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    Sunday
    Mar252007

    Hendrick's FOX-y Friends

    DWaltrip02.jpgSince last season, I've suspected that former Cup champion and FOX color commentator Darryl Waltrip is secretly on the Hendricks Motorsports payroll, as evidenced by his unrequited adoration for all things Gordon. Waltrip’s pre-race comments before the Kobalt Tools 500 did little to dispel the suspicion when asked about Jimmie Johnson’s alleged preferential treatment when he avoided a second penalty for having a tire outside his pit box in the UAW GM 400 in Las Vegas the previous week. “If you watch the video,” Waltrip said in the Gas’n Go pre-race segment on FOX, “Chad didn’t let the car leave until the tire had been retrieved. He saw the tire get away, the guys got the tire, they brought it back before the car left pit box. No harm, no foul, good call.” Are you kidding me, D.W.??? It’s too bad FOX didn’t show the replay, because there were actually two tires that got away from Team Lowe’s on the final pit stop, and only one of them was returned in time—the second was being held by a crew member in the middle of the next box (right beside the NASCAR official, mind you) while J.J. drove off. Fast forward to the closing laps of the Kobalt Tools 500 (tools sold exclusively by Lowe’s, mind you), with Johnson running on fumes and trailing Tony Stewart by 1.3 seconds, and Jeff Gordon running in 18th place, a lap down. Only a “HendrickYellow” could save the boys with 15 laps and, lo and behold, there’s the flag for debris in Turn 3!!! Of course, Darryl and the boys are so busy yapping about tire strategy that we never actually see the debris, but who cares about the details? As long as it got Jimmie the gas he needed and got Jeff back on the lead lap, everyone’s happy. And now, Nextel Cup points leader Mark Martin is actually going to sit out the Bristol race (apply the “L” directly to the forehead, Mark) and give the points lead over to—you guessed it—Jeff Gordon. You couldn’t wrap it up any neater for Hendricks Motorsports than if you tied a little red bow on it. It’s a conspiracy, I tell you! And FOX is in on it!

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