Well before they dropped the green flag at Chicagoland last Sunday, Kyle Busch had this pronouncement:
Remember when Denny Hamlin won the Daytona 500 last February and his mom produced an elementary school essay where he predicted he’d win the 500?
He’s been like some sitcom kid we’ve watched grow up right in front of our eyes. We’ve laughed with him, hurt for him, been disappointed by him and for him and we’ve pulled for him, for many more reasons than his heritage.
Two races left, and the Chase for the Sprint Cup is pretty much a “if you want in, you better win” scenario. The top 15 spots seem fairly secure.
When Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced this summer that he would be sitting out for a couple of races because of concussion-like symptoms, I didn’t think much about him not returning.
The first signal to me that NASCAR was reaching a troubled era was probably in 2011 and a commercial came on during a race telecast, trying to sell tickets at Bristol.
After the Brickyard 500 drew only 50,000 fans and Kyle Busch turned it into a dreary, non-competitive event, we opened the inbox to ask fans what they feel is wrong with NASCAR.
After last April’s race at Talladega, in which several cars got upside down, I quoted Chris Buescher about the sensation, and referred to him as “a 24-year-old Texan, hoping to make his name in NASCAR racing. … He’s more anonymous than a chat-room troll.”
The stories have grown into legend about the toughness of old NASCAR drivers. A battered Ricky Rudd driving with tape keeping his eyes open. Davey Allison driving with a broken arm. Darrell Waltrip racing with a broken leg.
As I turned off the television late Saturday night, I had the empty feeling that I had been watching a bunch of commercials that were occasionally interrupted by a NASCAR race.
TALLADEGA — On May 1, Brad Keselowski outran the rain and outran the field to win the Geico 500 at Talladega Superspeedway.
There are certain inevitabilities in NASCAR. A Joe Gibbs Racing driver will contend every week. Watching a Fox TV race broadcast will prompt at least four usages of the mute button on your remote control. A driver you can’t stand will win every other race.
The office was paneled with the sort of wood that seemed ubiquitous in America’s dens of the 1960s. There was a clunky desk and a stiff, metal chair for visitors. It was up a short flight of stairs at a nondescript red-clay oval race track.
The feeling of “it’s about time” when it comes to one particular inductee into the NASCAR Hall of Fame makes it a little difficult to nitpick, to suggest that it’s about time to consider changing the selection process.
Professional sports’ all-star games bear only slight resemblance to their regular-season cousins. There’s no blitzing in the Pro Bowl. The NHL went to four-on-four skating this year. The last time anybody played defense in an NBA All-Star Game, they were in short-shorts and knee socks.
Such is the miserable luck of Matt Kenseth that Fox Sports commissioned a Kansas City blues singer to moan a mournful tune about Kenseth’s season, a segment dropped strangely into the middle of the broadcast.