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CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: BIG DALE JARRETT WINS BIG

 

As Dale Jarrett’s career as a second generation NASCAR star progressed, he gradually gained a reputation for being at his best in the biggest events.

This was punctuated into stock car racing lore on Aug. 4, 1986, at Indianapolis Motor Speedway.

As the Cup Series teams gather once again at the world’s most famous track, standing out in memory is Jarrett’s clutch pass of Ford teammate Ernie Irvan six laps from the finish to win the third running of the Brickyard 400.

CP MOTORSPORTS - HARVICK WINS RAIN-DELAYED SPRINT CUP RACE AT BRISTOL

 

Past Sprint Cup Champion Kevin Harvick outlasted both the soggy weather and his opponents en route to a victory in Sunday's rescheduled Bass Pro Shops NRA Night Race at Bristol Motor Speedway. 

The win for Harvick, who finished 1.933 seconds ahead of second place finisher Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., is his second victory of the 2016 season and his second career victory at Bristol. Harvick's other triumph at Bristol came all the way back in the Spring of 2005. 

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: IT'S A HEATWAVE

 

Imagine getting in your personal car on the hottest day of summer, rolling up the windows, turning the heater on high and driving from Charlotte to Philadelphia.

That's how the late NASCAR Hall Of Fame nominee Buddy Baker once described what it was like to run in the Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway on sultry South Carolina Labor Days during the 1950s, '60s and '70s before "cool suits" and such came along.

The issue of racing when the thermometer is teasing 100 degrees comes to mind because of the heat wave presently scorching much of the nation.

There were times during summer races a few decades ago at Charlotte, Daytona Beach, Dover and Talladega when searing weather conditions seemed to be as much of a threat to the drivers' health as being involved in a wreck.

CP MOTORSPORTS - NASCAR ROYALTY WINS FIRST TRUCK SERIES RACE IN BRISTOL

Ben Kennedy made his 63rd career NASCAR Camping World Truck Series start in Wednesday night's rain-delayed UNOH 200 at Bristol Motor Speedway. Kennedy's win is significant in the NASCAR community because the driver of the No. 33 Jacob Industries Chevrolet is the great-grandson of NASCAR's founding father, Bill France, Sr.

The triumph left the graduate of the University of Florida speechless in victory lane.

CP MOTORSPORTS – MONTE DUTTON: SONGS IN THE KEY OF NASCAR

I don't get much inside information. A colleague drops by the house every month or so. Sometimes I meet someone for lunch while he's driving to Atlanta or Talladega. I talk on the phone with NASCAR chums. I swap the occasional smart-alecky texts. I’ve even succumbed to the stray Facebook message.

I bumped into Andy Petree at a local gas station. His daughter Jonnie plays softball at Presbyterian College. Carl Edwards called me on the phone a couple years ago. He asked how I was doing. I told him fine.

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: THERE WAS ONLY ONE "TINY" LUND

 

Aug. 17, 1975. “It’s a date that forever will be draped in black in NASCAR history.

That’s the day that one of stock car racing’s most colorful and popular characters, Tiny Lund, lost his life in a crash at Talladega Superspeedway. The accident happened just eight laps into the Talladega 500 at the 2.66-mile track then known as Alabama International Motor Speedway. There was contact between cars in heavy traffic coming off the 33-degree banking of the second turn. Suddenly, eight of the cars were spinning and colliding in a cloud of dust and smoke.

"Tiny came by me backwards," said J.D. McDuffie, tragically destined to lose his own life in a wreck on Aug. 11, 1991 at Watkins Glen, N.Y.

CP MOTORSPORTS: TOM HIGGINS: THE WREATHS OF MIDDLEBELT ROAD

 

I am certain that the wreaths will be out there on the grassy knoll as always in mid-August, ribbons waving softly in a slight summer breeze.

It will be for 29 years now, that the flowers have appeared on Middlebelt Road, just a mile or so from Detroit Metro Airport.

They are placed there in memory of the lives lost on the awful Sunday evening in 1987—August 16–when Northwest Airlines Flight 255 bound for Phoenix went down at that spot, killing 154 of the 155 people on board. Two people on the ground also died.

 

CP MOTORSPORTS VIDEO: THE EMOTION OF THE WOOD BROTHERS THROWBACK

A new video from Motorcraft/Quick Lane Racing explains the thought and emotion behind the Wood Brothers' throwback paint scheme for the Bojangles' Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway.

CP MOTORSPORTS – MONTE DUTTON: I DON'T CARE, GO AHEAD AND ROAD RACE THE CHASE

It occurs to me, with this off week looming before Bristol, that the rise in the importance of television proceeds in unison with the rise in the popularity of NASCAR road racing.

Road racing is great on TV. It's not so hot in person. In Sonoma, a few locations exist where one can see, oh, two thirds of the course. Watkins Glen has no high vistas, and visibility is limited to the part of the course in front of the grandstands or along the fences where fans wander over from their campsites.

Writing about a road race onsite is the NASCAR equivalent of covering a golf tournament. Everyone sits inside and watches TV. At home, it's impossible to stroll over to the garage and talk to drivers, crew chiefs, owners and other potentially valuable contacts. Without the proper credentials, it's impossible to do that at the track.

CP MOTORSPORTS - HAMLIN WINS COMBUSTIBLE CLASSIS IN FRONT OF SOLD-OUT WATKINS-GLEN

 

Denny Hamlin, winner of Sunday’s Cheez-It 355 at the Glen, entertained a sold-out grandstand with a celebratory burnout that trailed a plume of smoke the entire length of the frontstretch at Watkins Glen International. 

But Hamlin’s smoke show—with a bad back, no less—paled in comparison to the fireworks that preceded the checkered flag, Hamlin’s first at a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series road course.

The race was in doubt until the final corner, with Martin Truex Jr. pressuring Hamlin, who led the final 10 laps after surging past Brad Keselowski and Kyle Busch in Turn 1 following a Lap 81 restart. 

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