From Michigan to Richmond and All Points In-between
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course a cordial Hey Y’all to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR, be you in Charlotte, Daytona Beach or New Delhi. We’ll try to make the reading and conversation interesting for you.
Well, just three more races in the “regular season” for NASCAR, and that’s really where this scribe stops caring. For as long as we’ve had a website, Race Fans Forever has crowned our own personal Champion after the Richmond race because when you get right down to it, 26 is greater than 10, and no one monkeys with the first 26 races… too much.
This will be year #14 of the Chase… and that’s what it is folks. Maybe some are appeased because we’re now told to call it “Playoffs”, by the same person that told us it could never be called Playoffs, and proceeded to enumerate the reasons why. That’s old news though. We’re all steeped in the Buzz Words of the day, which are overfed to us until we gag.
Having just kind of dozed through most of the Michigan race, which was only saved from the designation of a total stinker by that restart on the Green/White/Checkers lap by Kyle Larson. Yeah… I know… “Overtime.” Nope, this isn’t the NFL or the NBA… thank God! This is stock car racing and they race TWO laps, not three, for all the marbles. The amazing thing to me, which either no one realizes yet or no one cares, is that we used to have a limit of 3 G/W/C tries. Then they changed the “Overtime Line” to some indistinct and unprovable point in a different place on the back stretch of every track. Oh, and don’t forget, the caution lights at some tracks are only there for the fans… they don’t really mean anything until the lights from the tower go on… wherever they are.
When all that got piled too high for even the most simple-minded of us to buy into any longer, they changed the “Overtime Line” to the Start/Finish line! What a concept, huh? It always WAS where the race ended… from the very beginning of racing… cars, horses, chariots for Pete’s sake. The finish line is exactly that! It’s where the dang race ends! When the racers are going around and around, then they start at the same line where they eventually finish, hence, Start/Finish Line.
So what am I not hearing about from anyone? To “compensate” for changing the “Overtime Line” back to where it always had been, we now face UNLIMITED Green/White/Checker finishes. For some reason, that seems eerily similar to when they “compensated” for no longer racing back to the caution flag and dreamed up that racing welfare program called the Lucky Dog Rule.
And… my train of thought jumps the tracks another time. This coming weekend is the Bristol Night Race. Am I the only one that thinks the Bass Pro Shops/NRA Logo for this race is the ugliest thing ever seen? This thing can seriously send small children screaming from the room.
I’ve no idea who created that nightmare, and have only one question:
WHY? The fish in the oval logo would have been a great stopping point. That mess above it is one of those “Once you see it, you can’t unsee it” enigmas. Stare at the white space between what I can only describe as “bat wings” and tell me what I’m looking at. Is that a cow with horns? A pig with pointy ears? Maybe a two-tailed rat? Bruton, you’ve got some ‘splainin’ to do!
Anyway, your scribe does look forward to the Bristol Night Race, maybe for nostalgia’s sake. It’s a short track and I’m a short track girl. Always have been. That, gentle readers, is where the racing is. Well, there and at the road courses, which have quietly become the new short tracks. In “short”, I like racing where the driver has the most to do with the outcome, not some giant oval where it’s put your foot down and go wide open while waiting for the wreck… and the next wreck… and the next wreck. Despite that old saying, wrecking ain’t racing!
So, we get a spell of good things in this “Home Stretch” as it were. We get what is usually a pretty good race at Bristol. Then the big kids take a week off while the Xfinity gang goes to Road America on the weekend following Bristol. That gentle readers, has always fried my onions! Xfinity gets to go to Road America, arguably the most beautiful and best laid out road course in America and the Cup drivers don’t. Wassup wi’ dat NASCAR? Xfinity has had 3 road course races for years! Cup fans finally beg and plead long and loud enough and we get a third one… at Charlotte! Um, thanks, but it’s not quite the same thing you know. Still, it does remove one mile-and-a-half track from the schedule. We can’t really call Charlotte a “Cookie-cutter” track, as it’s the Cookie all the rest were cut from.
After Road America, it’s off to Darlington South Carolina for what has turned into the most “Fun Race” on the schedule, when almost all of the teams and cars participate in a “Throw-back” weekend, providing racing nostalgia of epic proportions! I happen to know that our own Tim Leeming will be in attendance at Darlington this year, enjoying a bit of nostalgia himself, with some old and dear friends. Tim, we will expect pics and a full report of all the fun you have while there.
I promise I will do my usual nostalgia column shortly, previewing at least what I deem the best throw-back paint schemes. There are still a lot of teams that haven’t divulged their plans, but they are trickling out slowly. I’ve seen some real barn-burners this year… absolutely beautiful tributes that might even provoke a tear or two.
Finally, after the short track at Bristol, the Road course at Road America and The Lady in Black at Darlington, we get to another night race at another short track; this time it’s Richmond. I loved Richmond in its half-mile configuration. In the ¾-mile… eh! Not so much. It’s still a short track, but races more like a half-scale Cookie-Cutter. That winds down the regular season, and what comes later on is anyone’s guess. This lady intends to fully enjoy the racing from now until after Richmond. Y’all can have Chicago and most of the rest. Pretty Little Martinsville is down the road a piece yet, and is always the brightest spot on the late schedule to me… well except for that Matt Kenseth thing.
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout, and this week we return to those wonderful Stars of the 1950s shows. As always, this one holds a star-studded cast, and as a special treat for this old lady, Marty Robbins does two numbers… just for me, of course.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!