The Final Word – Juan Pablo, like Robin Hood, went riding through the Glen

So, what did we learn at Watkins Glen?

Well, we learned that this was a movie with two starring roles and four co-stars. Juan Pablo Montoya was Robin Hood, Marcos Ambrose the Sheriff of Nottingham, while Kurt Busch, A.J. Allmendinger, Carl Edwards, and Jamie McMurray were the Merry Men. All contenders while the rest were mere pretenders. These six were the lead six for almost the entire event, but the others did play a role.

We learned that drama comes in all forms. Jimmie Johnson was looking for a breakthrough but he didn’t hit the wall hard enough to actually break through it. When Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch were done beating and banging, Johnson was banged out, along with Denny Hamlin for good measure. I guess the only way to avoid someone else’s mess is to stay in the garage. Still, all four are safe within the Chase for at least the next two weeks, maybe more.

We learned that being 12th in the standings one week doesn’t mean squat the next. Clint Bowyer had the final rung of the ladder in his grip, but when something went bad on his car, Mark Martin proved to be the beneficiary. Sure, it might be only good for ten points, but 12th is 12th. At least it is until they finish at Michigan. Greg Biffle, one spot ahead, also remains vulnerable to the fortunes of racing this Sunday.

We learned that even though Tony Stewart had won five of the last eight held at the venue in New York state, his contribution this time out came in the form of removing road ace Boris Said. Said said he was a fan of Stewart, it was just a racing deal, and that he couldn’t have been wrecked by a nicer guy. Okay, I might have made up that last part.

We learned that Montoya had not won since his maiden victory in June, 2007 at Sonoma. Just the other day the Columbian and crew chief Brian Pattie were having a war of words. Again, it demonstrates the difference between men and women. For guys, we argue one week, win the next. For gals, they have words one week and don’t speak again for months. Tell me I’m wrong.

We learned over the past week that Paul Menard and his daddy, the one with those big sponsorship dollars, could well be moving over to Childress as a fourth team entry. How good a driver is Menard? Does it matter? Meanwhile, this Bud could be for Kevin Harvick next season. If so, it would be the best fit for them since Junior wore and won in their silks.

We learned after the race that Jeff Gordon is a papa again, and this time it is a boy. Leo Benjamin Gordon arrived in this world a healthy seven pounder. The driving lessons begin next month.

I learned that my new niece, Camryn Elysse, did in fact join our family right on schedule, though delayed by a few hours, one week ago today. No one asks me my weight, but Camryn hit the toledos at 8-pounds, 12 ounces. She is currently babysitting the Gordon newborn. This young lady won’t begin her driving lessons at least until the fall. You really shouldn’t rush these things.

I learned how to watch a ESPN broadcast without being irritated. I record it and watch from the beginning a couple of hours later. Each time Rusty and Brad appear, I fast forward the PVR. When Kyle and Wally were on I was always afraid I would be missing something doing this. I don’t have anything to fear anymore.

Well, that was the week that was. Michigan is on the dance card for this weekend, and the top ten in the standings are sitting pretty with only four to go before the Chase field is locked in. Biffle and Martin have their work cut out for them, as Bowyer, Ryan Newman, Jamie McMurray, Junior, and Kasey Kahne will again try to break their hearts. Kahne and Junior had top tens there last year, as did Biffle. It should be a real interesting day for one Mr. Martin.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.


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