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From The Marbles

Happy Hour: Were we all watching the same race on Sunday?

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This isn't a bad stretch in the NASCAR schedule. After a fun (but rain-delayed) race at Bristol, there was an entertaining race at Auto Club and Martinsville is a favorite of many. I expressed this on the Chrome Horn earlier this week, but I appreciate Martinsville in doses. A 13-caution, 3-hour, 15-minute dose. A 22-caution marathon? No, thanks. Stop wrecking and let's race.

But apparently some folks didn't find the race Sunday at ACS all that entertaining. There's been a lot of attention given to the final restart and I admit, there can be a tendency to value the quality of a race with too much emphasis on the drama of the final few laps. However, as has also been said before, the race before the final restart was entertaining. Though that opionion isn't shared by everyone.

This is my opinion and observations from watching the full race last week. Everyone said it was a GREAT race.
Yes. Only on restarts and at the end (which was a restart) for the final 2 laps.
The rest of the race was the same old thing. Who ever got in the front stayed there and drove away from the field. Then everyone else lined up single file for quite some time. The passing was because of the tire issues hitting some of the cars because of pushing the limits too much on the setups. Yes, that is what they get paid to do.
There was a lot of single file running if you look back through the footage. I darn near took a nap on that one long green flag run. - Bud

Bud! Yes, there wasn't side-by-side racing every lap, but I didn't find myself wondering if I was going to doze off at all during the race. Maybe the tire drama had something to do with that?

I also don't think the leaders checked out at all. A car that got out front didn't get too far ahead of the rest of the field, and 10 of the 35 lead changes were under green. That may not sound like a ton, but when you consider that the entire race was basically run without a full green-flag pit stop cycle, it's an impressive number.

Plus, let's be honest. We have to judge intermediate-track races on a different standard at this point, a sliding scale if you will. Any race with tire fall-off, lead changes and side-by-side racing for more than the first couple laps after a restart is a positive. It may sound pessimistic, but it's true.

This is a fun one to think about, but anytime soon? No. Goodyear has a tough enough task as it is trying to figure out what tires to use that are going to have fall-off and durability. So in order for two different sets to be considered, they would have to have mastered one set, and I'm not sure we're to that point yet. A race with "hard" and "soft" tires would likely see the same strategies employed by teams. The "hard" tires would be used for the majority of the race, especially at tracks with long green-flag tendencies, and the short tires would be saved for green-white-checker finishes and sprints.

Maybe that's an oversimplification, but in a NASCAR than can be accident deprived at times, the safe bet would be to take tires that wouldn't fall off much over the course of a full fuel run to make up time on the latter half of a segment.

The gut says Clint Bowyer on this one, but would it be entirely surprising to see Brian Vickers in victory lane first? As Geoffrey Miller pointed out in Hot/Not this week, Vickers was a solid seventh this weekend. Though that was going to be behind Bowyer, who ran up front for most of the day before having the tire issue as Jeff Gordon got two laps to go.

Heck, Vickers beat Bowyer to victory lane last year. (OK, so Clint got a DNF in that one.)

I have not watched Cosmos, and no, not out of principle. I'm just not a very good non-sports television watcher. But this is disappointing that the Vortex theory hasn't come up. Why? It's perhaps the strongest weather theory in all of professional sports, and for Neil DeGrasse Tyson not to give such a credible and strong theory backed by mounds and mounds of scientific evidence the time of day to either give it credence or dismiss it is entirely disappointing.

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Nick Bromberg is the editor of From The Marbles on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at nickbromberg@yahoo.com or follow him on Twitter!

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