Some of the changes are interesting. Moving the season-ending event matters not, as Homestead has never become an iconic event in most minds anyway. Adding a third short track is good. Keeping the roval in Charlotte as part of the mix is fine. Adding some tradition with the Southern 500 becoming even more meaningful actually comes across as a fine idea.
Martinsville, Virginia, was a place where a fan could go and learn a few things. First of all, NASCAR is not for snowflakes. Too many of them, and they have to move the race to Monday, as they did last week.
Storylines. We all need them. I mean, other than those rare moments when what is happening is so riveting on its own, we need them to keep engaged. Let’s face it, California was not going to be one of those tracks. Over a year ago, some folks were cheering for history, hoping for the first woman president. Instead, they got the oldest man ever elected, and some have been melting down ever since. When your storyline goes down the crapper, we often get upset and choose our own narrative over the facts. It happens.
Excitement, thy name is sure not Fontana. Not usually. There is a reason the idea to bring the Cup folks out to the Auto Club Speedway was abandoned after just seven seasons. It is bad enough to be a yawner on television, but when that is the perception live and in person, you have got a problem.
The song ends like that every time. Same for NASCAR lately. Kevin Harvick won his third straight, maybe it was even unencumbered but we will have to wait on that. At least he was not the only car featured. Kyle Busch was strong all day and finished second. Chase Elliott was not, yet arrived later on to matter when it mattered to finish third. Not yet a win, but the result sends him back in the right direction. Denny Hamlin was a factor and, to a much lesser degree, so was pole sitter Martin Truex, Jr. as they completed our Top Five.
A new season has dawned, the engines roared back to life, and the Clash delivered a...well...a modicum of excitement. If you are a Brad Keselowski fan, it was one hell of a race. If you like Jamie McMurray, it kind of sucked. If you were looking for diving and dashing for the opening, Chase Elliott gave us one or two moments. If you wanted to sit on the edge of your seat, share the chair. This was not one for the ages, I am afraid.
Rain. Just bloody lovely. Who, outside of California, really needed the wet stuff all that bad? When Alfred, Lord Tennyson said, “Bright and fierce and fickle is the South, And dark and true and tender is the North,” he obviously was not talking about the rains of Michigan. Those black clouds still managed to tease one driver into dreams of winning delights, just before breaking his heart.