MONTE DUTTON - THE KIDS STILL WAIT
The top eight finishers in last week's Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500 were veterans with at least eight seasons of Cup experience.
The next race is at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where in 20 previous Cup races, only one young driver, then-23-year-old Kyle Busch in 2009, has ever won. He was, however, in his fifth full Cup season at the time.
Austin Dillon, 27, won the Daytona 500. This is his fifth full season.
The great changing of the guard may yet occur, but a new Rome has not been built overnight. They haven't even cut the ribbon at the toga party yet.
Oh, it's early. One of these Sundays or glittering Saturday nights, one of the young lions is going to roar. A few have roared already, but, at the moment, not one of them seems ready to take over the pride.
Dale Earnhardt Jr., Matt Kenseth, Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon have vacated some seats, but, for now, the main distinction of Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Chase Elliott, Darrell Wallace Jr., William Byron, Alex Bowman, etc., is that, in most cases, their labors come a bit cheaper. It's likely one of the reasons so much of that information is withheld.
Kevin Harvick didn't look old at Atlanta Motor Speedway. Once upon a time, when a few lions still had saber teeth, Harvick won his second Cup race. It was at Atlanta. His second victory at the track was his 612th overall. It made me think of Terry Labonte, whose first and last victories were at Darlington in the Southern 500, without any others at the track in between.
It's unlikely this was Harvick's final checkered flag, of course. When Harvick reflected on that memorable afternoon in 2001 when he outdueled Jeff Gordon two weeks after he succeeded Dale Earnhardt, what apparently occurred to Harvick the most was how stupid he once had been.
"Oh, sometimes you just need to keep your mouth shut," Harvick said, "and everything is not a show. Running fast is enough merit and enough show. I said and did a lot of dumb things. I guess you could call them building blocks and now we can laugh about them, but it was entertaining at the time."
I think it's called "the voice of experience."