I was enthused to attend the Sharpie 500 at Bristol Motor Speedway this past Saturday night. Kyle Busch dominated the race, leading over 400 laps through the middle portions of the race.
Between laps 344 and 462, NASCAR chose to throw four different cautions for debris. This was done blatantly to erase Kyle’s lead in each case, along with NASCAR trying to give Dale Jr. his lap back. There was only one of the four that they actually showed the debris on the track, and it wasn’t even in the racing groove.
After the third debris caution, Carl Edwards was noticeably stronger early in the run, challenging Kyle more than anyone else had all night, fueling NASCAR’s desire to drop another debris caution to effectively produce the desired outcome for the race.
Soon after the final restart, “Cousin Carl”, the new golden child of NASCAR due to him challenging the dominant team, was allowed to bump and run Kyle Busch, amid cheers from thousands in the crowd. Kyle was able to get back to Carl, even pull alongside at one point, but didn’t bump him in the corner, or spin him out, or anything of the sort. Kyle settled for the second place finish he was dealt.
As most of you already know… Kyle expressed his displeasure with Carl with his car. He bumped into Carl on the cool down lap; Carl in turn spun him on the back stretch. Further, NASCAR summoned Kyle to the principal’s office and many speculate a penalty will be issued on Tuesday.
Can someone tell me when Kyle Busch has wrecked all these people to win races this year? Carl said “he knows why I did it, he did it to me”…???? When has Kyle moved Carl to win??? Kyle got credit for moving JR at Richmond even though they were obviously both at fault, but he has not been on a tear like he is getting credit for…Back to the race…
After processing the full race over the last 36 hours or so, I think I have prepared myself to write about it.
Early in the race, Tony Stewart grew impatient with Jeff Gordon blocking, and roughed him up on track in order to complete the pass. This drew scorn from NASCAR, who promptly warned the 20 team to settle down. The result was Zippy cursing at Tony to leave Gordon alone; thus showing NASCAR's ability to pick and choose when aggressive driving can be tolerated.
NASCAR defending Gordon caused me to reflect on another day in NASCAR, when I took it upon myself to boo and heckle Jeff Gordon while attending races. I was not alone in this seemingly noble act, as thousands of others would join with me and enjoy expressing displeasure with Gordon because of his winning ways. Why? Because in winning all those races, he was always beating Dale Earnhardt, Sr.
Fast forward to Saturday in Bristol, TN. Kyle Busch methodically proceeded to the front while Dale Jr. jumped the start, passed 5 or 6 cars before the start finish line. I attended the race with two die-hard, only Dale Jr. fans. I saw the distress in their faces as Dale lost a lap early. Almost immediately they converted from strictly Dale Jr. fans, to fans of anyone but Kyle Busch.
Just as I had done so many years prior, my friends (along with so many others Saturday night) heckled a man because he was winning. Then my friends (along with so many others) cheered as Carl Edwards took the lead from Kyle and continued to win.
While reflecting on this, I noted my current understanding of Jeff Gordon. He is an excellent driver, an excellent representative of NASCAR, and a proud father and husband outside of that racecar. He doesn’t win every other week anymore and fewer people boo him as a result.
The big realization comes when you realize that even if that top driver rolls over and doesn’t win every week that still won’t let your favorite win. In Dale Jr.’s case, if the top five or 10 all roll over, Dale Jr. still won’t win.
Therefore, if you as a fan choose to support Jr., support him, just don’t hate on any other particular person because he finds success. Ask yourself why you support only Jr. He is riding his daddy’s coattails. If you all want to cheer for Carl when he takes out Kyle, go buy a No. 99 T-shirt and sport it for the whole race.
In hindsight, these are my conclusions:
- I am figuring out that the average NASCAR fan might not be as smart as I would like to think they are. In fact, in order to be a full blown Dale Earnhardt, Jr. fan, you have to have your head up your rear end a little ways.
- Carl Edwards is reaping the benefits of Kyle Busch’s success. Everyone has forgotten the No. 99's early season cheating, along with the fact that he too is kicking Jr.’s butt this season, simply because he has beaten Kyle a few times.
- If I drove a car in NASCAR for a living, I would be very similar to Kyle Busch. I would have done the same thing to Carl Edwards, probably worse.
- Dale Jr. will never win a championship! He was all over the place Saturday night. If NASCAR hadn’t helped him out he would have never finished as well as he did.
- Kyle Busch will win a championship very soon, probably this year!
- They messed up the wreck fest at Bristol with the new car and new paving, but that was the cleanest track I have ever been to. Large bathrooms kept the wait time down there, we were able to sit below the grandstands before the race started and were never once concerned with the filth you encounter at some other tracks. The staff was pleasant. The foot long corndogs were awesome! Even though I didn't like the outcome—the overall race experience was excellent! A+ to Bristol Motor Speedway.
Now we have to see how much NASCAR will penalize Kyle for showing emotion. Probably severely, since they are as anti-Kyle Busch as the rest of the haters.
Logano to the 20 next year.
Mears to the 07.
Bowyer to the 33 with no points! Whew!
Sorenson looks to be going to the 10 car.
This week is UGA vs. GSU… Georgia rivalry and a whooping for the kids from Statesboro.
Y’all have a good one.