My Brain on NASCAR: What a long strange road trip it’s been

It’s kind of funny that not too terribly long ago, people were complaining about the “yawn factor” of road course races, claiming they had no place on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series schedule, and now, they are two of the most exciting events of the year.

The Toyota/Save Mart 350 at Sonoma featured so many great storylines that we could literally spend the next three weeks talking about them. But NASCAR being what it is, the same is true of every race, so we’ll deal with them in one fell swoop.

Leading off is Clint Bowyer’s victory, his first since moving to Michael Waltrip Racing (MWR) at the start of the 2012 season.

I think most people mentally divide NASCAR drivers into two categories – the ones we are passionate about, either positively or negatively, and the ones we don’t pay much attention to one way or the other. I have to confess that for me, Bowyer has always fallen into the second group.

It’s nothing personal. Bowyer is popular around the garage and by all accounts, he is a fun guy to hang out with. He is certainly skilled behind the wheel, with six Cup Series wins and three appearances in the Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup. He’s just not a driver who springs immediately to mind when making predictions about who might win a road course race, or any race, for that matter.

But on Sunday, he held off two guys who do spring to mind in those situations, beating defending series champion Tony Stewart and defending race champion Kurt Busch to the checkered flag.

“To have this dirt boy from Kansas at Victory Lane on a road course is big, trust me,” Bowyer said after the race. ”I saw Jeff Gordon, he’s sitting there on the wall, he’s won this race many times, he’s a champion of this sport and I just beat him. I passed Jeff Gordon, and you have no idea, a young racer from Kansas, you don’t forget stuff like that.”

Speaking of Jeff Gordon …

First of all, I know race car drivers are known to be brash, but I’m not really sure I would go out of my way to rub the four-time champion’s nose in the fact that I had “just beat him.” Gordon is suffering through a less than stellar season. With only 10 races left before the start of the Chase, he is sitting 18th in the driver standings, with no wins.

This is concerning. I was somewhat of a Cathy-come-lately to NASCAR, so I missed out on a lot, but I have seen plenty of wonderful moments in racing, and many of them have included Gordon. He has made the post-season championship field every year except one, but right now it seems there is a real possibility that we could see a Jeff Gordon-free Chase in 2012.

That little breeze you feel when a page is being turned can be kind of sad.

A Kinder, Gentler Kurt Busch?

The 2004 Cup Series champion, whose abusive behavior  literally got him thrown out of his own car for a couple of races this season, fought his way through equipment failure and radio communication problems for a third-place finish at Sonoma. Then, disappointment notwithstanding, he made his way to Victory Lane to congratulate the winner, who appreciated the effort.

“For him to come to Victory Lane spoke volumes about his character,” Bowyer said of Busch. “He’s a champion of the sport; you can’t lose sight of that. I know there have been a lot of negatives around him, but there were a lot of positives today for Kurt Busch.”

We can only hope.

The next race on the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series is schedule is the Quaker State 400 at Kentucky Speedway on Saturday night, June 30. Kyle Busch is the defending champion.

Driver standings after Michigan:

1. Matt Kenseth
2. Greg Biffle .
3. Dale Earnhardt Jr.
4. Jimmie Johnson
5. Tony Stewart
6. Kevin Harvick
7. Clint Bowyer
8. Denny Hamlin
9. Martin Truex Jr.
10. Brad Keselowski

Comments

comments

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silver

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silverThe frontrunners in this year's My Horry News All-County Girls [more]

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star Game

Pelicans help propel South to victory in All-Star GameA pair of Myrtle Beach Pelicans played key roles in [more]

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-South

NMB's Ballard, MB's Coble reconnect at North-SouthA pair of former teammates and rivals joined forces for [more]

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finale

Pelicans fail to finish .500 after losing first-half finaleThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans dropped their final game of the [more]

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squad

CCU's Biermann, Lancaster make All-American squadCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster and designated hitter Zach Biermann [more]

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny

Ibarrondo comes to rescue to rally first-place Mutiny The Myrtle Beach Mutiny needed a wake-up call late Saturday [more]

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale today

Pelicans split twinbill with Mudcats, play finale todayAfter the Myrtle Beach Pelicans fell 2-1 to the Carolina [more]

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader today

Pelicans lose fifth straight, play doubleheader todayVictor Diaz's seven strong innings for the Carolina Mudcats were [more]

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top list

All-County Boys Tennis: Johnson, MB duo top listThe future looks bright for the sport of high school [more]

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nod

Hess carves his way to Team USA surfing nodCarter Hess carved his way to a spot on the [more]

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect start

Pelicans' bullpen spoils Thompson's perfect startAfter Keegan Thompson was removed following seven perfect innings for [more]

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny win

Piggot feasts, scores four goals to lead Mutiny winThe Myrtle Beach Mutiny rolled to a 6-0 victory over [more]

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-American

CCU trio makes all-region; Lancaster an All-AmericanCoastal Carolina shortstop Seth Lancaster was named to the Perfect [more]

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans game

Braves' icons Avery, Jones to appear at Pelicans gameThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans will welcome former MLB All-Stars and [more]

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transfer

Coastal guard Labinowicz announces plan to transferCoastal Carolina University men's basketball player Artur Labinowicz plans to [more]

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoff

Report: Myrtle Beach Bowl 'near lock' for 2020 kickoffIn yet another development in the Grand Strand's booming sports [more]

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing Championship

Adaptive surfers depart for US Surfing ChampionshipLocal surfers, volunteers, and family members gathered at the Charleston [more]

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for club

All-County Boys Golf: MB's Jarman trades bat for clubIf things had worked out differently, Myrtle Beach High senior [more]

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of Omaha

Gamecocks' season ends one win shy of OmahaThe University of South Carolina baseball team saw its season [more]

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star team

Pelicans' Ademan, Pereda, Peyton make all-star teamMyrtle Beach catcher Jhonny Pereda, right-hander Tyler Peyton and infielder [more]

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 ranking

Johnson wins at St. Jude, recaptures No. 1 rankingFormer Coastal Carolina two-time All-American and Myrtle Beach resident Dustin [more]

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with Hogs

Gamecocks slam their way into final game with HogsThe South Carolina baseball team scored five runs in the [more]

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first place

Pelicans win ninth straight, make late run at first placeThe Myrtle Beach Pelicans racked up their ninth straight win [more]

All-County Girls Soccer: Gordon nets record, POY

All-County Girls Soccer: Gordon nets record, POYBlair Mueller remembers her first day on the job as [more]

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World Cup

Mutiny gives Strand fans small taste of World CupAmerican soccer fans don't have a rooting interest in this [more]

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silver

All-County Track & Field: Second shots strike silverThe frontrunners in this year's My Horry News All-County Girls [more]

Comments are closed.

© 2018 Grand Strand Sports Report · RSS
Myrtle Beach Web Design
Kayaking in Myrtle Beach