Samsung 500: Surprising, Not Surprising
In what was one of the better races of the season, the boys down south to Texas for the Samsung 500.
On to the Surprising and Not Surprising things from this past weekends race.
Surprising: Jeff Gordon snaps winless season and streak
Texas Motor Speedway was a track that haunted Gordon and the No. 24 team. They had visited the track 16 times without bringing home the bacon, and finally did so this past Sunday.
Not only did he finally tame the southern beast that had his number so many times, but he also managed to officially end a 47 race winless streak in the process—thank God!
At least this fall when the boys return to the 1.5-mile oval, we don't have to hear 1,000 times during the broadcast how Texas is one of only two tracks Gordon has yet to master.
Of course, we will have to hear 1,000 time how Gordon finally won at the track, and ended both streaks at the same time.
Ironically, Gordon's wife and daughter (as well as team owner) were not on hand to celebrate with him on Sunday.
(Want to read more about the win, check out MJ Buchanan's story here on B/R.)
Not Surprising: Jeff Gordon snaps winless season and streak
OK, how can it be surprising and not surprising? It's simple: This is Gordon we are talking about.
This is the driver who leads all active drivers in wins, championships and just about anything he can.
We all knew the day was going to come that he would end both streaks, and we knew it would come soon.
Texas was the perfect place for Gordon to snap the 47-race streak, being as he had never won at the track.
Surprising: Scott Speed missed the race
Up until this past weekend, I was an advocate for saying that Speed and the No. 82 team were going to fall out of the top 35 and miss a race.
Then—for who knows what reason—I changed my mind and decided that Speed could possibly knock Paul Menard and the No. 98 team out of the top 35 at Texas this weekend.
On Friday, Speed and the No. 82 team were sent packing after failing to qualify for their first race in 2009.
What's so surprising about this, is the fact that the No. 83 team qualifies and runs so much better.
Not that I think Brian Vickers is that much more talented than Speed (OK, so I do think he is, but for arguments sake, I'll pretend I don't), but something has always seemed amiss with the No. 82 (formerly No. 84), while the No. 83 has been the crown jewel.
Vickers could potentially compete for a Chase spot, while the other team will be competing all year to make it back into the top 35.
Not Surprising: David Reutimann remains in Chase contention
OK, so I promised myself (and the readers) that this would become a Not Surprising, if Reutimann and the No. 00 team continued to excel—and they have.
After getting down a lap early, Reutimann stormed back through the field and brought home an 11th place finish on Sunday.
Early in the season, I pegged this team as a huge surprise, and they made a weekly appearance in my Surprising.
Eventually, it has to become routine, and I think for the No. 00 team it has.
Reutimann currently sits 11th in points, and appears to be a serious contender for a Chase spot this season.
Now don't make a fool out of me Reutimann!
Surprising: Dale Earnhardt Jr. had problems in the pits again
Wait for it...
Junior Nation will be popping out stories and comments left and right defending Earnhardt and the No. 88 team after another disappointing performance on Sunday.
That focus that everyone keeps saying he has, is simply non-existent in my opinion.
Again, Earnhardt had a decent run ruined by problems in the pits.
The good news for Earnhardt faithful is that he remains 16th in points, and can still challenge for a Chase spot.
He does, however, need to get things going quickly if he wants to pass the guys in front of him.
Not Surprising: Joey Logano finds himself 35th in points...again
It's been a tough rookie campaign for Logano and the No. 20 Home Depot Toyota.
Joe Gibbs Racing knew it would be tough bringing an 18-year-old in with as little talent as Logano had, but they had no choice.
Now, the team is tweetering on the edge of the top 35—again—and one more bad run could put them on the outside looking in.
Logano will welcome the Easter weekend break, and simply needs to calm down and get himself focused on the task at hand—holding onto the 35th spot.
I think this team is trying to hard to get top finishes, when they really just solid finishes to give themselves some cushion.
Logano holds a 23 point lead over 36th place David Gilliland and the No. 71 team.
This race could be the most exciting this season.
I'm convinced that Bleacher Report has some of the most (if not THE most) talented writers on the Internet today. So from now on, at the bottom of my Surprising, Not Surprising story, I will officially pimp out a few articles from the past week.
Gordon finally tamed Texas Motor Speedway, proving that even a blind squirrel eventually finds a nut.
It's no surprised that Gordon was the biggest winner from this past weekend, but who was the biggest loser?
NASCAR media and fans have been especially hard on Earnhardt Jr. this year, but there is one question that they all seem to be asking...Why can't Junior win?
One of the best parts of visiting a race in person is being able to listen live to the drivers and crews talk on their radios, but should that be private?
Camping World could be pulling out of the Truck Series?
NASCAR takes Easter weekend off, before returning to the track Saturday April 18 for the Subway Fresh Fit 500 at Phoenix International Raceway.
The first night race of 2009—bring it on!
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