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.
It may surprise you to learn that Chase Elliott has the series-best driver rating (125.1) at Michigan. In his only two starts last year, he earned two runner-up finishes. Elliott also has the series-best average finish (2.000), average running position (4.300) and the series-most laps in the top 15 (391 laps, 97.8 percent).
There have been 94 Cup races with 35 different winners at Dover. The first Cup Series race was held on July 6, 1969, and was won by Richard Petty. David Pearson captured the inaugural pole and leads all drivers with six poles. But did you know that he also holds the record for most consecutive poles at Dover? From 1973 to the spring of 1974, he scored three straight poles.
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.
Michigan. A big track, a fast track. Sadly, not exactly a legacy event, like winning at Daytona or Bristol or Talladega or Indianapolis or Darlington or either road course. What it is, is a track where legends have celebrated since 1969. In fact, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, Mark Martin, Richard Petty, Dale Jarrett, and Bobby Allison have combined for 46 victories there. That is a lot of suds for a lot of Hall of Famers.
Let me be clear. Any race format that artificially moves entries from behind to plop them up front is a dumb one. I do not care if it is NASCAR’s All-Star Race or one that allows me to charge ahead of the Kentucky Derby field while wearing sneakers and a propeller hat. Dumb is as dumb does.
After the re-start, Johnson moved down to the line, hugged it tight, and came up to Harvick’s rear quarter-panel. A bit of side drafting tugged Luthor...ahem...Harvick...back enough to set Johnson sailing right by and into the lead.
Time can bring us many wonderful memories, but it comes with change. Most of us are not all that fond of change. Once we watched the likes of Richard Petty, David Pearson, Dale Earnhardt and the Alabama Gang take to the track, to thrill us with their exploits. That was then. Time changed that.