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.
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.
However, Bristol did bring good tidings to some. It was great for Kevin Harvick, as he won his second of the season in a dominant performance to once again vault ahead of them all in points. While wins determine who is ahead of whom, as it should, accumulated points is an indicator as to who has been in contention all season long. Harvick has been one of those guys.
Well, Monday was a great day for Chris Buescher. With the fog rolling in at the Pennsylvania 400, he stayed out while others pitted to have the fuel to run the final 22 laps that never were as the race was red flagged. With impending stormy weather ensuring things would not be re-started, the 24-year old claimed his first win in his 27th Cup start.
It was the Brickyard 400, presented by Kyle Busch. He led the first lap, he led the last one, and led most of the laps in between. If the focal point of a race is at the front, if the drama of a race is to see who is leading the way, this competition was pretty much done when they waved the green flag.
Five predictions going forward: 1) Tony Stewart wins the Brickyard 400 to solidify his spot in the Chase and add to his final season. 2) Dale Earnhardt Jr. will not make the Chase and because of that, he might not run for an extended period of time.
They had a race and Dale Earnhardt Jr. was not in it. Why bother? Should this not have been a day of universal sobbing, hand wringing, and “woe is me?” Of course, it should have been, but there was a race to be run in New Hampshire.
Brad Keselowski is one of the most generous drivers in NASCAR. When they opened the track in Kentucky, did Brad win it in 2011? He did not. No, he was gracious enough to let Kyle Busch take the inaugural event. In fact, he was thoughtful enough to let Kyle take it last year as well.
“I hate that I...” I love that phrase. It is the prelude to expressing some measure of regret for some on track transgression in the hopes that these mere words will make everything alright. For instance, "I hate that I got into Kurt [Busch] there at the end racing to the line.” So says Joey Logano after Busch got dumped on the final lap, crossing the line spinning backward in 23rd place Saturday night at Daytona.