- Rusty Wallace, NASCAR
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Kasey Kahne had never had much luck at Lowe's Motor Speedway, but Sunday night changed all that.
He had a great-handling car while winning the Coca-Cola 600.
You can overthink it all you want, but a good-handling car will change your luck almost automatically.
He kept running the high line, which really made a difference coming off Turn 4. There's a big change in the banking right there, and he was able to have a straighter departure onto the straightaway than most other drivers. The cars running lower on the track were losing downforce and spinning out.
The reasons for the cars spinning out were a concern all week, and it came to pass in the race.
The racetrack was in fabulous condition, having just been repaved. But NASCAR felt the track would make the tires wear quickly, so it switched to smaller fuel cells so the cars couldn't run on the tires as long.
But then Goodyear got very conservative on the tires. I have never seen -- or more accurately heard -- a tire that was so hard that cars started squealing the tires like in a cartoon as they left the pits. It was like a bad action movie.
The tires were so hard that if a guy got even a tiny bit loose, they were going to spin out.
And with the small fuel cells, they were pitting all the time. It was ridiculous. You want to see some pit stops, but you also want to see racing, and these cars were in the pits too often.
Goodyear is a great manufacturer but occasionally misses the mark and provides too hard a tire or too soft a tire, which causes a lot of problems. That's what happened Sunday night. It's like the new track freaked Goodyear out. And it got some of the drivers, most notably Jeff Gordon, upset.
Then there's Kyle Busch. He was a total hothead.
He needs somebody to kick his ass. Casey Mears got loose and spun into Busch, but he didn't have any intention of hitting him. Then Busch came out there and slung part of his HANS at Mears.
If I had been there I'd have stopped, backed up and got out of the car, and smacked Busch's face off. Then I would have gotten back in the car and took off.
That was a ridiculous and embarrassing move. Seriously though, the problem is he keeps doing this stuff. You would think he would learn, but he just keeps doing it. I don't like it when somebody disrespects the sport, and that's what he's doing right now.
And it's all because he got mad.
While Busch was losing his cool, Kahne was keeping his. And I think it proved to everybody that Dodge has a great car and a great engine combination.
Ray Evernham really has that team going in the right direction.
The Roush Ford cars also performed well, but the Hendrick Chevrolets really struggled, except for team leader Jimmie Johnson.
People have always looked at Gordon as the leader of that team, but you shouldn't any longer. Week in and week out, it's Johnson performing. Jeff knows how to drive a car, but right now he doesn't have the total package. He can get there, but Johnson is the total package right now.
But the Evernham team, you could tell they were talking out there and helping each other out.
Tony Stewart needed help just to get out of his car. He had a hard crash Saturday night in the Busch race and then another Sunday in the 600.
He will be fine, because he's a tough guy. And everything that happened to him over the weekend was very uncharacteristic for him.
But he's injured, so he might have to cut out some of the extra things he does, like going back and forth to different tracks in Iowa or Knoxville or wherever. He needs to spend time at home and heal up a little.
Another big name managed to stay under the radar, but he still had a good night. Dale Earnhardt Jr. was fantastic, really. He got a lap down, but got it back. He kept telling the crew it was all his fault. He was a great cheerleader, and 11th was a pretty good finish considering how low he could have gone.
Former Cup champion Rusty Wallace will provide coverage for ESPN and ABC during this year's IndyCar Series and selected Nextel Cup races. You can check out all things Rusty at his constantly updated and upgraded Web site at rustywallace.com