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Flat Spot On: Hanky Panky A Setback For Johnson

Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 13 2013

Jimmie Johnson appeared to be closing in on a victory when all of a sudden...(RacinToday/HHP photo by Alan Marler)

By Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

CONCORD, N.C. – Top Ten Tweets from the Charlotte Motor Speedway and the Bank of America 500:

1. If Jimmie Johnson fails to win a sixth championship this year by a narrow margin, he will look back at a “suspicious yellow hanky” that flew with 27 laps to go. (Absent the late caution for debris, Johnson leads the most laps, wins the race and overtakes Matt Kenseth for the points lead.)

2. Race winner Brad Keselowski may have gone from first to worst as a defending Sprint Cup champion, but remains the king of quotes – and, like so many good quote artists, occasionally there’s some question about accuracy. (Kasey Kahne and Matt Kenseth, he said,“are among a handful of drivers who will race side-by-side without freaking out.”)

3. Motivation is always a significant part of motor racing – for drivers or teams. (The stakes are higher for teams during The Chase, which is why they are more motivated and why Keselowski’s victory was the first by a non-Chase driver in almost three years.)

4. The elimination of the local blackout rule for TV may have cut down on the crowds at CMS (among other places), but those who stay home are missing an impressive rendition of speed under the lights. (It’s like a high-speed light show with some serious sound…)

5. It’s hard to believe that pole winner Jeff Gordon averaged 194.308 mph in his Hendrick Motorsports Chevy. (When David Pearson won an 11th straight pole at CMS aboard the Wood Brothers Mercury in the fall of 1978,he averaged 161.395 mph.)

6. On a beautiful fall night for racing, a lot of empty seats contrasted with the days when CMS owner Bruton Smith was famous for over-stated crowd estimates – attributed to the North Carolina Highway Patrol – at a time when private ownership meant no reporting on the number of grandstand seats – or ticket sales. (Generally Smith’s estimates of a crowded track missed on the high side by 30 percent; on this night the facility was more than 30 percent empty.)

7. In addition to a “roof rail” to dirty up air and make overtaking more likely for a trailing car, NASCAR will test vents in the rear of the car to produce more rear downforce. (Monday’s five-car test at CMS will also examine new ride height rules, which will enable teams to stop using trick springs to get progressive suspension changes.)

8. When it was announced last week that IndyCar driver Tony Kanaan would join Chip Ganassi’s team in the IRL next year, it confirmed his much publicized visit to the shops of Joe Gibbs Racing in September was a bargaining ploy in his pursuit of a new open-wheel ride. (It reminds this writer of the time Formula 1 driver Gerhard Berger told reporters that he was looking at switching from Ferrari to a career in NASCAR…)

9. The current book from Deb Williams, a RacinToday.com senior writer, is a history on the Charlotte Motor Speedway. (A detailed look at all the movies shot at CMS includes the story of a construction foreman at the track whose name was Mater, who suggested to a producer he use “Tow-Mater” for the truck character.)

10. Formula 1 may have amazing three-second pit stops, but NASCAR remains the home of incredibly quick mid-race adjustments. (Kenseth’s crew twice took out spring rubbers and later added one to his recalcitrant Toyota, enabling him to gain 0.3 seconds per lap on the leader after his last stop under green.)

11. (bonus) Race winners Penske Racing definitely had the fastest jack in NASCAR. (It traveled underneath Keselowski’s car for an entire lap at 80 mph after the driver left early on one of his pit stops.)

– Jonathan Ingram can be reached at jingram@racintoday.com

Jonathan Ingram | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Sunday, October 13 2013
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