Pit Road Press Box: Friday NASCAR Action From New Hampshire
The Return of the Black #3
Not only did we get to see the #3 car, which from what I have heard was actually a former Winston Cup car made into a Camping World East Series car, but we got to see a black #3 Camping World Series Truck. Now I understand that Austin Dillon is the grandson of Richard Childress and Richard Childress Racing still owns the number but to see that trademark number with a rookie stripe on the back just doesn't seem right. Not to mention, the feeling just isn't the same, the legacy behind that number can never be duplicated and without its former driver everything seems to pail in comparison.
Personally, I believe that number should be retired from all NASCAR series out of respect for Dale Earnhardt, Sr who played the key role in making NASCAR the sport it is today.
Juan Pablo Montoya Sets New Track Record
The Colombian Crusader, Juan Pablo Montoya, set a new track qualifying record with a blistering lap of 28.545 seconds (133.431 miles per hour). The previous record was set in the fall of 2003 by Ryan Newman who drove a 28.561 second lap. Congrats to Juan on showing that an open wheeler can really learn how to race a stock car.
This type of momentum is great to see at the start of the Chase and it will be interesting to see if JPM has the car to beat on Sunday.
Eddie MacDonald Comes Back from Early Pit Stop to Win Heluva Good 100
The Rowley Rebel, Eddie MacDonald, continued his dominance at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on Friday by winning his 2'nd consecutive fall Heluva Good 125. After a short rain delay officials decided to shorten the race to 100 laps with night bearing down on the track.
Though he led most of the opening laps after starting on the pole MacDonald came in for an early pit stop, placing him further back in the field. MacDonald fought his way back to the front and with 15 laps to go was jockeying with Kevin Swindell for the top spot after making a great three wide move.
The last 15 laps included a couple of cautions when drivers piled their cars into the outside retaining wall between turns one and two. MacDonald was still the car to beat as he took the lead with laps winding down.
There will be more Eddie Mac action this weekend as he is also racing the Whelen Modified and American Canadian Tour (ACT) Invitational tomorrow. MacDonald received the ACT nod by winning the TD Banknorth 250 at Oxford Plains Speedway this past July. I think Eddie Mac could show Kyle Busch a thing or two about running in many series and winning the big money races.
You Know You're a Rookie When.....
Joey Logano was seen driving his own golf cart out of the infield tonight. Rookies do have it tough.
Old School Racing
I have to say there is no better way to gauge a NASCAR team by the way the owner interacts with their teams. One of the best out there is Jack Roush. Not only is he always at the track and keeping up with what his teams are doing he stays involved.
For example, today during qualifying Roush was on pit road with his notebook, pen, and stopwatch. He knew what cars he needed to gauge to see how his team compared to the rest of the field and would record the times in his notebook. In this day and age in NASCAR drivers get handed a tablet computer through their window to write down their feedback for their crew chief. Car telemetry is all computer driven and recorded. Yet, as great as technology has been in this sport it is good to see the older ways are still alive and very effective. Kudos to Mr. Roush for keeping it to the basics.
Sorenson Racing this Season for Free
If you haven't seen it already ESPN's Marty Smith wrote an article about Reed Sorenson. According to the article Sorenson was told that he had two options at Richard Petty Motorsports A) to not take his salary and race the rest of the season or B) leave the team immediately. Sorenson chose the former to keep himself in a car and to keep his crew employed.
This is something that I have never heard of happening in NASCAR, but it is good to know that there is at least one driver out there who is here to race and not just for the money. I've always believed Sorenson was one of the most underrated drivers in NASCAR, and originally I just meant talent-wise but the maturity that this 23-year-old Georgian is showing proves he also has a lot of character. I wish him the best of luck in his search for a new NASCAR ride.
To check out the rest of Marty's article follow this link: http://proxy.espn.go.com/rpm/nascar/cup/columns/story?columnist=smith_marty&page=DoorToDoor
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