Saturday, September 11, 2010

Credit Denny Hamlin with a win and a very good answer

   What makes a good race?

   Too many opinions and too little space to provide everyone's answer to that question. But the issue was sure to arise Saturday night at Richmond International Raceway. Denny Hamlin won his sixth race of the season and captured the No. 1 seed in the Chase for the Sprint Cup.

   While that is an impressive accomplishment, the immediate consensus by fans following the action on Twitter was that the racing was "boring" or fell short of expectations.

   Why? More than one person pointed out that there were "only" three cautions. Count me among the faction that does not believe good racing only comes because of wrecks or the cautions those wrecks create.

   The drivers with the two best cars most of Saturday night - Hamlin and Clint Bowyer -passed each other under green five times. Granted, that's not a lot of action in a race with only three cautions, but it certainly doesn't count as "bad racing" in my book.

   After the race, I thought Denny Hamlin provided a good explanation from behind the steering wheel as to how it is out on the track, even during times when fans watching on TV may be less than enthralled with the competition.

   "It’s so more than what people can see on TV," he said. "It’s so tough and mentally it’s tough to see a guy barreling down on you with 40 laps to go and know that you just cannot force yourself to go any harder than what you know your car is capable of.”

   There is no way a race fan or media member for that matter has any idea the pressure - mentally or physically - drivers face at any given moment in a race.

   I, for one, am not going to try to guess at an opinion based only on what I "see" - in person or on TV.