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|Kasey Kahne got Dodge back in the win column for the first time since last September.|
As for Newman, he continues to run with last year's old Dodge Intrepid nose, and it appears that was the absolute wrong decision. I expect that team to go back to the Charger nose as quickly as possible since that's what won Monday's race and his teammate Kurt Busch was so strong with the Charger nose. It should be a mad thrash at Team Penske to get the old noses removed from the No. 12 cars and the Charger noses back on. You have to commend them for trying so hard and going with the older nose section, but it was the wrong decision.Team Penske really got going this race with Busch. He led 22 laps and looked great before a late accident took him out of contention. Also, it was really good to see Team Petty perform well, with Kyle Petty finishing eighth. It was fabulous to see that team back up and running great. It was also really exciting to see the original No. 43 -- Richard Petty's old number -- with Bobby Labonte leading 13 laps. Petty Enterprises looked great in Atlanta. Petty's team is definitely better than it has been since Richard retired. The team has better engines, better cars and good management and is starting to shape up. Race delayed by rain
Jeff Gordon: I'm seeing some consistency now with him, and he appears to be back with his fourth-place finish. I like to say he has his "mojo" back. Gordon was off for a long time, but Monday he showed he took a turn for the better and has that team back where it needs to be.
Tony Stewart: He was strong again with his second top-five finish of the season. All the controversy he and Busch had didn't seem to come to fruition.
|Mark Martin's second-place finish was his best result of 2006.|
Bill Lester: He definitely was not happy with his finish (38th), although he was happy he qualified on his own and got in the race with a good speed. He was six laps off the pace, which is quite a bit, but first things first. Lester got in the race and got a lot of seat time. That's what he needed to do. Bill needed to run his first-ever 500-mile race to get the seat time to see what these cars need -- the chassis, engines, how the pit crews work together.Next race: Bristol
Another driver to watch is Denny Hamlin; he's a short-tracker at heart. He won the Mexico Busch race and the Bud Shootout in Daytona, and Monday he was up there charging for the lead only to have problems late. He's a rookie, although he doesn't look like one. If you discount his finish in Atlanta, Hamlin continues to run up front week in and week out, and he continues to surprise a lot of people.Former Cup champion Rusty Wallace will provide coverage for ESPN and ABC during this year's IndyCar Series and selected Nextel Cup races.