I gotta start this update with a big thank you to TIVO. In my past life, I would have had to choose between hanging out with friends and watching the night race from Bristol. In my new life, I can start watching the race whenever I get home. What a wonderful era in which to live!
Last night's race was the Sharpie 500 from the Bristol Motor Speedway. This race is the toughest ticket on the entire circuit despite the fact that the grandstands now hold over 160,000. Why is this such a good race? Well, partly it's because it's under the lights. But, whenever you jam 43 cars onto a half-mile, high banked oval, you're bound to have a lot of paint-swapping action. This year's installment from Thunder Valley was no exception.
Bristol always plays a major role in the championship picture, but this year it is even more important than it was in the past because there are only two more races after this before the Chase for the Championship begins. That means that the scramble is on to climb into the top ten. Matt Kenseth stepped up on the big stage and made an aggressive move up the standings. Kenseth won the race and moved from 15th to 11th in the standings. Kenseth is now only 11 points out of the tenth position. The man Kenseth trails is Jeff Gordon. Gordon's sixth place finish allowed him to vault into the final qualifying position. Dale Jarrett was the big loser on the night. Jarrett was right on the cusp of the Chase when the night began, but he allowed his emotions to get the best of him in Thunder Valley. Jarrett attempted to get some payback on Ryan Newman for an earlier incident. However, Jarrett wrecked himself in the process and dropped himself to fourteenth in the standings. And, that faint pulse you hear is coming from inside the Budweiser Chevrolet. Junior was the "lucky dog" three times in the early laps, but he was able to claw his way to a ninth place finish. But, that only allowed him to move up to fifteenth in the standings, and he his still over 100 points out of tenth place.
Next week, there is an evening race from Fontana, CA. It's not a Saturday race, though. The race will air on NBC at 8 p.m. on Sunday night.