CP Motorsports

MONTE DUTTON – TOUGH AS A PINE KNOT

One of the drivers who most changed over the years was Mark Martin.

When I first met Martin, he was wound tight as a spring. I learned that the best times to talk to Martin were when times were bad. When he won a race, he sort of “humbled out.” I’m not sure I can count the times he said his favorite homily, “In order to finish first, first one must finish.”

I always admired his work ethic. I just had a hard time figuring out how to write about it. Once I wrote a column in which I wrote Martin didn’t really understand the word “fun” the way most people did. To him, fun was winning, and it was mainly joyless.

Shortly after, Martin’s longtime crew chief and friend, Jimmy Fennig, became angry at me in the garage, telling me I didn’t know what I was talking about.

MONTE DUTTON – THE INCREDIBLE VARIETY OF ROAD COURSES

One of more amusing personal characteristics of young drivers – and, I trust, Kurt Busch – is making ridiculous comparisons.

As I was watching the simulation of modern drivers racing at long-closed North Wilkesboro Speedway, I wondered what they’d say about the glorious anachronism of the Brushy Mountains.

I’m still wondering. I checked email and only a transcript of race winner Denny Hamlin’s remarks had been sent me, and most of the questions asked Hamlin – I assume there may have been some form of interview because it was different from what he said on TV – were about such red-hot North Wilkesboro topics as social distancing and other forms of pandemic life.

Over the years, I’ve head the young, the brash, the desperate to get their words in a blog, opine all sorts of far-fetched declarations.

MONTE DUTTON – HAPPY, HAPPY, JOY, JOY

May 17. Real racing is scheduled to return.

It’s the biggest thing on May 17 since Brown vs. Board of Education.

Darlington Raceway is not just the Track Too Tough to Tame. It’s my favorite track. It’s where my daddy took me to watch the Silver Fox arrive and conquer.

MONTE DUTTON - SOMEHOW THE HOPE MUST SPRING ETERNAL

Many years ago, before Brian Zachary France abdicated the NASCAR throne, before he even wore it, when he was being groomed for it and quite obviously thought he was ready, I asked the young prince about the how big stock car racing could be.

At the time, he thought it could be bigger than pro football. Worldwide, he thought it could be bigger than futbol, not to mention the Indianapolis 500, Grand Prix of Monaco and 24 Hours of Le Mans combined.

As a young man, France lacked neither confidence nor ambition.

MONTE DUTTON – WHERE DOES THE VIRUS TAKE US NEXT?

The novelty of iRacing ran out for me. I didn’t even watch the one in would-be Richmond, Va. The unexpected melancholy probably had more than a little to do with Kyle Larson, who threw his career away racing in a silly, make-believe race, leaving me and quite likely him with a sudden need for a swig of Pepto Abysmal.

I know iRacing must be hard, but I also know it requires no heroism, no responsibility, no knowing the pain of actually hitting a wall or having to fix what the driver tore up, or pay for it.

Of course they drive like lunatics. Talking like one was unexpected.

MONTE DUTTON – IT’S CERTAINLY NOT THE END OF THE iWORLD

What seemed amazing to me didn’t seem like such a big deal to others.

Admittedly, this isn’t that unusual. I’ve never watched what others inexplicably call “reality” shows. This isn’t completely true, I guess. In the entire history of Conniver, America’s Got Balance and The Pretentious, I may have watched a grand total of 30 minutes, mostly by something approaching osmosis while sitting in a restaurant.

I may have gotten the names wrong. Whatever.

MONTE DUTTON – TRY SOMETHING NEW WHILE THERE’S NOTHING TO DO

One aspect of life in the Age of COVID-19 is that we all are getting accustomed to Brand X.

Better safe than sorry, even when safe is sorry. A fan’s got to do what a fan’s got to do. It is what it is. Let me see if I can think of a few more redundancies. That’s racing (kind of). This iRacing is somewhat realistic, but if it really was, Kyle Busch would be better at it.

And if he was better at it, he’d be counting his wins in iRacing right along with Xfinity and Trucks. I’ve already heard that some of these iRacing virtuosos have won more races than Larry Phillips on the bullrings of Missouri.

MONTE DUTTON – WARM MEMORIES OF BUD

Writing about racing is hard right now. Writing about anything isn’t easy. Lots of creativity gets fired from observations. Lately my observations have been mostly generated from the subject matter of an old Willie Nelson song.

Hello, walls. How’d things go for you today?

Forgive me if I reminisce. It appears there will be little about which to reminisce from the current year.

MONTE DUTTON – A BRAVE NEW eWORLD

In lieu of racing, Fox Sports 1 is televising imaginary racing. Online racing live.

Realizing I am only writing for myself here, I’d rather watch online curling. Slow-motion curling. Black-and-white reruns of barrel jumping on Wide World of Sports. Battle of the Trump Administration Stars. Joe E. Brown in Earthworm Tractors.

Oh, wait. I did watch part of it last night.

MONTE DUTTON – ESCAPING REALITY

​I knew it was a dream even while I was having it.

When I traded the red Ford Probe with the sunroof for a similarly red Ranger, Ryan Newman was 15. The present version of Clinton High School hadn’t been built yet. But there we were, Ryan and I, sitting next to each other in the circular common, chatting about NASCAR and a crash in Daytona Beach. George Strait’s “The Cowboy Walks Away” was playing. Turns out that was from the classic country channel of DirecTV, which I had activated to put me to sleep. Ryan said he had never heard Lynn Anderson’s “I Never Promised You a Rose Garden” before. It was released seven years before his birth.

We lunched in the CHS cafeteria, then headed out to the parking lot where the Probe was parked, and I tossed him the keys, which I doubt I would ever do to a race driver when the car was mine. But Ryan was calm and we continued our chat as he idled along Duval Street in Key West.

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