THE GREAT AMERICAN BIG TOP FORT WORTH, Texas - Drivers brawled on the backstretch. A little birdie told NASCAR to fly south for the winter. One pit crew replaced another pit crew - mid-race, mind you. And monkeys sold programs. Seriously. Two...
THE GREAT AMERICAN BIG TOP
FORT WORTH, Texas - Drivers brawled on the backstretch. A little birdie told NASCAR to fly south for the winter. One pit crew replaced another pit crew - mid-race, mind you. And monkeys sold programs.
Seriously. Two black and silver capuchin monkeys - 3-year-old Rocky and 15-year-old Miki - sold $10 souvenir programs for two hours leading up to the race. It was the usual PR gimmick that we've come to know and love from Texas Motor Speedway, but on Sunday, no gimmick was needed to enhance the entertainment value of the AAA Texas 500.
Those watching got a race, and a circus, too.
Kasey Kahne's 13th-place finish will go down as a mere footnote in the archives of this race. No one will remember that it was his 250th Sprint Cup start and only his third weekend with Red Bull Racing Team. Nor will they remember that the No. 83 Red Bull Toyota team kept swinging at the car's setup, including an early shock change, before Kahne climbed to as high as 12th and stayed close to there for the final 140 laps. And they probably won't remember that Kahne made the most green-flag passes on the day (145) and had a pass differential of plus 26.
We, however, will remember, as Sunday was the third of five preparation steps for a run at the 2011 Chase and the Sprint Cup championship.
Scott Speed started 23rd, just to the inside of Kahne in row 12, and moved into the top 15 despite the No. 82 Red Bull Toyota not turning all that well. As lap 200 approached, vibrations began haunting the car. The team corrected the problem, but by then Speed lost all the track position he gained in the first 170 laps (he made the fifth-most green-flag passes with 133).
After finishes of 18th and 16th in the previous two Texas races, Speed ended up a lap down in 27th.
Kobalt Tools 500, Sunday, Nov. 14, Phoenix International Raceway, Avondale, Ariz.