Change is coming to NASCAR. Not the kind that makes people return in droves to the grandstands, but the change that always comes through the passage of time. Martin Truex Jr. moves to a new team, as his old one folds. That means Daniel Suarez is on the move, replacing the retiring Kasey Kahne. Jamie McMurray is in search of a new ride and we await word as to what the future holds for Kurt Busch.
Yet, the big story was the start of the race. When would that be? The wet cold rainy weather punted both practice and qualifying, thus nobody would have any laps in their car when the green waved. None. Zip.
It’s been awhile since I’ve appeared in these pages. My trip to Martinsville was a disaster (snowmegaddon), so next on my schedule was Bristol, which despite gloomy skies, tremendous races happened. The crowd was good, but many wanted to make fun of the crowd. No the track wasn’t full, but a good 100,000 was there and Kurt Busch outlasted and outran one of NASCAR’s darling young drivers, Kyle Larson to claim victory, and qualify for the playoffs.
I had such high hopes for NASCAR, at least since July. That is when NBC came on board, and presented the long sought after broadcast crew that could keep fans glued to the track simply by the strength of their commentary. We have waited years for that to happen, and it is crucial for a sport that has yet to solve some on-track competitive issues and more than a few off it. If the racing is not spell binding, then the commentary damn well better be if you hope to have anyone watching.
Darlington was a day all about time. A time when in 1950 the first Southern 500 was run. A time when some of the great names from the past were brought back to be saluted by their sport in the present. A time when 0.6 seconds can mean everything.
Sometimes the news can be a little over-hyped. For example, no matter what you might hear, Kyle Busch is going to claim the bonus for the most points garnered by the time they leave Indianapolis. Kevin Harvick would need to close the gap by 21 points in each of the remaining three events to change that, and that is not going to happen. It is a done deal.