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The Final Word – Is it a big swing and a miss as NASCAR makes big changes for 2020?

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.

Hot 20 – Heading to Texas after a week off to ponder some stuff

A week off with no races to forecast or summarize. Funny, I did not get the shakes or suffer any other negative reactions. That probably is not a good thing for NASCAR.

The Final Word – On Monday, Martinsville transformed to become Clintsville

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.

The Final Word – After the opening segment, the storyline at California needed a re-write

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.

Hot 20 – Few are California Dreamin’

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 Final Word – Phoenix kind of reminded me of Las Vegas…and Atlanta. How about you?

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.

The Final Word – Sometimes the dawn of a new season is an exciting time, sometimes it is 2018

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.

The Final Word – Newman rises in Phoenix, while a pair run down under in New Zealand

You had better luck finding Nemo than Ryan Newman in Victory Lane in recent years. He was there for the first time since July 28, 2013 in Indianapolis. That was surprising enough.

The Final Word – A Michigan Nickname is “Water Wonderland”…No Kidding

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.

The Final Word – An all-Kyle finish at Fontana, as Bowyer spins his way to a Top 20

Tires, man. That was the story of the race at Fontana. If one was conservative in their set up, like those owned by Joe Gibbs, all was well. If not…well, they blew it.

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