Parks Race Reactions: Lenox Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire

Dustin ParksAnalyst IJune 27, 2010

LOUDON, NH - JUNE 27:  Jimmie Johnson, driver of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet, celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series LENOX Industrial Tools 301 at New Hampshire Motor Speedway on June 27, 2010 in Loudon, New Hampshire.  (Photo by John Harrelson/Getty Images for NASCAR)
John Harrelson/Getty Images

When it comes to the New England area, the two most popular things are their giant lobsters and the New England Patriots.

But when NASCAR rolls into town, it's all about the smell of asphalt and someone clawing their way to victory.

Many drivers clawed their way to the front on Sunday, hoping to clasp their hands on the unique winner's trophy.

In the end a familiar face took the victory, while a few others were left frustrated and disappointed. The Lenox Industrial Tools 301 had everything when the win was on the line, and left many fans wondering what the next race would bring.

Here now are my race reactions from Sunday's actions.

Late in the race, the "Have at it, boys" philosophy was clearly at the forefront. Jeff Gordon and Juan Pablo Montoya got into a heated battle in the late stages, with Montoya getting the worst end of the deal.

His handling went bad later and he got spun out by Reed Sorenson. Those two had an intense battle, but it wasn't for position. Montoya runs hard, especially since he started on the pole.

However, as we can attest to, sometimes that style of racing can come back to bite a driver.

He wasn't the only one who had a rough day. The incident between Kyle Busch and Jeff Burton was nothing more than two racers going for position.

Even Burton admitted he was at fault when he spun Busch out to bring out the final caution of the race. But, in typical Kyle Busch fashion, he saw it differently.

"It was just good, hard racing," Busch said in a sarcastic tone.

He was right, though. It was nothing but a racing incident. Busch shouldn't look at it as intentional.

But, as we know, that is tough for him to do.

Next, I just feel bad for the Budweiser team and Kasey Kahne. They dominated the first half of the race. After the first round of stops, the No. 9 team was the top car and looked to be the one to beat.

However, almost in an act of cruelty, fate stepped in. A valve went down in the engine, one of the new FR9 racing engines and Kahne's hopes were gone.

Despite an effort to simply log laps and get to the end, the engine finally gave way. This was exactly the same thing that happened to him last fall when the 2009 chase began.

The difference was this happened real late, compared to really early last season.

After gaining five spots in the points the last few weeks, this is a huge setback for Kahne's team. It's also a huge setback for Ford. With the 18th race on the horizon, Ford has yet to stand in victory lane in a point's race.

Kahne did win his Gatorade Duel in February, but it doesn't count. With no points on the line, it didn't matter.

Ford will get to victory lane, but even I can't predict when.

In the end, the man of the hour once again was Jimmie Johnson and the Lowe's team. Johnson had to earn this win.

Kurt Busch did the classic "bump and run" to get the lead and that got the fans on their feet. It was at Bristol when Busch said, "I'd rather lose to anyone else except that 48 [car]."

His actions proved he was serious.

But what's good for the goose is good for the gander. Johnson roared back and performed the same move to Busch, not to mention in the same spot.

One corner, one move, and one shot was all it took. After that, the race was for second place. Johnson had the win in the bag, and the attention of all the competitors.

That slump Johnson was in, I now say it's over. Two wins in the last two weeks and now he's tied with Denny Hamlin for wins on the season. It will be a battle between these two when the chase begins.

Unfortunately, Johnson now has the momentum and with Chad Knaus calling the shots, Hamlin and Mike Ford have a lot of work ahead of them.