Race #4, Atlanta Motor Speedway

Now That’s a Command To Start Your Engines!
All hail Kelly Brown! That was solid. Hell, it may be 65 degrees outside, my yard needs raking, and my kid has his first Little League practice right now, but the the hell with that! I am so sitting here, getting fat in the Barca lounger, eager to spend five hours glued to the TV. Beer me, Marge!

Hey, Larry Mac
Please, if I never hear another reference to (insert name of official sponsor here) fuel by Larry McReynolds ever again? It would be fine by me.

I promise, I’m not saying a friggin’ thing about the sporadically populated grandstands. Yeah, I know–the spring race at Atlanta is always attendance-challenged…but, don’t you know, they’re all on their feet and none of them has left yet!

Whither Digger?
The unofficial Digger count as of Lap 12: two sightings…I have a mission: how many appearances of the insufferable little rodent am I subjected to over the next five hours? Will I be deleteriously affected? Will I emerge a changed man?

Oh, sorry. I was dozing — not because I’ve found the first 40 laps anything but scintillating, I promise? No, it’s Daylight Savings. No one told my dog to sleep in this morning, I can assure you.

Two cautions, two cars out of the race, and two stints at the front for the No. 2 of Kurt Busch. Or, if I was Larry Mac or DW, I’d just say something witty like Deuces are wild! Last I hear, Busch has a 72-mile lead on the pack, I believe.

Caution #3
Crew guy for Marcos Ambrose runs out into the infield area, bringing out the caution. So, the guy gets back behind the wall in, what, 16 seconds? He’s a big guy — a smaller guy might’ve made the same trek in 12.76 seconds. Regardless, he was out and back in a fairly timely manner — so why do they need to run 86 laps under freaking caution?

Pay up! I called it: Nemechek out before Lap 100. C’mon now, who’s payin’?

Say What Now?
Caution No. 4, a result of an actual-if-inconsequential on-track incident demands two, three laps under yellow, whereas the previous, dumb-crew-guy caution requires what seemed like 23 laps?

Digger! Here Digger! Digger? Where are you, Digger?
Nearing 150 laps, I realize I haven’t had the rodent shoved down my throat more than, perhaps, eight times. However, what is apparent to me is that familiarity doesn’t breed contempt, it merely heightens it — because no matter how often FOX forces me to acknowledge his existence, my blood boils.

Of course, at this stage, I’m finding that quartet of guitar players who sing for Aamco equally annoying…

Caution #6
Here’s what I want to know: Is Tyler Hansbrough for real or will he just flameout at the next level?

Why Junior is the Most Popular Driver
Paraphrasing Junior to his crew: Here’s what I want to know — if my wheel comes off and I hit the wall real hard, I get to whack every damn one of you in the head with a hammer, is that a deal?

I am only left to wonder why it is people wonder why it is Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the most popular driver in the sport.

That Crew Guy
Obviously, when you’ve only got 12 guys on the lead lap and a bunch of cars multiple laps down, one lap here or there doesn’t necessarily mean a whole lot. Still, when you’re a journeyman and you’re digging and scraping for everything you can get and for every position on the track (and the money that comes with each step up the ladder), I kind of wonder just how many people are going to want to give Ambrose’s crew guy a piece of their mind after this race…

Caution #8
It will be interesting to see what the comments are like after the race — I’ll be damned if I can recall a race where so many guys were just wicked loose like they are here …

Does Gordon Hold On?
Lord, I hope so, if only to put to death winless since/longest winless streak of his career stories. 

Of course, it’s a measure of the changed landscape in the sport that I wonder about Gordon’s ability to hold on. Time was, he gets out to a two-second lead with 80 to go, you figured he was gone. Now, you’re left holding your breath, waiting for the next piece of bad luck.

Jimmie Johnson Too Fast Exiting Pit Road
Now that’s not a mistake you see the  No. 48 team make too often. That’s almost Earnhardt-ian … but then, the No. 88 has been flawless in the pits today, which is, I believe, a first for the year.

Memo to FOX (And This Has Nothing to Do With Digger)
Stop, stop, stop, stop, stop referring to packs of cars as a wad — if I want allusions to porn, I’ll click over to Holy Taco…

Memo to FOX (And This Has Everything to Do With Digger)
Do you think you could replace Digger with endless plugs for that chick from Terminator: The Sarah Connor Chronicles?

33 Laps To Go
Kurt Busch just took the green flag. The rest of the field is still racing.

No Pressure
As things stand now, Joey Logano, a.k.a., Sliced Bread, is in danger of falling out of the all-important Top 35 heading to Bristol … gulp.

Well What Do You Know
We’re looking at a green/white/checkers, with Carl Edwards out front. 

The More Tolerable Busch Wins
The 19th career win for Kurt Busch, third top-10 finish of 2009. Gordon second, Carl Edwards third.

Busch led more laps today than he did in all of 2008.