CP Motorsports

MONTE DUTTON - TAKING CUES FROM THE TOP

I was sort of amazed NASCAR held no Monster Energy Cup race on Father’s Day weekend, which has always been considered a prime spot. I figured it out. TV calls the shots, I suspect, and Fox owned the rights to both the United States Open golf tournament and the World Cup, and it had little programming room, especially since NASCAR races are sometimes prone to rain delays.

Of course, I watched the Truck and Xfinity races in Iowa, where, since they built it, people used to come. They hoped their support would draw a Cup race. It didn’t. Their civic enthusiasm waned, and now they don’t come anymore, by and large.

So I watched a good bit of the Open and the World Cup. The golf tournament featured that sport’s equivalent of many crashes. I decided on Saturday that Brooks Koepka was likely to win because he seemed to have more sense and composure than anyone else.

CP MOTORSPORTS - FURNITURE ROW RACING DRIVER IS A 2-TIME ROAD COURSE WINNER


Credit: 355216(Photo by Robert Laberge/Getty Images)


 When talking about road course racing Martin Truex Jr.’s voice tends to rise a few decibels.



“I love the challenge of road racing,” Truex said. “I grew up racing go-karts on road courses (in New Jersey) and fell in love with that quickly. The excitement level definitely goes up a few notches when we compete at a road course.”



A two-time road course winner in the NASCAR Cup Series, Truex won’t have to wait much longer for a return to his grass roots form of racing. The Furniture Row Racing driver will be one of the favorites to capture Sunday’s Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma Raceway, the first of three road course races of the season.

MONTE DUTTON - BOWYER COMES IN HANDY

I think I may have sold Clint Bowyer short.

The inspiration of my two stock car racing novels, Lightning in a Bottle and Life Gets Complicated, was my realization, in the winter of 2016-17, that the racers of today don’t have much in common with those who were everywhere in the early 1990s, when I first found a slot in the media gypsy troupe.

Barrie Jarman became my intriguing hybrid, a kid from the wrong side of the South Carolina Upstate tracks, typical in some ways with his generation but a throwback to the heroes of yore.

The folk heroes – Dale Earnhardt, Harry Gant, Darrell Waltrip, Rusty Wallace, Sterling Marlin, Ken Schrader, Davey Allison, etc. – were everywhere back then. Now, they’re just cardboard cutouts, trying to build a “brand.” I thought Tony Stewart was the last buffalo on the plains.

MONTE DUTTON – COMPETITION, OR LACK THEREOF

The Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series season is now 38.9 percent over. Every week the winner of the race professes great – and, quite often, fake – humility over how he managed to succeed against a level of competition perpetually identified as higher than it’s ever been.

It is harder than ever to those who aren’t winning or who haven’t yet won. There are teeming masses of them. Three drivers have combined to win 11 of the 14 sweepstakes completed thus far. Usually, when I hear of something that has been “pro-rated,” it costs money, but “pro-rating” how many races Kevin Harvick, Kyle Busch and Martin Truex Jr. are on track to win is just a matter of operating a calculator located conveniently inside a mobile phone.

CP MOTORSPORTS -NEW JERSEY GOVERNOR HONORS NATIVE CHAMPION WITH MARTIN TRUEX JR. DAY

Reigning NASCAR Cup Series Champion Martin Truex Jr. was honored in his home state of New Jersey Thursday with a proclamation by Gov. Phil Murphy designating May 31, 2018 as Martin Truex Jr. Day.  
 
Truex, who was raised in Mayetta, N.J., took part in the festivities at the governor’s offices in Trenton, where he presented Gov. Murphy with an autographed race-worn Furniture Row Racing firesuit. 

MONTE DUTTON - GO GET SOME FANS FACE TO FACE

There’s way too much politics on TV nowadays. It’s unavoidable. I’m starting to think NASCAR needs what political analysts call “a ground game.”

Democrats and Republicans try to get out the vote. They set up phone banks, registration drives, rallies, social media campaigns and canvassing drives.

NASCAR does some of that. Every time someone mentions that grandstands look empty, someone says, well, our electronic footprint has never been better. One reason is that it hasn’t been long since there wasn’t an electronic footprint at all. TV ratings down? Ah, but the number of people who “stream” the races has gone up 1,000 percent. Go back five years, and it’s gone up infinitely.

On Saturday, when the Xfinity race at Charlotte Motor Speedway was rain-delayed and moved from FoxSports1 to FoxSports2, my TV wouldn’t move with it because, a couple months ago, I dropped the latter channel in the interest of shaving my monthly bill, which I am nonetheless still having difficulty paying.

CP MOTORSPORTS - KYLE BUSCH WINS CHARLOTTE

Kyle Busch recorded his first Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series points victory at Charlotte Motor Speedway on Sunday, and the Joe Gibbs Racing driver did it in dominating and historic fashion in the Coca-Cola 600. Busch became the first driver in NASCAR’s modern era to win a points race at every active premier series track – a feat the veteran driver once considered to be impossible.

“It’s certainly pretty cool, having the opportunity to do what I have been able to accomplish (in winning at every track)," Busch said. "We’ve been talking about this in (the media center) for several years now. I was able to finally close the deal out tonight. It feels so good to win here at Charlotte. It’s everybody’s backyard. I grew up watching these races here and dreaming of winning them. It’s so cool to spend a couple of weeks at home. It’s just a phenomenal night. Adam Stevens (crew chief) and everybody was just on it. That Camry was fast. It wanted to stay up front.”

CP MOTORSPORTS -FIVE LEGENDS NAMED TO 2019 NASCAR HALL OF FAME CLASS

NASCAR announced today the inductees who will comprise the NASCAR Hall of Fame Class of 2019. The five-person group – the 10th since the inception of the NASCAR Hall of Fame in 2010 – consists of Davey Allison, Alan Kulwicki, Jeff Gordon, Roger Penske and Jack Roush. In addition, NASCAR announced that Jim Hunter earned the 2019 Landmark Award for Outstanding Contributions to NASCAR. The distinguished group will be honored during the NASCAR Hall of Fame Induction Ceremony on Feb. 1, 2019.
 
The NASCAR Hall of Fame Voting Panel met today in a closed session at the Charlotte Convention Center to debate and vote upon the 20 nominees for the induction class of 2019 and the five nominees for the Landmark Award. 
 
 

MONTE DUTTON - IF YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’, YOU AIN’T GOT NOTHIN’ TO LOSE

One will never see two races, on the same track, that are so different. It’s always true in some ways. The Monster Energy All-Star Race is short. The Coca-Cola 600 is long. This time, when the 600 takes the green flag late Sunday afternoon, the cars will be different, too.

Vastly different.

Kevin Harvick won the All-Star Race. He may well win the 600. At the moment, there appears to be no format Harvick cannot conquer. His Ford is “freaky fast,” regardless of whether or not Jimmy John’s is delivering that week.

Harvick’s domination of the ending didn’t negate the approval most fans voiced after the race. More often, a crackerjack ending leads them to overlook the stagnant laps leading up to it. When the going got tough, the tough became preoccupied with one another, and Harvick escaped.

CP MOTORSPORTS - DARLINGTON RACEWAY TO HOST BENEFIT TRACK DRIVE

On Saturday, June 16, Darlington Raceway will give race fans a unique opportunity to drive their personal vehicles on the high banks of the Lady in Black, and in turn, support our service members and veterans.
 
For a $30 cash donation per car, Darlington Raceway will allow fans to take three laps around the famed 1.366-mile egg-shaped oval. The Track Drive is scheduled for 2 p.m. – 5 p.m. on June 16.

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