CP Motorsports

MONTE DUTTON: SEGMENTS AND STAGES STEAL THE ALL-STAR THUNDER

One of the unexpected consequences of Dale Earnhardt’s death in 2001 was the last growth spurt of NASCAR to date.

Some like to say that event was the beginning of the decline, but it wasn’t.

The tragedy of Earnhardt’s death, on the last lap of the Daytona 500, put NASCAR on the cover of Time magazine (back when it meant something). It wasn’t just the biggest sports story. It was the biggest news story, and the investigation into the accident and the safety improvements necessary to prevent such tragedy from happening again kept stock car racing on the evening news and in the headlines for most of the year.

CP MOTORSPORTS - BILL ELLIOTT’S RECORD-SETTING RUN AT TALLADEGA CELEBRATES 30-YEAR ANNIVERSARY THIS WEEKEND

Records are meant to be broken, but there are some that have stood the test of time.

Joe DiMaggio established his 56-game hitting streak in Major League Baseball with the New York Yankees in 1941.

Will Chamberlain scored 100 points in a National Basketball Association game for the Philadelphia Warriors on March 2, 1962.

Secretariat’s march to the 1973 Triple Crown began in the Kentucky Derby when he covered the one-and-a-quarter-mile distance at Churchill Downs in 1 minute, 59.4 seconds.

MONTE DUTTON: HIT 'EM WHERE THEY AIN'T

“Hit ‘em where they ain’t.” Those were the simple words Wee Willie Keeler used to describe the secret of hitting baseballs. It wasn’t the full quote, though.

“Keep your eye on the ball and hit ‘em where they ain’t.” Not that splashing spheroids around fields of green bears much resemblance to racing automobiles pell-mell and fast-forward around closed circuits, but, at Richmond last Sunday, Jimmie Johnson tried to drive his Chevy where they weren’t but failed to keep his eye(s) on his teammate, Dale Earnhardt Jr.

MONTE DUTTON: YOU CAN’T RESIST CHANGE IN THE LONG RUN

When I was a kid, my racing heroes were David Pearson and A.J. Foyt. I went to Foyt’s last Indianapolis 500. I got to know Pearson while I was writing about the men who succeeded him.

I was driving home from Fenway Park on a New Hampshire NASCAR weekend when I heard on the radio that John Unitas had died. It’s a vivid memory. I had to pull off the road and cry for a while. I felt embarrassed because I thought I was a grown man.

CP MOTORSPORTS - TRUEX JR. OFF TO CAREER BEST START

 

Martin Truex Jr.’s overall performance at this time of the season is outperforming any of his previous years in NASCAR’s elite series, including last year when he was one of the hottest drivers on the circuit.

After eight NASCAR Cup Series races, Truex is ahead of 2016 in wins at one (0 at same time last year), top fives at two (one), top 10s at five (two), laps led at 432 (198), average start 9.9 (12.4) and average finish at 8.6 (13.0).

CP MOTORSPORTS - DALE EARNHARDT JR. ANNOUNCES RETIREMENT AT THE END OF SEASON

After 18 seasons and more than 600 races behind the wheel, Dale Earnhardt Jr. will bring his NASCAR Cup Series driving career to a close at the conclusion of 2017. Today, he shared the news with members of his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team.

The fan favorite and two-time Daytona 500 champion will discuss his decision in a press conference this afternoon. He will be joined by Hendrick Motorsports owner Rick Hendrick, for whom Earnhardt has driven since 2008. The two first met about the driver’s decision on March 29.

JIMMY JOHNSON WINS RAIN-DELAYED FOOD CITY 500 IN BRISTOL MOTOR SPEEDWAY

Seriously helped by a late race caution, Jimmie Johnson powered ahead to win the rain delayed Food City 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway.

Clint Bowyer finished second, his best in several years, followed by Kevin Harvick, Matt Kenseth and Joey Logano.Kyle Larson, Chase Ellioytty, Martin Truex Jr., Ricky Stenhouse Jr., and Denny Hamlin rounded out the top ten. Ty Dillon was the highest finishing rookie.

Larson contributes to lead the point standings with 360 points, 27 ahead of Chase Elliott. Truex, Jr, Logano and Keselowski round out the top five. Johnson, Jamie McMurray, Bowyer, Harvick and Tyan Blaney round out the top ten.

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.

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