The weather was nice this past weekend up in my neck of the woods. Sadly, I paid the price for a root canal. No sleep Friday night. Zip for Saturday night. Sunday? The feature race was from Loudon. However, just as I rarely hurt after a visit to the dentist, maybe Loudon would go against type and be just wonderful. A race for the ages. Damn it, I deserved it.
To be honest, Jimmie Johnson deserved his penalty when he jumped ahead of pole sitter Martin Truex Jr. on the start. Just like that, he went from the front row back to 39th in a field of 39. Still, it could have been worse, but fortunately, Johnson did not visit my dentist last week.
It was not all gloom and doom. Kyle Larson might have started from the back once again, but he was soon back in the Top Ten. Chris Buescher had the visor cam this week, and I do love the visor cam. As for my dentist, I do not believe he is a NASCAR fan. Most evil doers are not.
Kasey Kahne is not an evil doer. Just do not ask Erik Jones. Not even mid-way through the opening stage, the two had contact in the pits, and that did bad things to the left rear of Jones. The tire gave up, the wall collected him, and Erik saw his day end early. I am thinking Kahne should meet my damn dentist.
That damn Truex. Well, 38 other drivers might feel that way. He led every damn lap of the opening segment and collected another playoff bonus point. What a pain he is, and if there is something I know a little something about, it is pain. So does Kyle Busch, and while he has never worked on a molar he is known to be irritating. He was enough so on Sunday to dominate the second stage to claim the playoff point for himself.
Pain is having your car going one way, and a failed track bar wanting the rear end to go another. That is especially true if you were Joey Logano, he of the encumbered win which means nothing for Chase eligibility. He was off to the garage for a bit of a stay early in the final stage, as the gap between him and a Chase place only grew. It is now over 50 points. The fact NASCAR was interested in what went wrong and the parts involved might not be welcome news either. Sometimes those folks are worse than some dentists. Okay, I may be exaggerating.
While Denny Hamlin made a cameo, the final half of the race essentially featured two drivers. Well, for a while. Truex had a tire issue, had to pit, and that allowed Dr. Busch to return to the lead. Unlike my tale of woe, the patients got a little revenge when Kyle motored too quickly through the pits. That soon turned to the advantage of Truex, as he once again was the drill master wearing the smock and the smirk.
Matt Kenseth tried to set up his own practice with 40 to go, but just as he passed Truex, Kahne touched Ryan Newman. He went for a slide, the caution came out, and we were left to ponder things in the waiting room. All we knew was that somebody was going to win it, but would it be one of the two dominators, or might it go to some other? Talk about a coincidence. Some other is going to be my choice the next time I need to seek dental relief.
Hamlin spelled relief soon after the re-start, as he got by Kenseth and maintained his advantage to the line to walk away with his first win of the season. Some might have needed a win more, but he was not a sure thing for the Chase until he took it. It marked his third win in New Hampshire, the 30th victory of his career. Truex was third while Rowdy fell back to 12th after a pair of penalties changed his day. As for Larson, once again he was the runner-up. Including his two victories, he has finished first or second in nine of the season’s 19 starts.
Aric Almirola returned after mending from his wreck last May in Kansas. He was 24th as he ended his seven event forced vacation. While he did not have the best of days, just being back in the car was great to see. Hamlin had a very good day, while Truex, Larson, Kenseth, and Kevin Harvick, finishing fifth, all had to be satisfied.
Bad days at Black Rock was the fate of Newman and Bayne, while it was like a day at the dentist for Logano and Jones. A big mean ole dentist.
*Note: If you are a dentist or endodontist who is offended by a few passing references I may have included in this article, relax. You are no doubt a wonderful practitioner of the dental arts. You probably are that “some other” I should meet the next time. If you did not hurt me you have nothing to whine about. Me, on the other hand…