Dover Race Recap

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The Key Moment - Newman had the strongest car all day and his team held serve on every pit stop.

In a Nutshell - Yet another dominating performance that probably had half the audience drift off for a nap or channel surf to a football game before the halfway point.

Dramatic Moment - As far as the race there was actually some decent racing between Newman and Kurt Busch just prior to lap 200 but it didn't last long.

When Bobby Labonte spun entering pit road and headed backwards back up the track it could have set off a field decimating wreck.

As far as the championship, Matt Kenseth's wreck entering pit road had the biggest points implications.

What They'll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

What was that deal between Tony Stewart and Robby Gordon? Was it accidental or an indication of an ongoing feud? Judging by Stewart's post-race comments it doesn't seem the matter is settled. I wonder if they ran into each other before leaving the track?

The heck with fixing the points system, when are they going to fix the racing?

How many drivers will be eliminated from title contention by the big wreck at Talladega this week?

How deep into the race did you get before channel surfing over to the football game?

What did the 17 team use to fix Kenseth's car, a magic wand?

Were the Goodyear tires not up to the job today or were teams running too much camber and too little air pressure?

Did Ryan Newman do a masterful job of blocking the Big Blue Bottle in Victory Lane or did TNT set up the camera to avoid a conflict?

Is Sponge Bob Square Pants going to kick NASCAR's butt in the cable TV ratings again?

If USA Today is going to be the official paper of our sport should someone tell them it's "NASCAR" not "Nascar"? After all it's not "Usa Today". (Send the same memo to the New York Times.)

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

After leading over forty laps of the race Matt Kenseth wrecked hard entering pit road. Kenseth thought he had a tire going down. The incident deals a severe blow to his title chances.

Brian Vickers will not have fond memories of this weekend at Dover. Despite wrecking his primary car in practice Vickers was able to qualify third. But 38 laps into the race the car got out from under him and clobbered both the inside and outside walls. Vickers also crashed out of the June race at Dover.

At Dover this June Kasey Kahne wrecked 19 laps from the end while leading the race. On Sunday he only lasted thirteen laps before losing an engine. In addition Kahne seemed to have the dominant car in Saturday's Busch race until losing the handle late and it had to be a frustrating weekend for Kahne.

Rusty Wallace had his strongest race in ages going when he started suffering right front tire problems.

When traffic checked up on a restart Joe Nemechek was unable to avoid running into the 6 car. The grille damage caused the Army car to run hot and eliminated any chances Nemechek had of posting a decent finish.

Greg Biffle left the pits in fifth place after the fifth caution period, but he also left the pits with loose lug nuts. He lost almost two laps making an extra pit stop to have the situation corrected.

Elliott Sadler had a top 10 run going when he felt a vibration he thought was a flat tire. He dove into the pits to get his right side tires changed then got caught speeding off pit road and was penalized. Worst of all, the tire wasn't actually flat.

Jeff Burton hit the wall and set his Chevy ablaze. After that not even a "Control-Alt-Delete" restart could fix the AOL car.

The "Seven Come Fore Eleven" Award For Fine Fortune

Mark Martin got run into on a restart and almost got collected when Labonte spun entering the pits but smoked both bullets to finish second.

Despite feeling ill in the car almost from the outset of the race Jamie McMurray finished eighth.

Tony Stewart's car was so evil handling early in the race he fell back as far as thirtieth but the team was able to adjust on the car and Stewart rallied to a sixth place finish. He was his normal charming self after the race.

Despite getting nailed for speeding on pit road and falling a lap off the pace Jimmie Johnson drove on to a tenth place finish.

Worth Noting

Ryan Newman has led 612 of a possible 1600 laps in the last four Dover Cup races on his way to winning three of those races.

The top 10 finishing drivers competed in four Chevys, three Dodges and three Fords.

Jeff Gordon leads all drivers with twenty top 10 finishes in 28 races this season. Next on the list are Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Jamie McMurray with seventeen apiece.

Johnson leads all drivers with fifteen top 5 finishes in those 28 races.

For the twelfth time this season in 28 races the winning driver led more than half the laps in a race.

Brendan Gaughan was the top finishing rookie in 22nd, one spot ahead of Scott Wimmer.

Newman won for the first time since Michigan in June. He becomes the eighth driver with multiple wins this season and the only multi-event winner in a Dodge.

Mark Martin has finished second or third in five of the last nine Cup races.

Jeff Gordon has finished third in two of the last three races.

Dale Jarrett scored his first top 5 finish since Michigan last month.

Tony Stewart scored his first top 10 finish since Michigan.

Jamie McMurray has top 10 finishes in the last six Cup races.

Jimmie Johnson scored his first top ten finish in four races.

Bobby Labonte hasn't scored a top 10 finish since Daytona in July.

Rusty Wallace hasn't scored a top 5 finish since winning at Martinsville in April.

Matt Kenseth scored his first DNF since Daytona in July.

What's the Points?

Jeff Gordon advances two spots to take over the points lead but he is just one point ahead of Kurt Busch. Earnhardt Jr. slipped back two spots to third eighteen points behind Gordon.

Under the old points system Jeff Gordon would still be leading Dale Earnhardt Jr. by 49 points with Jimmie Johnson in third 112 points off the pace. Also under the old points system Jamie McMurray would be ninth in the points right now.

Today's other big points gainer was Mark Martin up two spots to fifth. Jimmie Johnson moved up one spot to fourth and Ryan Newman moved up one spot to eighth.

Obviously today's big points loser was Matt Kenseth whose wreck dropped him three spots to seventh. Tony Stewart dropped a spot to ninth.

Jamie McMurray hangs onto that not so coveted eleventh spot in the points with a 99 point gap ahead of twelfth place Kevin Harvick. Kasey Kahne fell two spots to fourteenth.

The top nine drivers in the points could leave Talladega as the points leader under NASCAR's new math. Even if he were to win the race and lead the most laps while Jeff Gordon finished 43rd, Jeremy Mayfield could not take over the top spot.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) We'll give this one two cans of the generic stuff and lukewarm at that. Newman's fans are doubtlessly delighted but race fans have got to be wondering when we'll see a competitive race again.

Next Up - It's off to Alabama for the closest thing left to gladiator fighting, a plate race at Talladega. Guess it's time to make sure the black suit is back from the cleaners.

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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2004

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