Goody's Fast Pain Relief 500: Surprising, Not Surprising
Rain, rain, go away... Come again another day!
Rain was the story of the weekend, in fact, the Camping World Truck Series will take the green flag today at noon after their race was rained out on Saturday.
Rain kept qualifying from happening, and most of practice for the Sprint Cup boys, but the same drivers rose to the top of the paper-clip in Southwest Virginia Sunday, as Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe's No. 48 team won themselves another grand-father clock.
Gee, you think Johnson is giving these out for Christmas presents this year?
On to the Surprising and Not Surprising things from this past weekend's action.
Surprising: AJ Allmendinger Brought Home a Top-10 | Near Chase Contention
What can you say about this kid? He's simply impressed the world this year.
This is a guy, who coming into January had no ride. He was booted from Red Bull Racing's No. 84 car, and his ride was given to an up and coming rookie (Scott Speed) who has yet to secure himself a spot in the top-35.
Allmendinger, meanwhile, has rallied to put himself in 15th in the points, after a ninth-place showing at Martinsville on Sunday.
Currently, the No. 44 team is only 34 points behind 12th place Matt Kenseth.
This is a team that was only expected to run select races, mainly the first five, and then a few here and there.
It's kind of hard to close down a team that is running solid each and every weekend and appears to be a contender for a Chase spot.
Think Red Bull is re-thinking their decision? Maybe, but I still think Speed is going to be a heck of a driver after he gets some more time behind the wheel.
Watch out Sadler, the No. 19 could be Allemendinger's before you know it!
Not Surprising: Hendrick Motorsports Dominated The Top-10 | And Won
Four of the top-eight finishers in Sunday's race were out of the Hendrick Stable.
If you include the Stewart-Haas cars (which run HMS equipment), then that number jumps to six of the top-eight.
Johnson took home yet another win at the half-mile paper-clip in Virginia. The win adds to an already impressive number, which Johnson and teammate Gordon have now won 10 of the last 13 races at the track.
Surprising: David Reutimann Remains in Chase Contention
I know what you are saying, this is something that eventually is going to have to be switched over to a Not Surprising, because I seem to mention it every weekend.
But honestly, who is still not blown away by this team and it's hard work this year?
OK, so we all knew they were hard workers, but look at these results:
Las Vegas: fourth
All together, you get an average finish of 16th and an 11th place showing in the points. I think to myself every weekend: "This will be the weekend that Reutimann shows his true colors and begins to falter..."
And every weekend, Reutimann says to me: "Proved you wrong again Mr. Writer."
Not Surprising: Clint Bowyer is Second in Points
I debated on whether to put this on the Surprising or Not Surprising. A look back at our preseason Chase field picks from the writers here on B/R, shows that only one writer (S.M. Napier) put Bowyer in the field.
Now, granted, these picks were made before it was announced that Bowyer would receive owner points and be guaranteed a spot for the first five races.
Several of our writers (myself included) may have been banking on the thought that qualifying may be rained out in the first five races, and Bowyer would have missed a race.
Either way, it should not be surprising to see this team rising to the occasion, and sitting second in the points.
Bowyer is a phenomenal driver, and Richard Childress Racing is a top-notch team, that works well together.
Surprising: Paul Menard Claws His Way Back Into Top-35
Honestly? I thought this would be a team that was stuck outside the entire season and could begin missing races, but a solid run (if you want to call 25th solid), mixed with a sour run (36th by David Gilliland), enabled the No. 98 Ford to jump the No. 71 in points.
Good news for Menard, who was given the nod over Gilliland at Yates this past season.
Menard has struggled in a Ford (not that he was all that great in a Chevy at DEI), and I don't think he is secure in the top-35 yet.
With guys like Speed and Aric Almirola right on his heels, Menard better show up to Texas this weekend ready to race.
Not Surprising: Hendrick Drivers Are Off the Bubble
Just a few weeks ago Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. graced the Surprising list of drivers on the bubble of the top-35, and in danger of being left out.
However, solid runs by both have put them well within the points, and neither should have to worry the rest of the year.
Martin and Earnhardt both had top-10 finishes at Martinsville, and moved up to 27th and 16th respectively in owner's points.
The short-tracks are over, and it's time for the boys to head down to Texas Motor Speedway this weekend.
Here's a preview of Thursday's What To Watch For: Roush Fenway will dominate at TMS.
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