By admin | July 28, 2008
By Richard Allen
On the final restart of the LifeLock.com 400 at the Chicagoland Speedway Jimmie Johnson was leading as the field rolled toward the green flag. Johnson attempted to confuse his competitors by bringing everyone to the line very slowly, which is the leader’s prerogative.
However, one of racing’s hardest chargers, Kyle Busch, would have none of it. In a very bold move he ran up on Johnson’s back bumper and essentially bulldozed him down the track’s front straightaway. Then, as the two entered turn 1, Busch used the momentum he had built up to go wide and swing around Johnson on the high side.
It was an aggressive and daring move, one that probably could not have been made with the more fragile Car of Yesterday. However, the Car of Tomorrow, which resembles a bull dozer to a degree in looks and make up, was able to withstand the contact and allowed Busch to make the pass.
Johnson had to settle for 2nd place in Chicago after being outdone on the restart.
In Indianapolis Johnson found himself in almost the same position. He was leading a late race restart with one of racing’s hardest chargers behind him. This time, it was Carl Edwards rather than Busch.
Johnson timed his start well and was able to build a bit of a lead on Edwards as the two reached turn 1 of the storied track.
Edwards said in his post race interview that his best chance to pass Johnson was in turn 1 after the restart if he had been able to get close enough to get the #48 car loose. However, he was unable to execute his plan and Johnson went on to win the AllState 400 at The Brickyard.
Perhaps a lesson learned from two weeks ago made that win possible. And, Heaven knows everyone had enough practice at restarts in that race to be able to get it right at the end.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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