Not that long ago Nascar road races were seen as throwaway events by not only many fans, but also many of the competitors. In this age none of the teams can take these races lightly. And actually, The Glen gives some of the usual 'go or go homers' the opportunity to run the entire event since they don't have to be so concerned about crew and tire costs. (However, after perusing the final rundown, not as many of them as I would have thought took advantage of that situation). This fan also came to realize the validity of road racing. It was just as entertaining and exciting as any of the other events of the season. Although I am normally opposed to races that are less than 3 hours, a 2:16 race on a road course didn't feel so bad. And the Nationwide Series is about to run consecutive road races. Has that ever happened before?
Speaking of short races, I would like to think I was prescient when I titled last week's event as a '400' (in light of the announcement this week that going forward Cup races at Pocono will be cut to 400 miles), alas, I simply misspoke.
Of the several good things about the race, what stood out to me was that at The Glen there wasn't a caution every time someone spun out. The drivers were really allowed to race all day. I suppose all of the things that kept the race fluid had as much to do with it being a left and right turn event as anything else. Regardless, that's 2 races in a row that Nascar managed very well. (Except maybe the fact that Sunday it didn't take a rocket surgeon to realize early on that the race was not going to take place that day.) I hope the experts can find a way to transfer some of the things that made that race good to more of the ovals.
Unfortunately, race rain delays do not afford the kind of stories and lore as reminiscent in the days of Jack Brickhouse or Harry Caray at Comiskey Park and Wrigley field. Probably has more to do with someone like Ned Jarrett, with his multifaceted and extensive experience, not being in the booth.
What we did get during the delay was a lot of product placement. I can't believe how much soda these guys drink what with being such athletes and all. Maybe all races should be run on weekdays during school hours so as not to adversely influence our precious little ones.
Isn't it about time everyone stops avoiding the reason for the 'bus stop'? I can't remember the last time an announcer mentioned J.D. McDuffie and that it was his death that precipitated the addition of what I have for 20 years called ' in his honor ' The McDuffie Chicane.
Usually when a late caution ruins what is about to be a great finish, it ends anticlimactically. This was certainly a rare exception. So now it seems next year the track will have SAFER barriers everywhere. No more sand has reduced the number of cautions. New barriers may make it safer for the drivers. (Although no one has apparently been too injured in several vicious wrecks over the last few years.) Maybe the drivers should just stay on the track.
8.15.71: At Michigan, Ron Keselowski had his best finish of the season (7th).
If Ned was in the booth we'd know what's up with Tommy Kendall.
By Gary Erdakos
Ref: racing-reference.info, Greg Fielden's 'Forty Years of Stock Car Racing', Richard Sowers' 'The Complete Statistical History of Stock-Car Racing'.
Opinions expressed in blogs are those of the individual bloggers and do not necessarily represent the views of racing-reference.info.