Over my life, my racing fandom has wavered between NASCAR, IRL and even NHRA for awhile before I settled back on NASCAR in the late 90s. I know I have mentioned this here before (usually right around this time of year) but I started off as a mostly IRL fan (technically it was before the inception of what is now called IRL- back then it was called CART and if anyone mentions that I am showing my age- I will sock you in the eye) likely because that was the premier racing series that the track closest to my home ran at the that time. I remember watching many an Indy500 “bubble day” with bated breath wondering who was going to make the field and who was going to go home sad. I knew the words to “Back Home Again In Indiana” before my own state song. I have no trouble sitting down and watching an IRL race, and did so with even more glee than usual on Sunday – all because Kurt Busch was running the double. As I listened to the Indy500 pre race show as I flitted about the house before settling into watch some racing, I said after the pre-race interview with Kurt “If he doesn’t crash the Indy car I have no doubt he will do it.” Little did I know what exactly he would do that could in the Indy500 side of the double. I mean- technically it was his first time in a IRL race. And racing is different than testing, and qualifying and all that. When Kurt tied Tony’s best Indy double finish…I was IMPRESSED! I was so disappointed for him when he suffered an engine failure in Charlotte. I HOPE that doesn’t dissuade him from attempting this again! I love the double and would actually LOVE to see more drivers attempt it- it adds something to the Indy 500 to me as well as the Coca-Cola 600.
That said- let’s talk Coca-Cola 600. It’s the longest race of the NASCAR season- I know that there has been talk that it’s too long- but I think there needs to be at least one 600 mile race in the season. In a time when the trend is to want to shorten races in general- I think it’s important to have a long race to showcase the endurance of the drivers, team and equipment. I think of it as the endurance race of NASCAR.
Tony qualified 18th and finished 13th- and like I always say at least he finished better than he started. During the course of the LONG race- I listened to the scanner fodder between Tony and Chad Johnston and actually liked what I heard. I am not sure if it was just me but it seemed like Tony and Chad were communicating better. I was pleased to see that changed made by the team actually seemed to help the car- and I think even Tony was encouraged- declaring before the checkers even waved that they were “1000% better” than they were the previous week. I am cautiously optimistic that this means that Tony will get a check in the W column- hopefully SOON!
Race winner was Jimmie Johnson- and thank goodness for that because now we can quit hearing about how there is something wrong between Jimmie and his Chad (Knaus) during the pre-race show. Talk about beating a dead horse.
Notes about The Coca-Cola 600:
1. I have to say the official team post-race report made me chuckle. There was a quote from Tony stating that the team is making “steady progress” and then there was a quote from Chad Johnston clarifying that they are “baby steps.” Heck I don’t care if they have to go through a hopscotch course backwards and blindfolded as long as we get that win.
2. Have you seen the new Coca-Cola Racing Family Road Trip Pit Stop commercial? It will put a whole new perspective on things…(Ha!):
3.Speaking of the Coca-Cola Racing Family- there is a new member of the family: Austin Dillon.
4. For those not in the know- Tony Stewart participated in a private test in a sprint car on Monday May 26th. It marks the first time he has been in a sprint car since the accident in August 2013 that broke his right leg. I can only imagine he was grinning ear-t0-ear.
The Gratuitous Tony Stewart Pictures:
The next race is DOVER which is where Tony had his last win…let’s repeat that!!!
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