Parks Race Reactions: Carfax 400 at Michigan International Speedway

Dustin ParksAnalyst IAugust 16, 2010

BROOKLYN, MI - AUGUST 15:  Kevin Harvick, driver of the #29 Shell / Pennzoil Chevrolet, celebrates with the trophy in victory lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series CARFAX 400 at Michigan International Speedway on August 15, 2010 in Brooklyn, Michigan.  (Photo by Jason Smith/Getty Images for NASCAR)
Jason Smith/Getty Images

If there's one thing every fan can guarantee, Michigan always has its way of having the most unexpected moments.  Sunday's race had that and much more.

I do not intend on wasting much time; allow me to get into my race reactions for Sunday's Carfax 400.

First off, the feel-good story had to be seeing Jack Roush back at the race track. The unfortunate part is that we all can see the scars of his plane crash.  Looking at him, you can tell there was some discomfort.

Most of the time, Roush had his mouth open and for a majority of the weekend was wearing dark sunglasses, a lot different from his larger glasses that we've normally seen him wear.

The loss of his left eye has to be unfortunate because he is forever a changed individual, but he also changed the outlook for his race team. Even before his unfortunate crash, his organization was turning around and running better. Greg Biffle proved that when he took the victory at Pocono.

But Michigan was the ultimate race that proved this entire team has turned the corner. Three of the four Roush cars finished in the top 10, with the fourth finishing 11th. That is an incredible run at a track where Roush has been so dominant.

It is great seeing the "Cat in the Hat" back where he belongs.

Now, on the downside of things, what is it seriously going to take for Jeff Gordon to get a victory? He started in the 36th position, and literally drove through the field to the front. He went as high as second and appeared to be on a rail to get his first win on the season.

But, getting caught in a huge pack of cars following a restart spelled his doom. Contact with the No. 31 of Jeff Burton cut his tire down and did some slight damage to his car.

At a track like Michigan, even the slightest dent can change how the car handles. At that point, Gordon was toast. All the momentum, all the speed, and all the encouragement were gone.

Finishing 27th in a race where he should have won probably made Gordon more angry than disappointed. This has been a great week for him with the birth of his son, Leo. He has been riding on cloud nine since that moment and nothing could bring him down.

That was until Sunday...another race, another missed opportunity. That has been the story for Gordon in 2010.

What is it going to take to get the No. 24 to get a win? I'm sure Gordon must be asking that question at this point in the year.

Finally, there is definitely some happiness in the Richard Childress Racing camp after Sunday's race. From where this entire organization was last year compared to this year, it is simply amazing.

Kevin Harvick has proven he is right now the top guy in the Sprint Cup Series. Jimmie Johnson may be the guy to beat in the Chase, but with his team on the downturn, Harvick and company have seized the opportunity.

With his win Sunday, Harvick's point lead has grown to 295 points, but more importantly, he is closer to Johnson and Denny Hamlin in the win category. He would be seated third if the points were seated right now.

The jubilation on the face of Harvick and Childress in victory lane was evident. This entire team has been trying to get back on track since last year, and at the end of 2009 they were making strides. But, this year they have become the team to beat.

I can honestly say, at this point, you will have to beat either Hamlin or Harvick to get the 2010 Sprint Cup Championship.

We don't have that long to wait, so let's get ready for another grueling run to the Chase.