What can be better than a nice holiday weekend, my boys playing some baseball, a bit of golf, me finally able to mow the lawn, visiting relatives up from California, and sunshine? Add a couple of televised NASCAR races, and you got yourself one happy Canadian.
Next week brings, for my American friends, Memorial Day, but it was Victoria Day for those of us who still call the Queen of the United Kingdom our head of state. I do not think she spent much time enjoying the action from North Carolina, as the boys and girl were featured at Charlotte and NASCAR’s annual all-star race.
When the smoke had cleared, Jimmie Johnson had added to his legacy with a record breaking fourth all-star triumph. That moved him past Dale Earnhardt and Jeff Gordon in that category. Sure, there were some who are tired of seeing the five-time Cup champion add another notch, but seeing an old familiar face time and again is just the price one has to pay for witnessing greatness.
Hockey fans hated watching the Montreal Canadiens win on a regular basis. Baseball fans are not all enamored with the 27 titles owned by the New York Yankees. Basketball fans probably were not thrilled that the Boston Celtics owned the title from the late 1950’s through to the 1970’s. Too bad. Too damn bad.
NASCAR has nine men who, combined, have claimed almost 60% of the 64 Cup titles awarded since 1949. Lee Petty, Richard Petty, David Pearson, Cale Yarborough, Darrell Waltrip, Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon, Jimmie Johnson, and Tony Stewart have won three or more apiece. Of the 2365 Cup races ever run, this group has won 798 of them. Nine men has won more than a third of all Cup races since 1949, two of whom have died, four have been long retired, and just three remain active. It would appear NASCAR fans should be pretty used to having familiar faces appear on Victory Lane.
Rating the All-Star race – 8/10
I enjoyed it, though even among the cream of the crop you had an idea who might be there at the end. You knew fan favorite Danica Patrick would not, for example, be among the contenders. I liked the format, broken up into five segments it tried to keep the field somewhat bunched up. Thankfully, they did not bring back the inversion aspect, at least not yet. Moving someone who was stuck near the back and bring them up to the front makes about as much sense as having the drivers wear clown suits and take part in a yodeling competition in mid-race. It just does not have a damn thing to do with racing.
Rating the Canadian series opener – 8/10
I am not used to watching live NASCAR action originating on Canadian soil, yet the opener of the Canadian Tires series season was not only broadcast, but it was entertaining. For most, the road course formerly known as Mosport near Toronto featured 27 no-names and Ty Dillon. While the youngster finished seventh, the win went to a 34-year old Quebecer named L.P. Dumoulin. The action was good, the views of the green grass and campers just beyond the track were attractive, and not a Rusty Wallace type of distraction to be found among the broadcast crew. Hell, even the cars they raced looked like real cars. A 12 race, four month schedule, and it appears all televised, and hopefully live. No point broadcasting a sports event if it is so delayed it should be on the History Channel. Meanwhile, Americans get to see what I mean on Labour Day when the Camping World series makes a visit in late summer.
Next up, Memorial Day weekend and the World 600 from Charlotte and the Indianapolis 500. All I need to do is find some time between my sons’ baseball games this weekend, and this is going to be another memorable weekend. Enjoy the week.