The Final Word – Texas was all about Jimmie and Kevin with a Junior cameo

Jimmie, and Kevin, and Dale, oh my. Jimmie, and Kevin, and Dale, oh my.

Last Saturday night was a good one if you happened to be a fan of one of the above-mentioned drivers. Johnson was the class of the field, leading 128 laps, including the final one. It was his second win of the season and the 72nd of his career. Six-time rather likes the Texas track, having won the last three fall races, now four in his last six attempts, and his fifth win overall in Fort Worth. I am starting to think he likes the place.

Kevin Harvick, also with a pair of victories this season along with four runner-up finishes, led 96 laps and came home second. Life must be good when finishing eighth at Martinsville represents a slump. As for Junior, well, Mr. Earnhardt led zero laps but he was close, closer still near the end, to claim third. If he could only get a mulligan for both Phoenix and Martinsville, for he has finished between third and sixth everywhere else.

Another good day as well for the likes of Joey Logano and Brad Keselowski, as the Penske duo finished in the Top Five. Proof positive you can get away with being a two car operation if those teams actually matter. Same goes for single car outfits, as Martin Truex Jr. now has a Top Ten in each race of this season, a huge turnaround from a year ago. As for the likes of Tony Stewart and Sam Hornish Jr, nothing much to write home about regarding this race or this season. Maybe this weekend things will be different. Probably not.

Maybe they could join the rest of us, experiencing success at home driving a video game version. Next month the new NASCAR ‘15 game comes out. Of course, for me, realism is being able to switch to indestructible mode in order to take out the entire field en route to victory. Hey, it could happen in real life. Having cars flying a hundred feet into the air, now that was unrealistic.

Unrealistic, like me growing taller, or having my hair back, or holding out hope that one day I might actually become a Cup driver. If I could just shed 60 pounds and 40 years, I could be Erik Jones. You might as well become familiar with the 18-year-old, who is registered in the trucks. All he has done there is win four of his career 20 events, with 16 Top Tens. When he was 16 and 17, he ran ARCA, winning one of 14 with eight Top Tens. Oh, Jones also runs Xfinity, winning his first in nine attempts last weekend to go with six Top Tens. Joe Gibbs did not want to rush him into Cup, going with David Ragan instead of Jones to fill in for Kyle Busch. Even though Ragan sits 10th in the standings, maybe they might want to re-think that. The man child might be ready.

We are always ready for a day at Bristol, where Jimmie and Kevin and Dale have all won. Once. Jimmie won it five years ago while 10 have gone by for the other two. Kurt Busch and Jeff Gordon each have five, but a few years have ticked by even for them.

No, your best bet would be Carl Edwards. Winner of three, including the event one year ago, he did pick up his first Top Ten last Saturday. Maybe it is his time to shine this season though if he falters I am sure teammates Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin would be more than willing to pick up the slack. Both are also past Bristol winners.

As for some Bristol trivia, there were 56 races run at that track between 1973 and 2000. Thirty of those, more than half, were won by Cale Yarborough (9), Darrell Waltrip (12), Dale Earnhardt (9), and Rusty Wallace (9). Hall of Famers all. Oh my, indeed.

The views and opinions expressed in this article are those of the author and do not necessarily reflect the official policy or position of

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.


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