It has been a common occurrence recently. Green flag waves. Fast car takes the lead. Fast car sets sail. Other cars get close after restart. Fast car sets sail again. Checkered flag waves.
It could have been that kind of race in Chicago.
At the end of the day the fastest car, which was driven by Mark Martin, won the race. I submit that justice was served. Thanks to the double-file restart, at least things were interesting.
The second-fastest car of the night, Jimmie Johnson’s 48, overtook the Martin briefly. Out came another caution. They lined the cars up for another double file restart. Denny Hamlin decided to set "chaos theory" in motion by riding Johnson’s bumper. Brian Vickers got in on the fun and decided to challenge Hamlin. One minor problem: Martin ducked under and passed his competitors like they were riding their emergency brakes.
There are those who complained that the LifeLock.com 400 at Chicagoland Speedway was not the best show they’d ever seen. In fact, one writer likened the race to a bad movie in which lame devices were thrown in to try to keep the show interesting.
Here’s the way I saw it. The Chicago race was like a football game where one team was loaded for bear, jumped out to a 35-0 lead, and then the other team came back in the second half. When the dust settled the score was something like 42-28.
Observers have commented that the fans would love the new restarts and the drivers would hate them. Jeff Burton expressed his frustration after getting collected in a wreck involving Paul Menard and Scott Speed. Even winner Martin opined right after the race that double file restarts create scenarios whereby the best car might not win.
Martin on double-file restarts
I won’t argue. Double file restarts certainly introduce an element of aggressiveness for the drivers and it does produce wild results.
On the other hand, I could not imagine this last race without it. Even with it, the best car still won at the end of the night.
(Editor’s note: All Left Turns guest columnist Jim McCoy edits bump-drafts.com.)