[media-credit name=”Brad Keppel” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]There is that old saying that states the more things change, the more they stay the same. There was Kyle Busch winning the spring race at Richmond back in 2009. Then again in 2010. In 2011. Then last Saturday night. Four straight spring race wins at a track he has always done well at.
Even when he drove for Rick Hendrick, Busch opened his Cup career with five straight Top Fives at the track, starting in the spring of 2005. Once he finished 20th, once 15th, both times in the fall. The rest, thirteen races to be exact, have all been Top Tens. In the spring, his worst finish has been 5th, his average finish in eight spring attempts is 2.13. If it is Richmond, especially in the spring, Kyle Busch is going to have a great points day.
The win moves Kyle into a Chase place, sitting 11th with a victory. Of those in the Top Ten in the standings, only half of them had a Top Ten on Saturday. Dale Earnhardt Jr did not win, again, but being second will do until he does. Second at Richmond, second in the standings. Denny Hamlin and Tony Stewart did it again. So did Jimmie Johnson, even though his pit crew miscued costing the former champ a penalty. Carl Edwards was 10th, even though he picked up a penalty on a late restart.
A different track, yet the same finish Jeff Gordon has come to expect this season. Cuts a tire early and by the time he gets a replacement he is down a couple of laps. He got one back, but still was buried 23rd in the race, and sits 17th in the season parade. To make it back into contention Gordon needs to either make up the 57 points he is out of 10th place or win a couple over the next 17 races. The good news is that with an average finish this year of 20th, he really can’t slip any farther without become a start and park.
So, we hear that fans have thought the season to date as being boring. Well, Daytona was not, but Daytona rarely is. Bristol usually is not, but sadly the 2012 spring contest was not what most were hoping for. Some were fine for the true fan who knows the back stories, but not so much for those who think of the weekly race as a stand alone affair. Sure, other sports have a few duds, a few that fail to excite the casual fan, but they have the advantage of having more than one contest each week. Sure, watching the Twins and Royals might suck, but how about them Dodgers and Cardinals? In NASCAR, what you see is all you get for that week, so if the show isn’t good…
This Sunday I guarantee you the action will be good. You don’t even need to care if Junior wins or if Jeff Gordon can stay on the lead lap right to the end. All you need to do is think of what brand of diaper you might need to wear if you were in one of those cars charging around Talladega. Odds are there will be crashes, but just the spectacle of these 3000 pound vehicles traveling around at close to 200 mph in aircraft formation inches apart make it something to see.
It is not a case of what does happen, but the promise of what could.
Nine Cup drivers are in the Hall of Fame. Three had retired by the time Talladega opened in 1969, though Junior Johnson won there as an owner. The other six, Bobby Allison, David Pearson, Richard Petty, Darrell Waltrip, Cale Yarborough, and Dale Earnhardt all visited Victory Lane. Each did it more than once. Combined, they did so 25 times.
Jimmie Johnson claimed the spring race last year, while Clint Bowyer won in the fall, giving him two of the last three races run there. Kyle Busch? He won there once, in 2008. Enjoy the spectacle, enjoy the week.