For the third time this season, NASCAR presented a race worth watching. I am talking about those who demand an entertaining three-hour experience if they are going to spend the time to take it all in. Talladega delivered.
Bristol is not Las Vegas, Phoenix, Fort Worth or Charlotte. There are reasons to go to the Virginia-Tennessee border. The country is beautiful. On Sunday, it appears a lot of people were taking in the scenery. They sure in hell were not at the race track.
Talladega was a ratings bust. Talladega. For fans who follow the sport, those four Stewart-Haas cars up front, doing what they had to do all day long, was something to behold. For those who simply tune in to watch incredible action, they had to wait for the final 20 laps for the payoff. However, they had to have tuned in to witness either. They did not even bother. That is troublesome.
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.
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.
Tradition. On Sunday, NASCAR returns to its traditional roots, to the track that was Daytona before Bill France replaced the beach-road course with his 2.5-mile architectural marvel. Before the Daytona 500, the marquee event was held in Darlington.
Domination and elimination was the story from Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Harvick dominated and eliminated everyone else from view. He dominated the opening stage. He overcame another pit road miscue that cost him five spots between stages, but he eliminated the danger to come back to claim that, too.
Watching Loudon on Sunday was a whole lot like watching Shawshank Redemption. I have seen bits and pieces of that movie, maybe, a couple of dozen times or more. The first half of the New Hampshire race had me watching nothing but our favorites of this year over and over and over.