So the last few races in the Sprint Cup and F1 World Championships have been decided by late race tyre calls. It?s true you need to be on the right tyre at the right time, but it?s always funny that you don?t know the right call until the end of a race.
For Jenson Button in Turkey, three stops just didn?t work. It may have worked if Webber hadn?t decided he could do with a fresh set for the last 10 or so laps, and if everyone else had been as bold as Button, maybe we?d have a different winner.
It was a great race though, action up and down the field and the most pit-stops since Ayrton Senna?s famous win at Donnigton in 1993. That was also a race where being on the right tyre at the right time paid off. Vettel was unstoppable, as he has been for this first part, which leads me to believe he could as big as the great Senna. We haven?t seen domination like his since Schumacher and Ferrari took five titles back to back. What can we do to stop him?
For the NASCAR though, tyre calls have paid off twice for two different winners. At Darlington, Regan Smith stayed out, and to our amazement, saw off Carl Edwards to take his first chequered flag. Ironic that his excellent qualifying attempts have never translated into results, yet when quali goes bad, he goes out and wins the thing! Good for Smith though, Furniture Row Racing are certainly moving in all the right directions, I expect to see more good things from them and Smith.
Kenseth, had a different call altogether. He calls a right-side only stop at Dover, literally as he is on the jack, and overtakes Mark Martin, who didn?t stop at all, for the win. The commentators were amazed, as what they thought was a risky strategy turned into an excellent results for all top three finishers.
The stats speak for themselves in this case: Johnson and Bowyer led 324 laps of 400 between them in Darlington, Kenseth only needed the last 32 to win. Kahne and Rowdy lead 202 of 367 laps between them in Dover, Regan only needed the final 11. All this just goes to show you that you can lead 99% of a race, but if you don?t make the right decision, you won?t be leading that most important lap, the final one.
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