in a few years, the biggest story of 2010 might have occurred after the season concluded. Rick Hendrick shuffled crew chiefs and other personnel around his garages in an attempt to bring the ‘other three’ teams up to par with the standards set by Johnson’s #48 bunch. This move will either prove to be right or wrong but only time will tell. In a few years we may be labeling Hendrick as genius or foolish.
TV ratings and empty grandstands- After successive years of lower television ratings and decreased attendance it would have seemed as though NASCAR might be set for an up year simply because the comparisons from the previous year were so low. However, that proved not to be the case. The majority of races run in 2010 were contested before smaller crowds at the track and fewer folks in their living rooms. The lesser number of people paying attention to this sport left a memorable impression, especially considering there were empty seats in places such as Bristol, Charlotte and Talladega.
Who wears the fire suit in the Harvick family?- After a Sprint Cup race in Pocono, Joey Logano decided he had had enough of Kevin Harvick’s aggressive driving style and decided to confront his rival on pit road after the event. However, scores of pit crew members and NASCAR officials prevented the drivers from getting within reach of each other. That, however, did not keep Logano from delivering a stinging verbal jab when interviewed later.
“It’s probably not his fault, Logano said. “His wife wears the firesuit in the family and tells him what to do, so it’s probably not his fault.” He was referring to the fact that Delana Harvick wears a fire suit while watching races from the pit area.
Bowyer busted at New Hampshire- After the first Chase for the Championship race in New Hampshire it looked as if Clint Bowyer and his Richard Childress Racing team had established themselves as title contenders. However, his car was later taken to NASCAR’s tech facility and deemed to be outside the allowable body settings.
Bowyer went from contender to out of contention in an instant when NASCAR handed down stiff penalties that included fines, suspensions and the loss of points. With the 150 points added back to his total, Bowyer would have finished 5th in the final standings rather than 10th.
Those are a few of the happenings from this past NASCAR season I considered among the most memorable. If you haven’t done so already check out part one of my memorable moments list by clicking on the link in the left hand column of this page. Please feel free to add your own memorable moments in the comments section of either column.
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