HOME BEFORE SUPPER Reut-taliation aside, the Price Chopper 400 went by without a peep. For the 12th time this season, a Sprint Cup race fit in the three-hour window, this time in a tidy 2 hours, 54 minutes and 2 seconds. Only five caution flags...
HOME BEFORE SUPPER
Reut-taliation aside, the Price Chopper 400 went by without a peep.
For the 12th time this season, a Sprint Cup race fit in the three-hour window, this time in a tidy 2 hours, 54 minutes and 2 seconds. Only five caution flags waved, the fewest in the 10-year history of Kansas Speedway, which meant 243 of the 267 laps clicked off at a incredibly fast pace.
Heck, after a 400-mile race, the race after the race and a 1,000-mile flight home, our plane touched down on the Concord strip at around 7:15 p.m. in the East.
These 400-mile races do have their perks.
82. SCOTT SPEED
CAR + DRIVER 1: The quietest afternoon may have belonged to Scott Speed. Friday didn't go so well - he qualified 33rd - and neither did Saturday's first practice session. But the team hit on something in happy hour, and the No. 82 climbed out of the 30s and into the teens on the speed charts. Come Sunday, Speed had a fast car and used it, driving his way into the top 20 by lap 90 and the top 15 by lap 183. A small tweak here and there during pit stops kept him there, as Speed never dropped out of the top 20 to finish 19th.
SO HOW WAS YOUR DAY? "Man, it felt good to race. We had the car to do that. We had a solid practice on Saturday that allowed us a setup that only needed minor adjustments throughout the race. That was fun. Hopefully, we can learn from it and bring that knowledge to California next week."
VITAL SIGNS: Ranks 27th in the driver standings.
PAGING MR. MO-MENTUM: Sunday's 19th-place finish was Speed's best since he was 10th at Daytona in July. Could this be a sign of a late-season run? On deck is California, where Speed finished 11th in Feburary. In the hole is Charlotte, where we've been known to lead a lap or two.
83. REED SORENSON
SLOW FROM THE GET-GO: The pace of the race kept Reed Sorenson's No. 83 playing catch-up. He fought grip issues early and a "plowing" condition late. Add in a 42-lap green-flag run to open the race and two 100-plus stretches of green later on, and Sorenson never had the chance to gain ground. He finished two laps down in 30th.
IN REED'S WORDS: "We fought the same two issues most of the race. During each run, the car would start loose in and tight in the center, then the longer we ran, the tighter the car got in the center. As soon as you put a little load on the right rear, there would be no rear grip. I went as fast as I could without wrecking. It was strange - we had less grip on new tires than with tires with 40-plus laps on them. Toward the end of the race, the car became a 10 out of 10 tight and no adjustments were able to fix the condition, no matter what the crew threw at the car. The car was plowing up top, so I had to run a line close to the apron."
VITAL SIGNS: The No. 83 ranks 27th in the car owner standings.
OUR INLAND EMPIRE: The season's final trip to the West Coast should come to Sorenson's liking. Since the February 2007 race at Auto Club Speedway - a span of seven events - the No. 83 has six finishes of 12th or better, including Brian Vickers' 11th-place run last February.
UP NEXT Auto Club 400, Sunday Oct. 10, 2010, Auto Club Speedway, Fontana, Calif.