It all began early Sunday morning along the coast of Monte Carlo and the Monaco Grand Prix. I am not a big fan of driving fast and little passing, but Monaco is a different breed. Fabulous architecture and big expensive craft that fill the marina are the background for a street race that has the competitors driving just a bit above the recommended speed limit for you and I. Simply put, they go fast on a road not built to go fast, be it alone or among 20 other speed demons.
Change. Sometimes change is good, like when you win a few million dollars. That is good. You get married to your sweetheart. Good. Your children start arriving. If you are a mature adult, and not some self-serving narcissist, that is very good. New talented drivers emerge on the scene. That is also a good thing.
The stars would come out at Charlotte on Saturday night. Well, some of them. Twenty drivers would make up the field, but we knew that the Top 20 on the season would be missing at least a couple of performers.
NASCAR can drive its fans crazy. I say its fans, as those not already invested could not care less what the sport does. For those of us who still do, another damned on the fly rule change is not what we were hoping for. The World 600, as it should be known unless you are devoted to Coca-Cola, will have not two but now three stages to pick up participation or pity points before the finish. Hallelujah!
Ever since 1987, Charlotte has hosted the all-star race. Some, including Kevin Harvick, figure it should be rotated to other venues like those other sports do. I would agree, only if I had a veto as to what tracks it went to. Even then, I am not sure I would ever agree to the change.
With more than a month left in the old year, talk about the new is already starting to dominate. Tony Stewart is now retired, with Clint Bowyer no doubt thrilled at the chance to get back into quality equipment as his replacement.
On Sunday, we will have one of those races, on one of those tracks, that provides must-see action. While we have no announcers covering NASCAR today who you might tune in just to hear their description of the action, to hear them enhance the excitement, even those we got can not detract from the spectacle we shall witness on Sunday.
I hate change. Even good change can take a while to be appreciated. I did not like the Chase when it came out. I do now. I am still perturbed brand names like Firecracker 400 and World 600 were kicked to the curb to make a sponsor happy who obviously had no appreciation for the traditions of the sport. Then again, neither does NASCAR.
It was the year’s greatest race day, with three major events taking place. The Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500, and the World 600 could have meant a lot of couch time, never mind the latest episode of Game of Thrones, but I try to exercise while gazing at the tube. I mean, those sandwiches were not going to make themselves.
Let me be clear. Any race format that artificially moves entries from behind to plop them up front is a dumb one. I do not care if it is NASCAR’s All-Star Race or one that allows me to charge ahead of the Kentucky Derby field while wearing sneakers and a propeller hat. Dumb is as dumb does.