The Duels and The Fools

Believe it or not I found the Duel 150's entertaining. There was good close racing, drama over transfer spots, broken parts, spins, some beating and banging, and a failed post-race inspection (yet again).

The final starting order for the Daytona 500 is now set. Click here for the complete list. Most notable on the list is Micheal Waltrip, who qualified for the 500 in a unpracticed back-up car because his primary car was confiscated by NASCAR - click here if you don't know about MWR's woes.

Some things to note about the today's races:

- I never thought Red Bull would miss the 500, maybe one (A.J.) but not both.

- Jeremy Mayfield is not racing this weekend either. I'm surprised but not as much as the Red Bull deal.

- MWR has all three cars in the show, but unfortunately for them that isn't the biggest news for that organization this week. They should be celebrating, and I'm sure they are to an extent, but not as much as they could be. It is like winning your conference Championship on the last play of the game to be in the Super Bowl but losing your starting QB with a broken leg on the same play - just how much can you be happy without being just a bit nervous about the future?

- Juan Montoya again showed us just how good he really is and as I have said before if Ganassi et al can provide him with good equipment he'll do well this year.

- Menard is going home - wow! Can't help but to wonder if this will fit into Earnhardt's contract negotiations somehow. Just blame it on Riggs!

- Stirling Marlin is a team player, just ask Joe Nemechek. Although I'm sure Jeremy Mayfield isn't Stirling's number 1 fan right now.

- Tony Stewart now needs to finish what he started. Two down, one to go!

- Even when Robby Gordon finally accepts blame for something he did, he still manages to place the blame elsewhere.

Finally I'll leave you with this:

Jeff Gordon wins and gets to keep the win, but is moved to the end of the starting line-up for the 500 because his car failed tech inspection after the race. Now Jeff Gordon does have his supporters on this, see Diecast Dude. But I still have a problem with Gordon not being fined, even though I'm sure his infraction wasn't intentional. Yes, I do believe that! But read on ...

Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's vice president for competition, said bolts had been misaligned on the rear shocks installed prior to Thursday's race. Once the race started, the load on those misaligned bolts caused the car's quarterpanels, but not the roof, to be lower than the minimum allowed height.

This would make the car faster on the straightaways, and most likely a little less stable in the corners.

My problem with all this is that NASCAR has fined other drivers and teams in the past for problems as a result of broken parts. My memory is fading a bit, but I seem to recall a front spring breaking on Mark Martin's car not too long ago that made his car lower then it should have been and he was docked owner and driver points as a result (25 I think). If I'm wrong here please correct me, but I think I got the gist of it.

What makes Gordon's situation any different than Martin's? Nothing, in my opinion. In fact, Martin's problem was truly due to a faulty part, while Gordon's problem was more human error than a faulty part. That fact alone makes Gordon's issue more relevant because how do we truly know that the person who installed that part didn't really do it deliberately? Where in Martin's case the front spring is issued by NASCAR and installed under the watchful eye of NASCAR so no one switches springs for a 'softer' one.

I'm not claiming favoritism here - let the conspiracy theorists do that - I just want a little consistency. They should have a set standard lower height penalty, which could even be broken into two categories: intentional and unintentional - sort of like face-masking and face-masking/personal-foul in football.

Photo Credit: Eric Gilbert from

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