The Final Word – Some good, some bad, some ugly as we look ahead to Bristol

Bristol, Tennessee is where the lads (and lassie) are venturing for this weekend’s Cup action. Matt Kenseth arrives from Las Vegas with his birthday wrench and his 25th career victory. He has a pair at Bristol and most often leaves the place with a Top Ten finish. Over the past four years, half of the eight run there has been taken by Kyle Busch, with Brad Keselowski holding a pair, Jimmie Johnson with one, and Denny Hamlin claimed the race last August. As to what Denny thinks about this new Gen 6 car, he really loves turtles.

There was more passing at Las Vegas, we are told. Lots more. Twenty-two lead changes, the most in six years there, and 2300 passes compared to 1300 a year ago, we are told. So, there were more than 8.7 passes made per lap? I wonder, if car A is trailing car B at one scoring loop, B puts its nose ahead by the next scoring loop, only to stall out and trail as they pass over the next, does that constitute two passes but with nothing really changing? Just wondering.

The wallet is low on cash to afford some things. You can learn to do without, to prioritize what you need to afford and what you don’t need. You can add cash to your wallet by picking someone else’s wallet, and just keep spending. While the U.S. government decides which way to go, things are just being cut, so likely no more fly overs before NASCAR races, no more tours of the White House for kids. Yet, golf vacations are still a go for some. Life is good when you are on top of the heap.

Just one extra entry seeking a place to race at Bristol. Scott Riggs is the man who needs to time in among the top 36 in qualifying or he will be parked come Sunday. That probably won’t be enough to set record ratings for the time trials.

The time has come where 2013 points could decide who makes a race and who does not. The lowest on the totem pole among those we might miss would be Danica Patrick (31st) and Ryan Newman (32nd). Neither will be in danger this week, or in the foreseeable future.

The television announcers can go a long way in making a race. FOX has the all-star team, which helps explain why it again provided the high ranked televised sports event over the weekend. Is Mike Joy the best lap-by-lap man in the nation? Probably not, but no one has yet found the guy who is and put him on television.

Is there a better duo to provide color than Darrell Waltrip and Larry McReynolds? They are solid, but I like the additional banter Wally Dallenbach Jr and Kyle Petty provide that keeps me watching. Those two are pure entertainment. Nobody touches Jeff Hammond as the roving reporter/tech guy, while Matt Yocum, Krista Voda, and Steve Byrnes are on top of the pit action.

I miss the recently retired Dick Berggren, but ESPN’s Dr. Jerry Punch and Jamie Little, along with SPEED’s Wendy Venturini and TNT’s Marty Snider can get the job done. On the desk, you have Chris Myers and Michael Waltrip, and that is it. The ESPN crew might be nice people, and I think Alan Bestwick a natural on that desk, but I simply can’t listen to Rusty or Brad, and I miss nothing when I don’t. I expect solid coverage into June, slipping to tolerable to July, to be followed by four months of God awful. What do you think?

Finally, Brad Keselowski was asked how he would feel if a gay person worked on his team. The champion responded that “if you can win, people will want to be part of what you can do.” That has got him some attention from the Topeka, Kansas Westboro Baptist Church. Along with some uncomplimentary tweets, they plan to picket an upcoming race, possibly in Kansas next month. There are some things that disgust me, such as folks riding a float playing with their nipples, regardless as to their gender or sexual orientation. Same goes for public displays of french kissing. People who cheat on their spouses. People who fail to raise their kids right. Punks of all ages who substitute reasoned debate with vulgar demonstrations of their own immaturity. One does not have to agree with those who differ from themselves, in fact they should be able to voice their opposition. However, I believe the amount of respect one should expect is equal to the amount of respect one gives to others. Enjoy the week.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of  As an Amazon Associate we earn from qualifying purchases for some links and banners that are being displayed on

Ron Thornton
Ron Thornton
A former radio and television broadcaster, newspaper columnist, Little League baseball coach, Ron Thornton has been following NASCAR on this site since 2004. While his focus may have changed over recent years, he continues to make periodic appearances only when he has something to say. That makes him a rather unique journalist.



Please enter your comment!
Please enter your name here

Best New Zealand Online Casinos

10 deposit casinos

Best Betting Sites in Canada

Latest articles