The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series heads to Darlington Raceway this Labor Day weekend for the Bojangles’ Southern 500. This is the third straight year of Darlington’s throwback campaign and this edition will focus on the 1985-89 era. There are 40 drivers on the entry list and 32 will run retro paint schemes to honor the rich history of the sport.
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.
Now we know why they call it Silly Season. 16 drivers will make the Chase, and we already know that three who have done well enough thus far this season may not have done well enough to save their rides for next.
It rained. TSN (Canada) pulled out, and the channel I was recording the race on abandoned the effort, presenting instead a few toss away programs. Well, to be fair, I did state before that I do not get all that excited about Indianapolis, and it would seem TSN took my comments to heart. On Sunday, they made like the NASCAR Nazi...and no race for me. I guess I could have watched some soccer but, as most folks know, soccer is not really a sport. Not like poker is, anyway.
The most anticipated race of the week is not the one slated for Sunday in Indianapolis. Sure, the Brickyard has been around since 1909. Sure, it has been home to the Indianapolis 500 since 1911. Yes, it has hosted NASCAR’s Brickyard 400 since 1994, when Jeff Gordon won his first of five at the iconic track.
Loudon, New Hampshire is where they hand out a lobster to the winner. Okay, it is not as cool as Dover's Miles the Monster trophy, with a diecast of the winning car held aloft in its mighty hand. No grandfather clock like they award at Martinsville, or the six-shooters of Texas, and that sweet Les Paul guitar for races in Nashville. On the positive side, you can not eat any of those other awards.
Kentucky. I love Kentucky. It is the home of bourbon. It is where Daniel Boone killed himself a b’ar. It is where they run a pretty important horse derby every year. Of course, I pre-tape the thing to avoid the four hours of filler to get at the 3 minutes worth watching. I even once liked its Fried Chicken. Hell, I actually met Col. Sanders once, though I must say that I did not lick his fingers. Just saying.
Gentlemen, start your engines. That is what was customarily said prior to races, but no longer. You probably thought that was due to a woman being in the field. Nope. There are just not enough gentlemen. Just ask Danica Patrick.