Henry's post-Dover rumblings 97-09-21

RUMBLINGS -- DOVER Somebody who was obviously intelligent once said....The race doesn't always go to the swift. That person had to be a Cup fan....cause Kyle Petty's run today certainly bore that out. In his...

RUMBLINGS -- DOVER

Somebody who was obviously intelligent once said....The race doesn't always go to the swift. That person had to be a Cup fan....cause Kyle Petty's run today certainly bore that out. In his best run ever for pe2 Kyle led 191 of the 400 laps, BUT......

Mark Martin prevailed in a fuel mileage run. Victory #4 for '97 and #22 in his career (first at Dover) puts him in sole possession of the 22nd spot on the all-time win list. His $195,305 first place check included the $114K from Unocal (nice move by Bill Broderick to grab that camera time in Victory Lane....you gotta love a company man) (G).

TNN's production today may have been the best endorsement I've ever seen for Pay-Per-View. Their cut-away to a commercial with 10 laps to go (on a track where lap times are in the 25 second range, you don't take a 2.5 minute break + 20 seconds for billboards) was a slap in the face to race fans. I fully expected them to come back and go straight to the Winners Circle interview (G). Now I realize that only one caution flag played havoc with their schedule, but when you cut a race back from 4 hours to 3, you can't expect to jam all those spots into the last 50 laps of the race.

Speaking of a shorter race....that seemed to backfire on most of the pundits. Bill Weber on NASCAR2Day was touting that a 300 lapper would be even better....that it would bring more potential cars into the winning mix. Weeeellll, the cast of characters today looked pretty ordinary, and if you look at the lap 300 rundown, it wasn't a whole lot different from the finish. Here's an idea....Let's run a 75-lap sprint. The TV networks would love it (perfectly packaged for a one-hour show), the car owners would love it (none of those pesky tire bills & pit crew expenses), and I'm sure the track owners will lower the ticket prices accordingly (G). Some races were meant to be an endurance test, and if this sport were easy, everybody would be doing it. The 24 hours of Dover was meant to be a test of driver & machine (and fan)....and I hope today wasn't the continuation of a disturbing trend. I saw a race just 3 weeks ago that a lot of people say needs to be shortened, and there was the best racing of the day on the final lap. When you're rubbing paint under the white flag with a million bucks on the line, nobody cares how long the race was.

Well, enough of the soap box....

Rick Mast had his best run in almost a year today. His 10th place finish was his best since North Wilkesboro last fall. He's the 40th driver to score a Top-10 finish this season.

Kyle Petty had his best run since he won the Spring race here in '95.

How's about Jeff Burton going all the way today on a track as demanding as DDIS? To run all day & finish 11th is a sign he's almost back 100%.

Great interview with the head of RPM (Ricky Rudd) on RPM2Day this AM. His assessment of the multi-car teams seems to be right on, and his thoughts on how much longer he'll race were interesting.

STREAKIN....Mark Martin has 9 Top-10's in the last 10 races. Dale Jarrett has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races. Jeff Gordon has 8 Top-10's in the last 9 races.

Can't wait for Buckshot Jones to go WC next year....get Jimmy Spencer, Geoff Bodine, & Buckshot on the same straightaway together and you've got a recipe for action (G).

This weeks elevator....UP: Operator of the week Dale Earnhardt (+31), Jeff Burton (+28), Ernie Irvan (+22), Bobby Hamilton (+21), and Kyle Petty (+20). DOWN: Short list this week....the Big Dropper was Ricky Craven (-31), and Michael Waltrip (-22).

No change in the Magic Number for Jeff Gordon after this weeks race. With 6 races to go Gordon holds a 105 point lead over Martin, so his magic number stays at 2 (2nd position)....but Mark did manage to trim 34 points off the lead.

Next week it's back to Martinsville, and those 2 drag strips with a left turn at each end, for the last short-track race of the season. Move over Chris Behrman....we're coming through.

Henry Dubret (henry@nascarfans.com) NASCAR Fans _______________________________________ NASCAR Fans Website http://www.nascarfans.com

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Series NASCAR Cup
Drivers Dale Earnhardt , Jeff Burton , Jeff Gordon , Bobby Hamilton , Ernie Irvan , Dale Jarrett , Michael Waltrip , Kyle Petty , Jimmy Spencer , Buckshot Jones , Ricky Craven , Rick Mast , Mark Martin