The Final Word on the Return of NASCAR for 2020…take 2

Finally. The world is slowly inching back to normal.

I am not happy that those who were to protect and detect failed miserably. I am not comforted that no projection model has even yet proved to be reliable. Fifty years ago, they dealt with something very similar by having 400,000 attend a rock concert near Woodstock and launching five Apollo missions during that time, including the day man first walked upon the moon. Today, we viewed empty grandstands from our television screens beamed to us from South Carolina. Those hippies and astronauts both apparently were made of the right stuff.

It was a different time, a different country. It had a population of just 65% of the size it has today. Immediately prior to the outbreak of the Hong Kong flu, the United States was rocked by two political assassinations of historic proportions. 500 American servicemen were dying monthly in Vietnam. In February 1969, we lost Don MacTavish in what is now the Xfinity Series at Daytona. Maybe we were just more familiar with death on those days. Too familiar.

Yet, the impact of those memories, if some can remember at all, is fleeting. A three month hibernation is not what most of us experienced. People died and not just directly from the virus, but they were lost just the same due to actions and non-actions taken in response to the pandemic. Lives were affected, some ruined, in so many ways. Those who had the responsibility to look after us and guide us in times of peril let us down. Those who we thought were in the know were not, and still do not. Sadly, in many areas that continues to this day. Lest we forget…but we will. Just ask any war veteran. How long it will take for such memories to fade is another question.

Today, we do remember. Today we celebrate the return, in some sense at least, normalcy. Once again, though the grandstands remain silent, the sounds of the engines rumbling like thunder upon the asphalt surface have returned to us through the speakers of our televisions. Yes, absence does make the heart grow fonder. Hell, we even got to see Ryan Newman return behind the wheel. We got to have an escape from scare tactics and fear mongering. We got to sense what hope is. What dreams consist of. What a day under the sun feels like again, even if we must keep socially distanced from our fellow enthusiasts.

Feeling normal. Normal feels real good about now. It damn near makes me happy.

Happy. It reminds me that some boy from California won at Darlington on Sunday. Now we have to wait three whole days before we get to see if he can do it again…at Darlington.

I guess that is what they mean when they talk about a “new normal.”

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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