OPINION: Not moving over

Published 12:00 am Friday, April 6, 2007

Why do you think Jeff Gordon was so irritated after the race at Martinsville last week?

I wonder if he really thought that Jimmie Johnson, who happens to be the defending Nextel Cup champion, was going to give him the inside of the racetrack to let him win. It sure seemed that is what he was thinking during the post-race interviews.

Johnson held his line, survived a couple of bumps from Gordon and won his third race in six tries this season.

There is no doubt that Gordon could have wrecked Johnson to win the race. Doing so would have thrown up fireworks throughout the garage, so Gordon did the right thing, just as Jeff Burton did the previous week at Bristol.

But, boy, did Gordon seem put out after the race. In fact, he sounded somewhat threatening in relation to his prot\u00E9g\u00E9. He said that the racing later could get very interesting because Johnson was blocking him during those last several laps.

So what? What should Johnson have done, politely move to the side and let his highness Gordon stroll to the win?

He did what any driver worth his salt would have done; he did whatever was needed to win the race. I never could understand the big deal about a driver “blocking” another driver.

If both cars on the same lap, especially competing down the stretch, then it only makes sense to do everything possible to keep cars from passing.

One thing is for sure, Johnson has served notice that he intends on defending his championship. Don’t forget that drivers who make the chase will have their positions set by number of wins. A win is worth ten points after the 26th race. Johnson already has 30 points to his credit.

Looks like NASCAR has taken their head out of the sand and admitted the problem with the protective foam in the Winged Car (formerly known as the Car of Tomorrow).  Several drivers had issues at Bristol of the foam heating to such a point that toxic fumes were emitted. NASCAR said that was not possible.

Well, during the race last week, the foam in Kevin Harvick’s car actually caught on fire. That couldn’t be very pleasant.

During the past week, NASCAR is allowing teams to cut away a portion of the foam that runs closest to the exhaust pipes.

Hopefully, this change will eliminate the problems before the next Winged Car race at Richmond in May. Oh yeah, NASCAR said the fumes were not toxic.

Carl Edwards’ truck driver said that he would not shave his face or cut his hair until the no. 99 won another race. His beard has been growing since November of 2005.

I wonder if Michael Waltrip’s truck driver will make the same pledge. Only he could only go sans razor until Mikey actually qualifies for another race. That situation is almost embarrassing.

The boys are taking the traditional Easter Sunday off this week and will get back at it next week in Texas. I will make my pick next week, but six-shooters, Stetson hats, and Budweiser sure do go well together.

Have a great Easter weekend.