Race Weekend Central

Apparently Great Racing Doesn’t Always Make a Great Race

Hey! Pretty good finish there! For the third week in a row, our Sprint Cup Series teams managed to pull out some late race excitement to liven up our afternoons.


Just when we thought Kenseth really had a shot at winning, Jimmie Johnson and Joey Logano powered to the front. But mere moments later, Kyle Busch played chicken with the outer wall, then executed a class A slingshot to the bottom of the track in order to take over the lead of the Kobalt Tools 400 on Sunday on lap 223. That jaw dropping move managed to grab my attention, and I really thought we were going to watch the Shrub sweep the weekend. But NO! We were given just a little bit more drama.


Kyle Busch’s two tires were just not enough to stave off the predatory stalking of the Penske boys. Lap by lap the No. 18’s lead evaporated, until his M&M mobile gave up. That’s when Keselowski’s No.2 appeared out of the mid Top 10 to steal his first win in 33 races.


Overall we had pit penalties, gusts of wind that battered the track, a sandstorm worthy of Hollywood, tires that wore out, tails that leaned into the wind and snapped around when the air changed quarters, and some generally good side-by-side racing. Basically, it was a fairly good race.

Notice how I keep saying “good?” Not great. Not amazing. Not wake Grandpa from the couch and watch this! It was good. Faint praise for our drivers, indeed. What more could I possibly want from a NASCAR event?


I’m beginning to suspect it may have nothing to do with the quality of the event at all. When Jeff Gordon retired in November, I swore that I’d love this sport just as much as ever. I’d find another star to obsess over. I promised.


Yet…sigh. I still haven’t found the magic.


With time we find understanding. Back in the day, I scratched my head as legions of fans left the sport when their one-and-only Dale Sr. passed away. Of course I was confused, he wasn’t my guy. He was the “other” guy.   With the selfish perception only a fanatic can have, in the early 2000’s I was content because obviously Jeff Gordon had years in front of him. Lots of time remained for me cheer, cry, and wallow in the glory of owning a tiny piece of a champion.


Now, he’s not piloting his car and I am…unimpressed. I want to be dazzled, but not by those who have never ignited my devotion in the past. I may be able to grow some respect for the always successful Kyle Busch, but I will never be able to love him. Matt Kenseth’s ability to keep his car up front is impressive, but he can kill an interview quicker than a Thunderbird flyover. Boring Jimmie Johnson, a little too bad Brad, so sad Tony Stewart, never grew into his reputation Kasey Kahne, somebody’s smile is too perfect Carl Edwards…need I go on? You can laugh all you want, but you can see how fickle a woman’s heart can be. You might even pity some of the drivers who could stand a little love from the NASCAR fan base, and just don’t seem to get any.


Meanwhile, what is NASCAR to do? It was the closest Daytona 500 ever. Atlanta pulled out a nice finish, and Vegas really called on Mother Nature to dress up its cookie-cutter reputation for the day. The cars are dancing all over the racing surface. We’ve got parity and tons of talent.


And I just haven’t leapt off the couch this year. Not yet. Did I lose that loving feeling? I don’t think so, but it did move to the broadcast booth, and no matter how you slice it, Gordon talking is just not the same as Gordon competing. As a racing viewer, I am unfulfilled.


Still, I do have hope. Next week we head to Phoenix—one of our funky venues that drives like a short track but isn’t. It’s always exciting out there in the dessert. Maybe we’ll see somebody rise from the ranks. Maybe…




We all were very impressed when Pocono installed their solar farm, capable of powering the track for event weekends. If you’ve attended more than a couple races, you’ve probably witnessed power outages. It’s pretty surprising it doesn’t happen more often when you have a city of 80k people pop up in a week and consume enough electricity for a population twice that amount with all our gadgets and high-powered tools that run NASCAR teams.


Well, what if the team brought their own power? The No. 48 XFINITY team of Brennan Poole is doing exactly that. Their sponsor DC Solar added solar panels and batteries to their cool-down box. No generator or outlet needed. The sponsor says they are looking at adding the technology to other areas of the pits for their team.

The image is of DC Solar’s generator-trailer, clearly the inspiration for the application of their technology on the cool down box.



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