When Furniture Row Racing announced that they would cease operations Tuesday, my first reaction was shock. But as the news sunk in I realized that it should not have come as a surprise but rather another indicator that NASCAR’s efforts to reduce the cost of operating a team at the premier Cup Series level are failing miserably.
Tradition. On Sunday, NASCAR returns to its traditional roots, to the track that was Daytona before Bill France replaced the beach-road course with his 2.5-mile architectural marvel. Before the Daytona 500, the marquee event was held in Darlington.
Domination and elimination was the story from Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Harvick dominated and eliminated everyone else from view. He dominated the opening stage. He overcame another pit road miscue that cost him five spots between stages, but he eliminated the danger to come back to claim that, too.
Jimmie Johnson. Kyle Busch, Kurt Busch. Kevin Harvick. Martin Truex, Jr. Denny Hamlin. Brad Keselowski. Kyle Larson. Chase Elliott. These men are NASCAR. These men, a few women, and so many others made the sport. Were the sport. Are the sport. Brian France is not NASCAR. There is a reason 97 percent of all family businesses do not survive as such into the fourth generation.
I believe one certain guy would agree with me “that was awesome, Bill from Dawsonville!” Watkins Glen was damned entertaining right from the start, thanks to the action and thanks to the best broadcast crew in the business.
NASCAR fans are always looking for one thing; side by side racing, and passing for the lead a hundred times a race. That is what the fans say they want to see. But that just isn’t the reality, and it never has been.
Another weekend. Another race. Another track that does not excite me. Welcome to NASCAR. Michigan International Speedway, located in the lush, rolling Irish Hills, is about 40 miles southwest of Ann Arbor. The fact it is considered a sister track of Texas, and the basis of the facility in Fontana does not exactly thrill anyone, but they do go fast there.
Sometimes the news is good like it was at Talladega last week. Entertaining races and I loved the Cup guys manning the microphones for the Xfinity race. They were laid back, funny, and in the case of Darrell Wallace, Jr., pretty darn articulate.
With the Southern 500 coming our way from Darlington this weekend, it seems like a good time to talk about tradition. The first one in the books was back in 1950, making it the oldest of the sport’s iconic events. Most of the time, it goes to someone who is in or will be in, the Hall of Fame. That number will only grow once Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson get in, along with a few other contenders I can think of.