The Final Word – Be it Las Vegas or Phoenix, we be groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon

Another Sunday, another NASCAR Cup race. I think if you loved the race, you may have been a fan to some degree of one of the top four. The fact Kevin Harvick followed up a pair of runner-up finishes with his 29th career contest at Las Vegas must have made followers of the defending Cup champ smile. He certainly had the most dominant car on the day, leading the way for more than half the laps.

A second place run from Martin Truex Jr. may have been welcome. Seeing Ryan Newman take third was fine for many. Dale Earnhardt Jr. coming home fourth had to make more than a few content with how things played out. Imagine how you might have felt had Joey Logano won.

Sure, there are Logano fans out there, and I am not just referring to Brittany. I mean, NASCAR must love him, or at least that might explain them dropping a caution for a long sitting lost tire near pit road just as he, and only he, was left coming in for his stop. They might as well have changed his tires and offered the lad a snack while they were at it. If nothing else, they kept him on the lead lap, something only 14 cars could claim when it was all over, to take 10th on the day.

Kasey Kahne finished 17th, Carl Edwards 42nd. Why that was had everything to do with Edwards accidently taking his rival up and into the wall, and Kahne not so accidently spinning his rival into tagging the inside fence. Carl took the blame when the microphone found him inside the car, inside the garage, seeking repairs that proved too much to salvage even one additional position.

Brian Scott salvaged a 13th place outcome in his run for Richard Childress in the No, 33 to be the best amongst those we do not see regularly near the front. Whitney and Brielle had good reason to be pleased on the day.

Two spots behind him was Brian Vickers. Three months ago they were working on his heart, Sunday he was working to get his career back on track. Already, in just one race, he sits ahead of Tony Stewart in the standings.

Smoke’s season has already gone for shlitz. Some had bad days, while he had a bad car, bad enough to sit 33rd in the end. Cole Whitt had a bigger presence this day. Other guys for whom things did not go well included Atlanta winner Jimmie Johnson. He looked great early, but had to pit with a tire vibration. Johnson was battling for the lucky dog then a tire went down and he found the fence to finish just ahead of Edwards. Of course, with the win a week earlier, that leaves him sitting third in the rankings.

So, was this a spectacular sporting event to sit through? Not really, though to be fair that could be said about any number of contests we witness every week. However, Cup has just 36 offerings for us to be excited about, compared to the hundreds and thousands of offerings per season in other major sports. If a game does not turn your crank, turn to another. That is not an option in NASCAR, so they are left with having to better market their product. Sadly, I feel they are woefully falling short.

This weekend, there is another Sunday, another race, but this time they are in Phoenix. A 500 mile race that in five spring dates has yet to find a distinctive identity. To date, it has been named after a sponsor each time, Subway for three, CNBC last year, and Camping World this time out. Just another race on the schedule.

Bad news for those not fans of Kevin Harvick. He won last week, and he has won the last three run at Phoenix. Maybe it should be the Happy Havick 500? At least some folks might love that.

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.


  1. I can’t tell which is worse – the headline or the story. Groovin’ on a Sunday afternoon? Did the entire country miss this year’s schedule and not know about Sunday’s race? And who is we? Is the author in the race? Are they listening to music? What’s shlitz? An even cheaper version of Schlitz? Yikes, if you read the story and headline, sue to regain the wasted time from your life.


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