NASCAR can really tick me off, and the use of “tick” was not my first choice. Yet, every year I seem to get that itch, one that I had already scratched raw the year before, and every year I return. Why? Well, there seems to be a few things about NASCAR that I really, really like as well.
Thirty-six races. A few are great venues that produce very entertaining television events. A lot more are not. Some tracks have two events, and you wonder why. Some have two and you wonder...why not three?
Imagine a race that featured the excitement of Daytona or Bristol. Imagine a race with a broadcast crew that featured the talent of a Chris Economaki, Vin Scully, Danny Gallivan, or a Keith Jackson. Imagine that Yoko Ono co-wrote that song with her husband. That should snap us all back to reality, though that last one is apparently true.
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.
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.
While we continue to yearn for announcers who captivate us with their voices, delivery, dialogue, banter, information, or entertainment value, it does not matter this Saturday night. This time, the track will take care of all that itself.
Pocono. What a nice name. What nice scenery. That one straightaway with all those trees on the other side of the fence reminds me of the Daytona backstretch. Okay, one is forest, the other is pavement, but neither have a grandstand.