The Daytona 500 is coming up this Sunday, a time for new beginnings and a time for bringing things to an end. After 15 years and over a thousand columns of various incarnations, this edition represents my final regular contribution to this site.
Family. We often hear how NASCAR is a family sport, where drivers, their wives, and their kids all share in the experience behind the scenes. The family theme has dominated since the sport’s earliest years. I mean, it starts with the France family, as Bill, Bill, Jr., and now grandson Brian have held the reins of the family operation since the very beginning.
Tradition. On Sunday, we learned that tradition means something. We learned it is actually worth waiting for its return, though why it took NASCAR a decade to solve the hot, muggy conditions of a day race in early September by simply moving it to the evening still boggles the mind.
It was the biggest day in motorsports, starting with the streets of Monaco, where they have been racing since 1929. Then, to Indianapolis, where they have been logging 500 miles this time of year since 1911. Finally, the long way home, the World 600 at Charlotte for the boys and girl with fenders.
With the Charity Ride Across America celebrating its 21st anniversary, this week’s edition of NASCAR Behind the Scenes focuses on Kyle Petty, who founded the unique motorcycle event that raises money for a charity near and dear to his heart, Victory Junction Gang camp.
Aric Almirola was not favored to return the iconic 43 that Richard Petty won his 200th win the Independence Day weekend thirty years ago, but he did. The rains that delayed the action for a day, and delayed it again early on Sunday, returned to finally put a wash to the proceedings prior to the three-quarter mark. The man in front was the 30-year old Tampa, Florida native, recording his first Cup victory in 125 starts.
There is something about having a single win and getting into the Chase. It gives everyone a chance, one that for some would have pretty much been gone in the wind. Kurt Busch is having about as much luck as Danica Patrick right now, but he has his win.