[NASCAR] Speed Addicts

Speed Addicts: Thunder in the Valley

Steve Price, the “Speed Addict”
August 28th, 2005 – Bristol / August Race
For Inside Pulse Sports

“Your task will not be an easy one. Your enemy is well trained, well equipped and battle hardened. He will fight savagely.” – Gen. Dwight Eisenhower, June 6th, 1944

With a quote like that, you know that we’re gearing up for our Bristol review. Welcome, one and all, to the gallant return of Speed Addicts here on Inside Pulse. The Sports Zone will be undergoing a cosmetic change over the next few weeks, as new columnists establish their digs and old dogs bust out new goodies for the junkies that thrive on Inside Pulse Sports! More specifically, new NBA and NHL columns will find their way to Inside Pulse over the course of the next week, along with a very, very special radio broadcast coming up on IP Sports Radio, with Patrick Nguyen and Oli Porter. For now, though, you’ve got your old buddy, the Speed Addict here to keep you company.

Race #24 of 36: Sharpie 500
Date: Saturday, August 27th, 2005 from Bristol, Tennessee
Time: 7:00 PM (EST) on TNT
Pole Sitter: Matt Kenseth (127.300 MPH)
Distance: 0.533 Miles (500 Laps – 266.5 Miles)
2004 Winner: Dale Earnhardt Jr. – 08/27/04 Sharpie 500
Busch Race Winner: Ryan Newman

It’s Bristol, baby, looking and feeling as good as it’s gonna get. Last night, the Nextel Cup boys tackled Thunder Valley for the second time this year, under the lights on a Saturday night in August. It almost feels like a country song at points, no? The big story leading into Bristol was the points situation – Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson and Greg Biffle were locked into the Chase heading in, but everyone from fourth and beyond is still/was capable of blowing this thing in a big way. Following Bristol, this is how the points race looks:

Drivers Locked In for the Chase

01. Tony Stewart 3410 Points / Leader
02. Jimmie Johnson 3197 Points / -213 Behind
03. Greg Biffle 3186 Points / -224 Behind
04. Rusty Wallace 3139 Points / -271 Behind

Current Contenders for the Chase

05. Mark Martin 3014 Points / -396 Behind Leader
06. Jeremy Mayfield 2983 Points / -427 Behind Leader
07. Kurt Busch 2982 Points / -428 Behind Leader
08. Carl Edwards 2849 Points / -561 Behind Leader
09. Ryan Newman 2819 Points / -591 Behind Leader
10. Jeff Gordon 2799 Points / -611 Behind Leader

Mathametically Eligible to Still Qualify for the Chase

11 +4 Matt Kenseth 2788 Points / -11 Behind 10th Place
12 -2 Jamie McMurray 2787 Points / -12 Behind 10th Place
13 — Elliott Sadler 2765 Points / -34 Behind 10th Place
14 -3 Dale Jarrett 2721 Points / -78 Behind 10th Place
15 +1 Dale Earnhardt Jr. 2682 Points / -117 Behind 10th Place
16 -2 Kevin Harvick 2677 Points / -122 Behind 10th Place
17 — Joe Nemechek 2660 Points / -139 Behind 10th Place
18 — Brian Vickers 2590 Points / -209 Behind 10th Place
19 +2 Jeff Burton 2529 Points / -270 Behind 10th Place

Everyone outside of 19th position in the points standings (from Michael Waltrip on) has been mathematically eliminated from contention, but that didn’t stop everyone from going bonkers at Bristol on Saturday night. Numerous wrecks, incredible saves, and good old fashioned, wonton mayhem marked a wild night under the lights in Thunder Valley, with Matt Kenseth picking up his first win since Las Vegas of last year. For those keeping track, that’s the second week in a row where a driver picks up his first win of 2005 after winning only once in 2004.

Kenseth was a dominating beast on Saturday night, not only sitting on the pole for the Sharpie 500 but leading 415 Laps of the 500 ran, including the most important one of all – the last. Kenseth did have a few challengers at various points in the race, most notably Jeff Gordon early on and Jeff Burton at the very end. Nevertheless, Matt Kenseth came up big in the Tennessee Mountains, and now finds himself only 11 points out of 10th place, held by another lucky driver. Jeff Gordon survived Bristol long enough to earn a 6th place finish, and get himself into tenth place in the Chase standings. Right now, he’s looking good to make the Chase, with a historically good track for him coming up this week in the form of California. Dale Earnhardt Jr. also had a Top 10 run at Bristol, but he needs wins in a big way over the next two weeks; otherwise, it’s going to be a long winter for Little E.

Of course, Bristol would not be complete without a little bad blood, and our darling little track did not disappoint on Saturday night. Early in the race, Ryan Newman “accidentally” spins out Dale Jarrett while attempting to pass. Jarrett would repair his car and return to the race, biding his time until Ryan Newman approached again. Jarrett, slow on the inside line through the turn, forced Newman high to the outside to pass him. Newman made the pass, but Jarrett then swung up the track, catching Newman in his left rear quarter panel and sending both cars spinning across the track. That, my friends, is called “payback”. Unfortunately, Kevin Harvick got caught up in the accident as well, and threw his own temper-tantrum by at first refusing to return to the race (it was only after his pit crew got Scott Riggs suited up to race that a frustrated Harvick returned to his car). Kyle Petty was no angel on the track either; he cause quite a kerfluffle here and there, and was involved in a semi-tense altercation with Carl Edwards before things settled into a friendly exchange. All in all, it’s what you can expect from Bristol.

Inside Pulse Performance Awards – Bristol II
Driver of the Race
Matt Kenseth – 415 Laps Led, Leader at Halfway, Led Most Laps, Won Sharpie 500

Move of the Race
Matt Kenseth passes Elliott Sadler and Rusty Wallace to capture the lead for the final time.

“Dork” of the Race
Kevin Harvick, for threatening not to go back out on the race track.

Bad, Bad Man of the Race
Dale Jarrett, for going all “Days of Thunder” and turning Newman into the wall on purpose.

Defining Moment
Half the field sports shredded cars.

Sharpie 500 Results – Unofficial [Credit: NASCAR.com]
01. #17 Matt Kenseth – DeWalt Power Tools Ford
02. #31 Jeff Burton – Cingular Wireless Chevrolet
03. #16 Greg Biffle – National Guard Ford
04. #21 Ricky Rudd – Motorcraft Genuine Parts Ford
05. #2 Rusty Wallace – Miller Lite Dodge
06. #24 Jeff Gordon – DuPont Chevrolet
07. #0 Mike Bliss – CertainTeed Chevrolet
08. #20 Tony Stewart – The Home Depot Chevrolet
09. #8 Dale Earnhardt Jr. – Budweiser Chevrolet
10. #97 Kurt Busch – Sharpie Mini Ford

11. #49 Ken Schrader – Schwan’s Home Service Dodge
12. #01 Joe Nemechek – U.S. Army Chevrolet
13. #38 Elliott Sadler – M&M’s Ford
14. #22 Scott Wimmer – Caterpillar Dodge
15. #15 Michael Waltrip – NAPA Auto Parts Chevrolet
16. #6 Mark Martin – Viagra Ford
17. #4 Mike Wallace – Lucas Oil/Food City Chevrolet
18. #19 Jeremy Mayfield – Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
19. #77 Travis Kvapil – Kodak/Jasper Engines Dodge
20. #25 Brian Vickers – GMAC/ditech.com/Scooby-Doo Chevrolet

21. #18 Bobby Labonte – POWERade FLAVA23/Interstate Chevrolet
22. #43 Jeff Green – Cheerios/Hamburger Helper Dodge
23. #07 Dave Blaney – Happy Birthday Jack Chevrolet
24. #99 Carl Edwards – Office Depot Ford
25. #45 Kyle Petty – Georgia-Pacific/Quilted Northern Dodge
26. #42 Jamie McMurray – Texaco Havoline Dodge
27. #11 Terry Labonte – FedEx Express Chevrolet
28. #50 Jimmy Spencer – Allied Steel Structures Dodge
29. #40 Sterling Marlin – Coors Light Dodge
30. #192 Hermie Sadler – Kingsport Iron & Metal Chevrolet

31. #88 Dale Jarrett – UPS Ford
32. #200 Carl Long – Royal Administration Chevrolet
33. #5 Kyle Busch – Kellogg’s/Johnny Bravo Chevrolet
34. #41 Casey Mears – Target Dodge
35. #32 Bobby Hamilton Jr. – Tide Chevrolet
36. #48 Jimmie Johnson – Lowe’s Chevrolet
37. #29 Kevin Harvick – GM Goodwrench/Reese’s Big Cup Chevrolet
38. #7 Robby Gordon – Jim Beam Chevrolet
39. #12 Ryan Newman – ALLTEL Dodge
40. #10 Scott Riggs – Checkers/Rally’s Chevrolet
41. #195 Stanton Barrett – Langley Properties Chevrolet
42. #9 Kasey Kahne – Dodge Dealers/UAW Dodge
43. #100 Johnny Benson – Bryan Foods Chevrolet

Victory Lap for the Pimps
Nguyen, Porter, and all the other cool cats out there deserve your time. So give it to them.

Victory Lane
Sorry for the quickie this week guys, but college life sucks at the moment. I’m back on Saturday with the material you all have come to love, so be ready for a kickass return. Until then, I am the one and only Speed Addict, bidding you a good week.

3…2…1… Peace!

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