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Rewind: No apologies needed

- jutter@charlotteobserver.com
Sunday, Apr. 03, 2011

REARVIEW MIRROR

No one needs that, really

Yes, everyone in NASCAR wants to see Dale Earnhardt Jr. win again.

However, I don’t think anyone who beats Earnhardt when he might have a chance of winning needs to apologize for anything. NASCAR has enough perception problems as it is.

No one needs to add to that by insinuating someone should let Earnhardt win. The suggestion – even if only made playfully – raises questions of legitimacy that neither NASCAR nor Earnhardt should have to be straddled with.

Tire management: Art or craft?

Whether on purpose or by accident, the tire choices Goodyear officials made for Martinsville this weekend actually brought something back that's been missed: tire management.

During the Bristol weekend, several drivers called tire management a lost art in NASCAR racing. And I agree.

Goodyear’s premise on development is to construct tires that last a full fuel run. So having tires wear out before that was a new wrinkle that drivers didn’t much appreciate this weekend. However, it did make for a better race.

The question is, will we see more of it?

Hendrick's roster well-placed

Six races into the season and all four Hendrick Motorsports drivers are in the top 12 in series points. It may or may not be Jimmie Johnson again, but it seems as if one or more of the Hendrick drivers will factor into this season’s championship.

KEY MOMENTS

Lap 78

Kyle Busch takes the lead for the first time. For the second consecutive week, he leads the most laps (151) but isn’t able to get the win.

Lap 221

The throttle sticks on Martin Truex Jr.’s No. 56 Toyota as he enters Turn 3 and after plowing into Kasey Kahne, he slams hard into the wall. The race is stopped nearly 25 minutes for repairs. Neither driver is hurt.

Lap 467

Jimmie Johnson was in contention for the win, but on his last pit stop he was caught speeding on pit road. He ended up finishing 11th.

Lap 480

Dale Earnhardt Jr. nudges Busch and completes the pass for the lead as thousands of fans on hand rise, hoping Earnhardt's 98-race winless streak is about to end.

Lap 497

Harvick runs down Earnhardt, makes a clean pass and retakes the lead. He holds on for his second consecutive win.

NEXT RACE

Samsung 500

Where: Texas Motor Speedway, Fort Worth, Texas.

When: 7:30 p.m. Saturday.

TV: Fox.

Radio: Performance Racing Network.

Last year’s winner: Denny Hamlin.

More racing news, blogs, photos and more at www.ThatsRacin.com.

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