Unstable. Set to go off with the least provocation. No, I’m not talking about CNN or late night talk show hosts, most celebrities, or more than a few politicians. What I am referring to is the Daytona 500.
When one of the legends in the sport leaves us, we remember. If a man is known simply by the company he keeps, Robert Yates did very well. As a team owner, he was the boss to such NASCAR luminaries as Davey Allison, Larry McReynolds, Ernie Irvan, Dale Jarrett, and Ricky Rudd.
For a race that has been around since 1958, it is a damn shame that it does not carry the proper branding to link it over the decades to the time it was claimed by the likes of Speedy Thompson, Cotton Owens, and Joe Weatherly. Let us properly honor it and refer to this Saturday night’s contest in Richmond, Virginia as the Federated Auto Parts Capital City 400.
History and tradition. Often NASCAR sells it out for a corporate buck, but the Southern 500 was a race to win long before they went round and round at Daytona, Talladega, or all those generic races on cookie cutter 1.5-mile tracks across the country. It was the race a driver wanted to win. That legacy continued in Darlington, South Carolina on Sunday night at the track too tough to tame, the famed Lady in Black.
Bristol is where the legends win. Darrell Waltrip won a dozen times there. Cale Yarborough, Dale Earnhardt, and Rusty Wallace each had nine. Then there is Kyle Busch, who’s victory on Saturday night pushed him to six, one more than his brother Kurt and David Pearson. Each one in the Hall of Fame, or will be. No exceptions.
Did his lack of success over recent years stunt NASCAR's growth? Maybe, it was his continued presence that kept it from sliding further down the tubes. In fact, the champion has only taken the Most Popular Driver award six times in the season they won the championship. The last was Bill Elliott nearly 30 years ago. So much for Harvick's theory.
One of the most memorable All-Star races occurred in 1992 when Davey Allison and Kyle Petty were contending for the win along with Dale Earnhardt who was in the lead. During the closing laps, Petty made contact with Earnhardt, who spun, setting up a battle between Allison and Petty.
Former NASCAR Camping World Truck Series champion Mike Skinner and his wife, Angie, have been selected as the fourth quarter recipients of the National Motorsports Press Association’s Pocono Spirit Award.
A classic. That is what the Southern 500 is. Born in 1950, it predates NASCAR’s jewel events in Indianapolis, Bristol, Talladega, Charlotte, and Daytona. It is the Southern 500, the Labor Day classic at Darlington.
Who is the greatest country singer ever associated with NASCAR? There has been Kid Rock, Sheryl Crow, Brad Paisley, Brooks and Dunn, Hank Williams Jr., Toby Keith, Cledus T. Judd, and lately Blake Shelton. That is a pretty impressive list of talent and it is far from complete. However, there is no question that the King of NASCAR Country was Marty Robbins.