The Frontstretch: The Joys of Watching NASCAR's Wayback Machine by S.D. Grady -- Tuesday March 24, 2009

Go to site navigation Go to article

The Joys of Watching NASCAR's Wayback Machine

S.D. Grady · Tuesday March 24, 2009


Editor’s Note: Have you heard of our FREE Frontstretch Newsletter, delivering more NASCAR news, commentary, trivia, and more right to your inbox every morning? If not, well, it’s time to sell you on it. Today, we’re showcasing the weekly column that resident fan expert S.D. Grady wrote for today’s newsletter. If you like what you read, well, it’s time to become a newsletter subscriber by clicking here to sign up! One simple click, and you’ll be checking out S.D.‘s work in your email inbox every Tuesday; if not, who knows when you’ll see her again!

Ah, the good old days. You know, when things were better. I’m not even talking about the wayback machine. Sometimes the good old days are as recent as last year, before we handed billions of dollars to greedy bank executives. More importantly, I’m speaking of those thoughts that bring a smile to our faces and make the present minute a little more tolerable.

On Saturday night, Bristol Motor Speedway held a little extra something for race fans across the nation. The Scotts Saturday Night Special entry list read like a NASCAR history book: Junior Johnson, Cale Yarborough, and Harry Gant were only three of the drivers that brought us all back to better days. For the first time in an eternity, these legends got behind the wheel of a stock car and made some noise in Thunder Valley.

Now, it wasn’t a race that saw side-by-side battles for the lead. There was a moment where Jimmy Spencer found Rusty Wallace’s bumper, the No. 33 machine of Gant’s looked more like a modified with its missing hood, and the cars weren’t really going all that fast.

In addition to his role as car owner, Rusty Wallace also took to the wheel Saturday night for the Scotts Saturday Night Special at Bristol.

But let’s face it. It was just plain fun. With Sterling Marlin taking home the massive trophy by leading all 35 laps and 70-year old L.D. Ottinger showing a gritty third place finish, it brought us all back to moments in the past where our personal NASCAR memories were made.

And that’s what keeps me turning on that TV every Sunday. There’s always a possibility that something really spectacular might happen this week.

Sunday’s Sprint Cup race may not have delivered the same ballsy, fight club sort of entertainment that I have come to associate with the venue, but just hearing the blistering rumble of the field and watching the 160,000 fans rise to their feet took me back…to my good old days.

Bristol’s that kind of track. It’s the place that solidified my love of stock car racing. I’ve plenty of reasons to hate it as well, but when your hero, Jeff Gordon, in 1997 made an established veteran whine and complain about the use of fenders in the corner, only happy memories are conjured. So, when Mr. Wallace climbed into his blue No. 2 on Saturday night, I smiled. I didn’t expect somebody to pull the bump and run on him, but the possibility was enticing.

Sometimes, we tend to grumble that celebrity races are for the birds. With nothing truly at stake for the competitors beyond bragging rights, it can make you wonder why we bother.

Well, when the oscillating stock market gives you hives and the family vacation has been canceled due to the lack of a job, sometimes it’s important to revisit the times when life made you smile.

The Scotts Saturday Night Special was filled with names and faces that spanned the decades of our sport. These gentlemen grinned at the cameras, laughed with each other, and shared a little of their “best moments” with America. Fans across the nation each responded in their own way to the driver that sparked their own special NASCAR memory. All in all, it was a night of smiles.

As Sterling Marlin said in Victory Lane, “I had a great time. I’d like to do this again.”

I couldn’t agree more.

Contact S.D. Grady

The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


©2000 - 2008 S.D. Grady and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

03/24/2009 07:27 PM

Heard all day long about “Ole DW’s” record at Bristol but where the heck was he Saturday night? Probably petting his Digger.

S.D. Grady
03/24/2009 09:45 PM

The folks at Fox told DW he wasn’t permitted to participate…not his fault.

Contact S.D. Grady