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Parks Race Reactions: Autism Speaks 400 From Dover

Dustin ParksAnalyst IMay 16, 2010

DOVER, DE - MAY 16:  Kyle Busch, driver of the #18 M&M's Toyota, celebrates with the checkered flag after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Autism Speaks 400 at Dover International Speedway on May 16, 2010 in Dover, Delaware.  (Photo by Nick Laham/Getty Images)
Nick Laham/Getty Images

The old saying goes, "It ain't over til it's over." That certainly was the case on Sunday.

It was a race that was all about one driver, and his dominating performance. It was about putting the critics to rest, and silencing the doubters.

In the end, it turned out to be about one mistake and how it changed the outcome.

Enough of the vague references, let's get to my race reactions for the Autism Speaks 400 from Dover International Speedway.

This race in a nutshell was about what might have been, a tune that has been sung quite a bit this season. First of all, I cannot feel bad enough for Richard Petty Motorsports drivers Kasey Kahne and A.J. Allmendinger.

Kahne qualified so well and looked so good early in the race. I thought he had a chance to at the very least get a nice run out of the afternoon.

But, after his issues with his shifter, he just simply couldn't recover. A 20th-place finish was not what this team deserved after such a strong start to the weekend.

Meanwhile, Allmendinger had a great car at the beginning and looked as though he could put the classic No. 43 car in victory lane.

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Unfortunately, a little miscue on pit road took that away. A missing lug nut led to a loose wheel, and a bit of a struggle to get back near the front. I will give the entire team credit, they did not give up and made a great recovery.

A 14th-place finish may not be anything to write home about, but it could have been a lot worse. A great run by Allmendinger and the No. 43 team.

The worst luck of any team on this day had to go to the Lowe's team and Jimmie Johnson. There was no doubt that the dominant car was the four-time champion, and every chance he got to lead, he did.

The only way Jimmie Johnson was going to lose was if he beat himself, and he did. He entered pit road at the last round of stops in the lead of Kyle Busch. He had a flawless stop, and came out very quick. But, seeing that Busch was a bit quicker, he went side-by-side on the exit, and did get beat out.

However, the NASCAR police nabbed him for speeding. Even if he didn't speed on pit road, I don't believe Johnson would have beaten Busch off pit road. I knew he had a good enough car that Johnson could have beat him on the track.

Was it a case of needing to get the lead on pit lane, or did he know the No. 18 was going to be tough to keep behind him? That is hard to say, but the truth of the matter was Johnson beat himself.

I'm sure Johnson is kicking himself for his mistake. But considering the next two weeks will be at Charlotte, I don't expect anything else to come of it.

In any case, the winner at the end of the day was Busch. Dave Rogers and the M&M's pit crew got that Toyota better and better on each stop.

Even when he was holding onto second place behind Johnson, we all could see that Busch was just as good as the Lowe's Chevy.

When Johnson made his miscue, at that moment we all knew the race was over. Busch was just too good in the later laps.

This is definitely a different "Rowdy" Busch from last year. He was methodical and didn't overdrive his car. It's that kind of racing that will win Sprint Cup championships, and he is making his case that he as well can be a contender this season.

What a way to lead into NASCAR's "All Star Break." Although for many teams, it won't be much of a break. Every team will be at the Charlotte Motor Speedway, with many already set to go racing under the lights on Saturday night.

There's no points on the line, and finishing position really means nothing. What is on the line is $1 million for the winner. Four segments, 100 laps, and a lot of bragging rights.

For NASCAR, the Sprint All-Star Race will be fun for many, serious business for most, but crazy for all.

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