MONTE DUTTON: SOME RACE CAR TO LEAN ON
The first time I ever saw the Wood Brothers’ Ford, I don’t remember it. In my defense, I was only seven years old. Most of what I remember is that Ned Jarrett won the race, and the two most beautiful automobiles I ever saw were driven that day by Fred Lorenzen and Richard Petty.
I just looked up the box score of the Volunteer 500, run on July 25, 1965, at Bristol International (now Motor) Speedway. (It also spent some time as a Raceway.) Eight laps into that race, Marvin Panch, in the No. 21 Ford, and David Pearson, in the No. 6 Dodge, crashed. They placed 35th and 36th, respectively. In the first NASCAR race I ever saw, the driver who would become my hero crashed into the car in which he would earn his greatest fame.
My late father would have said (and, most likely, did), “If that ain’t a Dutton deal, I don’t know what is.”
By the way, the first game I ever saw in Fenway Park ended with another hero, Carl Yastrzemski, grounding into a double play. My father knew of what he spoke.
Fast forward nearly 52 years. From there to here seemed like forever in 1965. Now it seems like only yesterday. Real life is more like slow forward, fast reverse.
The Wood Brothers have a history that seems almost biblical, a line of succession with names like Glen, Leonard, Delano, Marvin, Tiny, the Fox, Neil, Kyle, other Dale, Marcel, Odell, W.L., Claude, Nugene and Clovis.
Have you ever started out one song and found yourself singing another? Have you ever started reciting and somehow blended Woods and Ledbetters? Have you ever listened to the comedy recordings of the late Jerry Clower?
Then you wouldn’t understand.
And, now, nine paragraphs down, you ask, “Is there a punch line?”
Yeah. Ryan Blaney won the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (when you’re trying to get these words in the right order, think MENCS) race at Pocono Raceway.
He drove a Ford with a gold No. 21 on it, swathed in the righteous colors of red and white.
The Brooklyn Dodgers are in L.A. The Browns are the Ravens, and the new Browns are in a world as brown as their uniforms. The Colts are in Indy. Former Atlanta hockey teams are all over the place. God knows where the Raiders are.
The Wood Brothers are in Victory Lane. That’s comforting, and not much else is.