I'm back from another great trip to North Carolina and saw some great races at Hickory Motor Speedway. I completely forgot that the Denny Hamlin Short Track Showdown was in Virginia on Thursday night. Maybe next year if the dates align again I could take a longer vacation and head down to the Richmond area for that race and head down to North Carolina the following day. Although all five divisions at Hickory seemed a little low in car count (biggest field I believe was 21 USAR Pro Cup cars), it definitely was worth going.
The winners of the Allison Legacy Series and Rolling Thunder Modifieds led every lap of the race, which is fine with me because if you have the fastest car why not try and lap the field. It seemed like in the ISCARS race that many of the teams suffered and dealt with mechanical problems, but there was a great side by side battle for the lead for much of the race. In the USAC Ford Focus Midgets and USAR Pro Cup Series races it goes to show you that even if a car runs away with the show it's not over until the checkered flag. It always amazes me that people will just leave the track in the middle of a race if there's not a battle for the lead. In my book, they're not real race fans. There were still battles for position all over the track and near the conclusion of both races the dominant leader's engine expired. I must add that it was awesome seeing a Food Country USA #75 in victory lane! Videos of the races can be found at http://www.youtube.com/ajcrdstr24. Recaps and race results can be found at all of the series official web sites.
I said in the previous paragraph that the race isn't over until the checkered flag and it could not be more true especially in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series in 2010. I have to admit that the Daytona 500 finish was one of the best I've seen in a long time and at first was a fan of the multiple green-white-checker rule. However, it seems like time and time again the same story evolves. Someone gets into trouble late in the race and whether it is a big wreck or just an innocent spin, NASCAR has thrown the caution. This is where I feel the end of these races have turned into something comparable to the end of a poker game. The stakes are high and the drivers and teams have used skill to get into the position they are currently at. Everyone is gunning for the current leader who in many cases this year has led the most laps and failed to win; basically making him a bit of a sitting duck during the late stages. So the teams start gambling whether it be through pit strategy or risking thousands or maybe even millions of dollars worth of parts by making a decisive maneuver for the win (Talladega for instance). This has happened in past years on occasion as well, but even more so this year. The multiple green-white-checkered finishes are where the luck factor comes into play, which isn't all that bad but for it to happen almost every race (once again Talladega for instance) has been getting sort of ridiculous.
What is the solution? Maybe it will just take time. Maybe these drivers just have to get used to it and prove they are the best drivers in America. After all it's worked well for years in the Truck Series and several short track divisions throughout the entire country. Maybe I'm not like most race fans, but I don't mind seeing the dominant car win more often than not, and a lot of times if that car, driver and/or team falters near the end of a race I feel their pain. For the time being, if I want to see the end of a poker game I'll go to Atlantic City.
Over the next month I won't be going to or watching many races anyway due to some poker tournaments I will be concentrating on, including playing for top prizes such as $500 cash, a trip to Atlantic City and a trip to Las Vegas. Just like every year, I look forward to tuning in to see the Indy 500 and Coca Cola 600 on Memorial Day weekend. In June, I'll probably go see a local race or two at Mahoning Valley Speedway, Sundance Vacations Speedway or maybe even consider traveling to Port Royal Speedway for the first time to see some dirt racing.
I'll be back later in the month to share my poker results, preview the summer and maybe have another comment or two regarding the world of NASCAR.
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