Car of Tomorrow#8217; is successful By Jeff Findley 03/30/2007 Well, the first race with the Car of Tomorrow (wonder what it will be called now) has come and gone. Did you notice that much of a differ

Published 12:00 am Friday, March 30, 2007

Well, the first race with the Car of Tomorrow (wonder what it will be called now) has come and gone. Did you notice that much of a difference in the quality of racing? I didn’t.

Sure, the appearance of the car took a little getting used to for the first few laps, but after that, it was short-track racing—it was Bristol.

There were some grumblings from the drivers before and after the race about the car, but overall, I think everyone was satisfied. There are a few kinks that need to be worked out, but with such a drastic change in the equipment, I don’t think anyone expected less.

The most important, and dangerous, issue that needs to be addressed comes from reports that the safety foam on the driver’s side of the car began to heat up and melt as the race wore on. The melted foam emitted toxic fumes into the cock-pit of the car. I am sure that NASCAR is working hard to solve that issue.

Seems that the biggest critic of the car after the race at Bristol was the race winner, Kyle Busch. During his Victory Lane interview, Busch said he didn’t like the car at all and, in fact, he said it sucked.

So much, for thanking the guys back at the shop. Kyle’s mouth always seems to operate faster than his brain. Remember the comments at Phoenix two years ago after his brother, Kurt, was basically fired from Roush Racing, while in the chase. Kyle’s a great talent, but needs major public relations work.

And lucky for Busch it was Jeff Burton behind him, instead of about 30 other guys, on the last lap at Bristol. Many other drivers would have punted him into the wall to get the win.

One last thought on Bristol.

Mark Martin sure made a believer out of me. There was no way that he could get out of the car for this race while heading up the points standings, I thought.

I was wrong, he gave way to Regan Smith and Smith put up a respectable 25th finish. I guess Mark is really meaning what he says this year.

Another race and another DNQ for Michael Waltrip. He is batting .200 for the year, five races run and he participated in only one. It will be tough for Mikey again this week. His big-money sponsors can’t help but be restless. Could get interesting.

In fact, it could get interesting for the entire Michael Waltrip Racing roster. Dale Jarrett is outside the top-35 and is almost out of past champions’ provisionals. David Reutimann is also not guaranteed a starting spot. Hello, UPS, Dominos, Burger King, and NAPA.

The paper-clip shaped track in Martinsville, VA is next on the schedule. Handling and brakes are of utmost importance at this track, the shortest on the circuit at only .526 miles.

The Car of Tomorrow (we have to come up with a better name) will make its second appearance Sunday afternoon.

The usual short-track suspects will be strong here, Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart among them.

Gordon has seven career wins at Martinsville, the next best win total is two, shared by several drivers. Gordon will be a threat, but I am picking another Jeff to win Sunday.

Jeff Burton continues the strong showing of Richard Childress Racing drivers this year and walks away with the checkered flag.