All the frantic concentration on change has scrubbed too much of the grit off stock car racing. Lo and behold, the Bojangles’ Southern 500 is still unique. Its relevance in the present is derived from its past.
Meanwhile, NASCAR modernizes.
Darlington isn’t the biggest house on the circuit, but it was packed, or at least that’s the way it looked on TV.
Denny Hamlin overcame a seemingly critical mistake to win the 68th annual Bojangles’ Southern 500 on Sunday night at Darlington Raceway, completing a weekend sweep of racing at the famed Track Too Tough To Tame.
Tame it he did, however. On Saturday, Hamlin won the weekend’s NASCAR XFINITY Series race after starting on the poll. Sunday marked his second victory in the Bojangles’ Southern 500, following his 2010 triumph. Hamlin also swept the weekend’s events that year.
Brace yourself. This week I came to praise NASCAR, not to bury it.
I take back nothing. In NASCAR as with most sports, I am a traditionalist. If I could ban the designated hitter from the ballparks, I would. If I could banish teams with losing records from post-season play, I’d do it.
That train left the NASCAR station in 2004. Now the season boils down to 10 races in the fall, and from the way some people talk, you’d think the Chase, now oh, so originally known as “playoffs” in which no one plays, had caused interest in stock car racing to explode into worldwide acclaim.
The unique paint scheme of the No. 77 5-hour ENERGY Toyota that 2017 NASCAR Rookie of the Year candidate Erik Jones will drive in the Sept. 3 Bojangles’ Southern 500 will honor the great rookie classes of the celebrated throwback era. The paint scheme is a photographic Who’s Who of the NASCAR Cup Series rookie drivers from 1984 to 1989, featuring Cup Series Champions, Daytona 500 winners and a couple of Hall of Famers.
Additionally, the scheme will include a photo of The 5-hour ENERGY Racing Throwback Sweepstakes winner, which gave fans the opportunity to submit their personal photos from the 1985-89 era. The winner, Rick Redpath of Greene, NY, was randomly selected among hundreds of entrants and will share the hood of the No. 77 at Darlington with some of racing’s royalty.
Kyle Larson took a while to get started. It’s because he started young. He was 21 when he debuted on what is now the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series in the fall of 2013.
It took Larson 101 tries to win. Now he’s won four of the past 36 and finished second nine times during that span. Oddly, all four victories have been at two-mile tracks. The runner-up finishes have occurred at every kind of NASCAR venue except a road course. He did, however, turn in a fourth at Sonoma back in 2015.
Larson has gone from “talented, but it’s too soon” to “talented, but he’s got to learn to close the deal” to “talented, end of story, period.” No question mark.
As the NASCAR regular season winds down, I feel like I’m at the ocean. Water is plentiful, but there’s nothing for me to drink.
My mother would say I’m picayunish. She’s said it all my life, and I had to look up how to spell it. News is everywhere. Yet I find it to be “of little value or account; small, trifling.”
Young, apple-cheeked lads are marching into NASCAR like the junior ROTC on parade out on the academy green, running up the flags and standing at attention. There’s a William Byron here, and an Alex Bowman there, Ryan Preece, Bubba Wallace, everywhere a Daniel Suarez.
With the emergence of NASCAR’s next generation of stars defining the 2017 season, NASCAR today announced new guidelines that will further highlight the young talent battling for championships in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
Starting next season, drivers with more than five years of full-time experience in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series will be limited to a maximum of seven races in the NASCAR XFINITY Series and five races in the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series.
I miss the stock car racing of my youth mainly because I miss my youth.
My hero was David Pearson. He was from up the super highway. Occasionally, my dad bumped into him when he landed his twin-engined plane at the Spartanburg Downtown Airport because Leo Sell, whom my father retained as a crop duster, flew in and out of there, too.
Pearson grew up on a mill hill. They called them hills whether they had any or not. My grandfather worked most of a half century in a mill. I worked at one in the summer. Third shift. I went to college so I wouldn’t work in a mill anymore. Pearson raced stock cars.