Rumor Mill

CP Motorsports

MONTE DUTTON: BRISTOL, BABY, BABY, IT’S A WILD WORLD

The first time I went to Bristol, I was seven. The last time (at least to date), I was 56. NASCAR changed just as much.

On the day that Ned Jarrett won the 1965 Volunteer 500, the grandstands reminded me of a large high school football stadium. Little asphalt-paved paths led up inclines on each side. People huffed and puffed as they hoisted their ice chests and picnic baskets and trudged up the bank. Nothing was on rollers back then. The turns were lightly banked. Five hundred laps were more than enough to excite me.

The next time I went to Bristol, it was to write about it. It was the day after Alan Kulwicki’s death on a nearby hillside. I watched most of Busch (now Xfinity) qualifying from behind the gate in the second turn. From that vantage, it reminded me of a pinball machine. A year or two later, Bud Moore used that term when I informed him that NASCAR was about to increase the size of short-track starting fields from 36 to 43.

MONTE DUTTON: MY ELUSIVE EASTER DREAMS

Happy Easter, everyone!

In a way, an open Easter is sort of the last vestige of the old NASCAR ways. Once the Lords of Daytona Beach held Mother’s Day open, too, reasoning that moms would be disgruntled if daddies hustled off the young’uns to some track.

“We’ll all go, Ruth Ann. It’ll be fun.”

Then the Lords took Labor Day away from Darlington, plugged the Granddaddy of Them All in the night before Mother’s Day – you’ll take it and you’ll smile! – and, against all odds and the Lords’ secret wishes, Darlington not only made Mother’s Day a success, it regained control of Labor Day.

A SILVER ANNIVERSARY GOLD RUSH: MONSTER ENERGY ALL-STAR RACE FORMAT ANNOUNCED

 

As the engines fired, the lightbulbs buzzed – a first for the annual non-points extravaganza. Never before had an all-star race been run under the lights. Dubbed “One Hot Night,” the 1992 race signaled a new era, one that became tradition for the fan-favorite event.

And now, 25 years later, past meets present … as another new era begins with the first all-star race under the Monster Energy banner.

JIMMY JOHNSON BACK ON TRACK WITH O’REILLY AUTO PARTS 500 WIN

There was only one way for Jimmie Johnson and the crew of the #48 Lowe's Chevrolet to raise their heads at smile after struggles on Friday at Texas Motor Speedway. They needed to win, which exactly what the team did after starting last in the O'Reilly Auto Parts 500.

“I guess I remembered how to drive, and I guess this team remembered how to do it!,” stated Johnson from Victory Lane. “I’m just real proud of this team. What a tough track and tough conditions. We were really in our wheelhouse, and we were just able to execute all day.

“ Oh, it was hot in (the car). I got cooked in the car today. I didn’t have any fluids, so I’m not feeling the best, but we got into Victory Lane. I’m so proud of the fight in this race team. I can’t wait to celebrate during this off-weekend with my family and friends and enjoy this.”

MONTE DUTTON: THINGS NEED TO GET BUMPY AGAIN

I love Martinsville Speedway. It’s the same way I love Darlington, not to mention Fenway Park, Ryman Auditorium and Wilder Stadium (where I played high school ball).

Martinsville was a place I never went until 1993, when I was 35 years old. I then wrote about 39 more races in a row until I lost my ride in 2013.

Back then, H. Clay Earles held a genial sway in the press box. A little pond was situated behind turns three and four. Dogwood trees were everywhere, blooming in the spring. I can name dozens of baseball parks that are charming. Martinsville was the first speedway that deserved the adjective.

KESELOWSKI SCORES CAREER FIRST MARTINSVILLE SPEEDWAY CUP WIN IN 1,000TH CUP START FOR TEAM PENSKE

In the final 50 laps of the STP 500 at Martinsville (Na) Speedway Brad Keselowski outran a failing Kyle Busch to collect his first “Grandfather” Clock trophy in what was revealed as the 1,000th Cup Series start for Team Penske.

The win was also the first for Ford Performance since the fall race in 2002 at the 526-mile racetrack which is the only track to be at the top level of NASCAR racing since the start of the company. The win was also the second of the season for Keselowski, both coming on tracks where he had yet to post a victory.

“You know, the two wins this year have both come at tracks that I haven't won at before and we haven't won at as a team before, so certainly that feels really good to be able to check something off the list, and with everything else that goes into today, there seemed to be a lot of numerology today with this being the Penske team's 1,000th start here in this series, and it's been a long time since Ford won here,” stated Keselowski when ask about the special moments attached to the win.

MONTE DUTTON: DRIFTING SLIGHTLY TOWARD ACCEPTANCE, IF NOT APPROVAL

When I watch the races on TV these days, I can think about them. The down side is I don’t make much money. The upside is I don’t have to busy myself with scribbles on notepads about the running order for a green-flag pit sequence, why the driver of the 68 car is apparently a lunatic, and what in the wide, wide world of Smokey Yunick is Chad Knaus going to try next?

I can seek “the big picture.” I can think “outside the box.” I can find “where the rubber meets the road.” I can attain “transparency,” which used to mean I could see right through someone but now means, magically, that such a person is open and honest.

MONTE DUTTON’S NEW NOVEL TAKES STOCK CAR RACING BY STORM

 

The secret is out. It’s an April Fool’s Day prank. Only this one is real.

Many readers have requested it. It matches Monte Dutton’s generally acknowledged field of expertise. His sixth novel, Lightning in a Bottle, is about stock car racing.

Barrie Jarman is the hope of racing’s future because he is a link to its past.

MONTE DUTTON: ARE YOU EXCITED YET?

NASCAR is completing its annual production of How the West Was Won. Cue the music.

Buh-buh-buh-buh-BUH, buh, buh-BUH-buh-buh …

With the wagons safely circled in Fontana, Calif., let’s take inventory. Let’s check off what we’ve got and circle what we’re waiting for.

Four races. Four winners. Two Fords. A Toyota. A Chevrolet. Kurt Busch won the Daytona 500. Brad Keselowski triumphed near Atlanta. Martin Truex Jr. cashed in at Vegas. Ryan Newman pulled off his first win in a while near Phoenix.

CP MOTORSPORTS - JIMMIE JOHNSON & NASA TEAM UP FOR AN OUT OF THIS WORLD RACE DAY AT RIR

 

Jimmie Johnson is teaming up with NASA and Richmond International Raceway to give NASCAR’s youngest fans the opportunity to learn the science behind the sport as well as meet the seven-time NASCAR Cup Champion prior to the TOYOTA OWNERS 400 Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series race on Sunday, April 30.
The Jimmie Johnson Ticket Package gives kids the chance to see not only their favorite driver, but also learn about the role STEM (Science, Technology, Engineering and Math) has in NASCAR. Kids will learn how the science of speed plays a role in both NASCAR and the launch of rockets into space.

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