The Glen, drivers either love it or hate it. Kyle Busch clearly loves it as he made Sunday a weekend to remember. Yet, Kyle wasn’t the only one who shined at the Glen. Steward a four time winner at the Glen himself had a solid showing. Plus, rookie A.J. Allmendinger put himself back on the radar again; this kid is one to keep an eye on. Road courses don’t fit the style of every driver and they are demanding on the crew. As the Glen let some shine she also crushed others, both literally and figuratively on Sunday. However, the racing was nothing if not exiting for those fallowing the teams at the bottom of the Chase.
Ranked 12th – Matt Kenseth (#17)
Change in Standing
The Kenseth’s story really can’t be told without including Clint Bowyer. Last week Bowyer was able to push Kenseth out of the Chase and this week Kenseth returned the favor. However, is not just in the standings that these two are bumper to bumper at the Glen for the first half of the race these two where inseparable, with Bowyer mostly 17th and Kenseth 18th.
Kenseth complained early on of the car being to tight. In an early pit stop the crew addressed this with the removal of a spring rubber and a wedge adjustment. What does that mean? Small side note, well a wedge adjustment can be made to make the car turn into the corners either looser or tighter. The name wedge comes from the instrument used to make the adjustment, the wedge wrench. The term wedge means the amount of weight distributed between the right-rear and left-front tires. This is a fast adjustment which can completely change the handling of the car for the driver. Another fast adjustment is the adding for removing of spring rubbers. The springs are part of the car suspension; a spring is made to twist and resists being pushed. Springs are distinguished by how much a spring resist being stretched or compressed. Spring rubbers change the way the spring compresses. Stiff springs (adding spring rubbers) improve the responsive of the car but it makes for a ruff ride.
OK back to Kenseth. Kensethcaught his brake over Bowyer on Lap 57 when Bowyer stalled exiting pit row. Bowyer wouldn’t be able to recover track position after that. With Bowyer out of the way Kenseth was able to use the cautions well and to gain track position. At Lap 88 in twelfth he was only 7.50 off the leader, thus the car was running at a top ten finish speed. Kenseth and the #17 team will have figure out what is keeping them out of the top ten if they want to stay solidly in the Chase.
Ranked 11th – Kevin Harvick (#29)
Change in Standing
Happy should be happy with his performance at the Glen. He was able to maintain his starting track position during the first quart of the race. By Lap 30 he was able to get into top five as the leader (J.R.) pitted. However, he would succumb to challenges by both Stewart and Edwards, yet he would stay in the top five.
Necessary pitting on Lap 55 caused a lost in track position. At the restart on Lap 85 he was at sixth but the field above was too strong to from Harvick to get back into the top five. However, it seems like the problems Harvick was experiencing with the braking in the past were solved. Look for Harvick to move up in the Chase in the coming races.
Ranked 10th – Denny Hamlin (#11)
Change in Standing
As the rest of the Gibbs team is coming to live, Hamlin is consistent but boring. Hamlin started tenth and only fell down as far as twelfth in the first half of the race. A loose car may have caused Hamlin not to be able to fight for track position.
After pitting at Lap 57 Hamlin works his way into the top ten, however wouldn’t have the gusto to make into the top five. On Lap 68 Montoya would be the first to make it around him. Even AJ Allmendinger gave him a strong challenge. Hamlin’s speed was good but he just lacked the energy of his teammates. Yes sitting at eleventh in the standing a good finish is first priority, but Hamlin doesn’t even seem interested in bonus points let alone a win.
Michigan is a fast track one that will fast track some into the Chase and some out. Can Kenseth hold off Bowyer? Or will Michigan give David Ragan or Ryan Newman the chance to make the Chase? Will we see more bad pit calls like with Kahne and J.R.? I think Stewart has found his groove finally so I see him moving up in the standings, as well as Harvick, but look for the lack luster Hamlin to drop.
Well until next time, happy cheering for the bottom of the bucket!
Sources: NASCAR.com, ESPN, and ESPN.com