I am a kid who has been given the keys to the candy shop, and the delivery times of the candy truck every week so he can get the fresh stuff before anyone else gets their grubby hands on it.
Yes, through my other amatuer writing I have been given the keys to the realm of NASCAR media.
And, of course, like the metaphorical kid in sweet shop, I haven't a clue what to do with it right. I'm sure you'll agree AFNK isn't exactly the most statistically in depth peice of writing in the world, but there are so many shiny numbers and quotes and facts and figures and more numbers and pictures.
Well it's enough to make you think so hard you'll let a little bit of wee out.
And with that stunning bodily-function related revelation, let's get on with it.
Tony Raines - Kicking off a bumper crop of field fillers this week, comes the man in the #37 car, who managed to limbo under the bar of lowness set by Blaney, Nemechek and company by actually failing to qualify, turning a lap at 176mph, some 3mph slower than the lowest other go-or-go-home car. However, he was 2mph faster than Eric Darnell, who must have lapped the entire Atlanta metro area he was so slow...................12/10
Regan Smith - And this week I bring you not just one, but two DNQ sob stories - and this one has even more sob, as it has slightly less rubbish driver. Regan Smith would have been fast enough to get in the field (4mph faster than Darnell the Cab driver) had Atlanta not been one of the races that the, apparently retired, Terry Labonte turned up to with his Champions' Provisional round his neck (I always imagine they wear these things round their neck like media passes). (Oh - media - look there were 31 cars on the lead lap on lap 160)..........11/10
Dave Blaney - Back to the well trodden field filler pastures of Dave Blaney and Prism Racing, who this week managed only 19 laps (the days when Dave would complete a dizzying 49 laps are but a distant happy memory now) before retiring to the pits, with an "electrical" problem. Presumably it's the same sort of electrical 'problem' I have when I forget to plug my laptop in and it runs out of battery.................10/10
Joe Nemechek - And completing only 6 more laps than Dave, but paradoxically banking 300 fewer almighty dollars, comes Joe Nemechek, whose excuse this week was brakes. That means, stat fans, that Atlanta was the fourth time Joe has claimed brakes stopped his race, making it his favourite excuse, with 'brakes' now being a clear leader over 'transmission'. And I didn't even need the media gubbins to find that out..............10/10
A.J. Allmendinger - Hooray for someone that actually raced! OK, so it's only A.J. Allmendinger, but it's an improvement. A.J. just avoided the 20-somethings of anonymity by finishing a glorious 20th from a 35th starting position, but otherwise had a very quiet race, completing absolutely zero "quality passes" (I'm a beginner at statistics, I haven't a clue what a quality pass is - presumably one where he has no hands on the wheel, or is steering with his feet as he's passing or something else to raise it from 'ordinary' into 'quality')....................6/10
Kurt Busch - The winner of the first Atlanta race brought back the same car, and found the situation very different indeed, struggling to hold on to his car (but then I think everyone was at some point) until he decided to try and reprise his 'Unwind Lap' routine and only succeeded in finding the wall, and waking Joey Logano up..............................5/10
David Reutimann - I'm guessing David doesn't much care for the statistics I now have at my fingertips this week. With his fourth place finish he is still in mathmatical contention for The Chase, using the word 'mathmatical' in the way only sports analysts can of dismissing someone's chances out of hand. And let's be fair to actually be in the top-12 after Richmond David needs a large swathe of Virginia to open up and swallow about a dozen NASCAR drivers (or 42 to be on the safe side), or at least find a way of taking Matt Kenseth out before Blaney, Nemechek and their gang decide to stop for coffee..................3/10
And the Brikkie Goes To.......................
Carl Edwards. Carl, consider this a hold over Brikkie as AFNK doesn't explicitely cover the Nationwide Series. You steal Marcos' Nationwide victory and write off his Grand-Am car last week. That had me calling for Karma to come and get you (read the Power Rankings and you'll understand) and it did. Karma punishes you with a broken foot, and engine trouble (although at least it meant we saw less of that paint job - I know it was a cancer charity, and it's not PC to say so, but that was hideous). That cumulative two week extravaganza of moronic behaviour earn Flipper a Brikkie - aimed at his foot.
NASCAR heads for the paradise of The Chase by the dashboard light of a Richmonf night race. And AFNK gets some high profile play mates, with limping Flipper Carl Edwards, Dale Earnhardt Jr, Chase hopeful Brian Vickers and Reed Sorenson (provided he's not scanning classifieds for a job next year). And, of course your weekly dose of field filler with Dave Blaney, Joe Nemechek and Mike Bliss