By admin | September 6, 2011
By Richard Allen
After a disappointing rainout on Sunday evening which eventually pushed the one and only Sprint Cup race of the season at the Atlanta Motor Speedway all the way to Tuesday, it was an easy guess that not very many people would be in attendance or able watch the television broadcast of the AdvoCare 500.
As it turned out, there were actually more fans in the grandstands than many might have thought on Tuesday morning when cars took the green flag. However, there were still far fewer than would have been on hand had the race run on its scheduled Sunday night. And very likely, the television audience was significantly smaller than it would have been as well.
Both of those factors proved to be a shame as many fans missed one of the best races of the season. As is so often the case when track surfaces are as abrasive as that of AMS, cars were running high and low at both ends of the track. There were so called ‘comers and goers’ as tire wear would cause some drivers to jump out to the lead only to fade as those who best conserved their rubber early in the run would move through the pack late in the run. There was plenty of passing and side by side action as well as some intense action after restarts.
A number of drivers including Kasey Kahne, Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Matt Kenseth and Jimmie Johnson took turns leading and looking like potential winners. There was even a bit of controversy involving Clint Bowyer and Juan Pablo Montoya.
And while the pit strategy of two tires vs. four tires played a role in the running of the race, this event was not won simply by the team knocking down the best pit stop on the final caution of the day.
This race had all the elements of a classic contest and in the end it proved to be just that. The final twenty lap battle between teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson featured some of the best racing of the year with both drivers pushing their cars to the limit and hanging both machines sideways as they went side by side on a number of occasions.
NASCAR needed a great race at this critical juncture of the season and they got it…on a Tuesday. It was truly unfortunate that not many people saw it due to the poor timing of Tropical Storm Lee. The staff of Atlanta Motor Speedway had worked hard to make their one event of the year a great one. They deserved a better fate.
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