Matt Kenseth ruined NASCAR. He did not mean to do it, and we did not know at the time that he did, but it would seem his single win 2003 championship changed everything.
Today we celebrate the return, in some sense at least, normalcy. Once again, though the grandstands remain silent, the sounds of the engines rumbling like thunder upon the asphalt surface have returned to us through the speakers of our televisions.
Australia. If there was any road to success on Sunday, it was to be a native of Australia. Perth-born Daniel Ricciardo led from start to finish to claim the Monaco Grand Prix. At Indianapolis, Toowoomba’s own Will Power kissed the bricks and drank the milk. Unfortunately, the last Aussie to drive a Cup car was Tasmanian Marcus Ambrose four years ago.
Domination and elimination was the story from Michigan on Sunday afternoon. Kevin Harvick dominated and eliminated everyone else from view. He dominated the opening stage. He overcame another pit road miscue that cost him five spots between stages, but he eliminated the danger to come back to claim that, too.
Back in 1949, Martinsville was a dirt track. Fifteen cars started the 100 lap event in the opening year of what was to become the Cup series. Red Byron won it in a 1949 Oldsmobile. A brand new car. In those days, there was little modifications done in the strictly stock division.
Now it gets real. There is no argument as to whom the contenders are, and who are the pretenders. Say what you will, but even though there might be forty cars on the track, only 16 matter.
As I peer out my window, I see cloudy skies and snow upon the ground. Even for us in the Great White North, this sucks. Yet, for many NASCAR fans, the skies are blue, the sun is shining, the birds are singing, and even that fat little mouse is eager to help Cinderelli build her dress. Life is perfect. Well, almost perfect. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his fourth of the season at Martinsville, but just one race too late to keep his title hopes alive.
Darlington was a day all about time. A time when in 1950 the first Southern 500 was run. A time when some of the great names from the past were brought back to be saluted by their sport in the present. A time when 0.6 seconds can mean everything.
I was wrong. That is something you do not hear me say very often. How about this, then? The broadcast from Chicago was the best I have seen in years. That is something I do not ever remember saying, writing, or thinking. I did not think Chicago would be much worth watching. Boy, was I wrong.
Daytona delivered. The action and the broadcast were both superb. If you missed it, you really missed something.