*As Race Mama is currently visiting the old country, I'm running the normal Laidbackracing.com articles here on my blog - Mad Mikie*
If you read my last article on Talladega, then you know I thought the racing sucked.
Well Martinsville was another story. Depending on who you root for, & how things turned out for them. I'm sure that a lot of fans were disappointed with the outcome. That having been said, I really don't see how anyone didn't enjoy the race itself.
Guys, & Gals, this was the kind of racing that NASCAR was built on.
Last week, when I was ragging on Talladega, & the kind of racing that the Chase has produced so far. I said that the Chase needed tracks that had the potential to produce barn burners. Well call the Fire Department, this race was a five alarm Burn Burner.
Martinsville, coupled with the intensity of the Chase, produced a race that was a throwback to the days that we all say we want to see again. This thing kind of turned into Brian Vickers, vs. the field.
We had Junior looking racy as hell. He didn't win, or even really threaten to, but he was in there digging, & we haven't seen that for a while. We saw Matt lose his temper, lots of fans didn't even know he had one. Some good runs, turned out badly, some gambles paid off, some didn't.
I consider myself a fairly sophisticated race fan. I don't watch to see wrecks, but I do enjoy good hard nosed, take no prisoners racing. I didn't see any of this "after you, no after you, want to lead a lap, come on," type racing.
But, & as Pee Wee Herman (not to be confused with Kyle Busch, who just looks like him) says, "everyone's got a big but." but I digress.
My but, is that the rare race like this, only makes what we normally see on the cookie cutter heavy schedule look worse. If this one was meat, & potatoes, then most of what NASCAR is serving up is cold oatmeal, without cream, sugar, or blueberries.
It's fashionable to blame all of NASCAR's troubles on Brian, & I've been known to lay a little on him, from time to time myself. This one's primarily on his Dad.
It's kind of hard for a Sport that only turns left, (with two notable exceptions) to take a wrong turn, but they did. In short NASCAR, in the '90s under Bill France's leadership, took a wrong turn by deciding that Short Tracks, the tracks that built NASCAR, for the most part. Had outlived their usefulness. NASCAR had outgrown them. This is when it stopped being about the racing, & became about the money. In other words it's when NASCAR, became NA$CAR.
In those days people were still building tracks, in hopes of getting a NASCAR Cup date. Once Bill let it be known that NASCAR, at least at the Cup level, didn't want Short Tracks, no more were built.
Someone could have built another Bristol, but once the word was out, the Cookie Cutter came out, & we got Texas, Chicago, Kansas, Kentucky, Las Vegas.
With Bills blessing, in '96 North Wilkesboro, a 5/8 mile track that had hosted NASCAR races since 1949 was sold off, & pulled apart like a Thanksgiving Turkey. Bruton Smith, & Bob Bahre, picked the bones. Sending one race to Texas, the other to New Hampshire.
In 2003 when Brian took the helm, he continued full speed ahead in the direction that NASCAR was headed. NASCAR tried to shovel dirt on their very first Super Speedway. Darlington had been holding races since 1950. With it's peculiar egg shape it was, & is, one of a kind. It's Labor Day Southern 500 was second only to the Daytona 500. The Southern 500 date was sent to California to give them a second date.
They then saddled Darlington with the Mothers Day date. A date previously open, & considered a date doomed to fail. It's a credit to the fans that this date has been successful, & we've been spared another boring Cookie Cutter race.
In 2004 NASCAR kicked Rockingham Motor Speedway to the curb. They sent one of it's dates to Fontana. Then sold the track to Bruton, to give him a second date for Texas.
Andy Hillenburg currently owns The Rock, & is putting in soft walls. The track should be ready once again to host a Cup date, but I seriously doubt that pride would ever allow this to happen.
To my knowledge, California has never held a decent race, & when NASCAR needed a second date for Kansas, California was elected. So a date that came from either The Rock, or Darlington, went from one boring track to another boring track. But a boring track with a Casino, this move might help the bottom line but the racing still sucks.
The Rock is still without a Cup date. Darlington still doesn't have it's Labor Day date back. After a brave, but underfunded effort, weeds are once again growing in North Wilkesboro. The racing still mostly sucks. Except for that rare shining example like we just witnessed.
I hope you enjoyed it as much as I did.
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