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Saturday, February 9, 2008

NASCAR: What A Way To Start

The NASCAR season semi-officially started with the Budweiser Shootout. This is not actually an official race, there are not points handed out and it doesn't count for much really. Except for Bragging rights, which had the guys running and bumping all night long.

In a race that had 17 lead changes with 8 different leaders. The excitement was present from the backside of the 10 minute break that came after the first 20 laps. When the final 50 were run we finally got to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. get a win he has been chasing since his last trip to the winner circle almost a year and half ago.

Probably more satisfying than the win in terms of breaking that losing streak was the fact that this is his first race with Hendrick motorsports. He joined the Hendrick team after leaving DEI, the comapny that his father started, at the end of last season. While many members of Junior Nation were hesitant to accept the move to Hendrick, which has been "the enemy" for so long. The sudden move to the winners circle, along with the fact that he wouldn't have beaten out Tony Stewart to get there without the push from Hendrick teammate Jimmie Johnson. I imagine even the most hesitant fan to convert is out buying the green T-shirt of Junior's new sponsor, Amp'd energy drink, right about now.

Speaking of Stewart, I had in the past spouted off about how Joe Gibbs racing would see a year possibly two year lull in their success. With their move to Toyota at the end of last season. I just saw them having the same type of learning curve that the other Toyota teams experienced throughout 2007. I WAS WRONG. Tony Stewart, with out much push from teammates or even other Toyota drivers, managed to put up a strong second place finish.

Looks like it should be a great year. Can't wait for next weeks Daytona 500

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