NASCAR Race Weekend Central

No Bull: Bachelors, Trucks, Bristol And Who Knows What Else?

Did you enjoy the off weekend, or did you find yourself getting the itch during Sunday afternoon to watch some cars going in circles? If you tried to watch the Camping World Truck Series race to get your fix on Saturday evening, I pity you. The 147-lap event was marred by ten cautions (and some say Kasey Kahne, too). Kahne, in Kyle Busch’s truck, dominated the night in a series that’s seen regulars lead just 107 of 400 laps on the year.

On to other thoughts from this off week full of odds ‘n’ ends…

— Did anyone watch “The Bachelor” finale simply because of Emily Maynard? Maynard, who was the “winner” on Monday evening’s finale, was Ricky Hendrick’s fiancee when Hendrick was killed in the 2004 Hendrick plane crash.

After Emily had been pegged as the favorite to win — and the show filmed an episode at Las Vegas Motor Speedway, where Maynard had a breakdown because that’s where Hendrick drove the final race of his career — she became tabloid fodder. The Bachelor and the surrounding circumstances haven’t become the focus of press conferences in the first three weeks of the Cup season, but now that Maynard has been chosen, will we see a slew of “Bachelor” related questions Friday?

— After Kahne’s demolition on Saturday, does the ringer rule need to be applied more heavily to the Truck Series? Cup regulars have even more of a stranglehold in the Trucks than they do in the Nationwide Series, and the only saving grace is their irregular 25-race schedule that doesn’t see the series paired with Sprint Cup very often.

Sure, the division may drop a bit in the ratings if Kyle Busch, Kevin Harvick and others didn’t compete, but the quality of competition wouldn’t suffer and would probably get better. Short-term pain for long-term gain…


Cole Whitt may be second in points, but he’s not quite a champion contender…yet (photo courtesy of the Hot Lap’s Phil Cavali).

— Cole Whitt is second in the Truck Series points standings. That’s right; Whitt, a Red Bull development driver, didn’t qualify for the season-opening race at Daytona, but thanks to his (relatively) heavy financial backing, secured a ride and is arguably the story of the Truck Series season ever since. While the odds are against Whitt being a serious title contender, a top-5 finish in the points isn’t out of the question for him.

— My bet for the Truck title? Matt Crafton. Crafton got too aggressive going for the title in 2009 at Gateway and it cost him dearly; but judging by early season results, three top-10 finishes in three races have shown consistency, not questionable judgment is now the running theme for the current point leader. It says here that Crafton has learned from that experience and will close the deal for ThorSport in 2011.

— Who else will be sick of “fighter jets in a gymnasium” and other Bristol metaphors by the time the green flag drops on Sunday? Yes, Bristol continues to be one of the coolest tracks on the circuit with its three-groove pavement, but let’s also cut the charade about tempers, too. The multiple grooves have traded better racing for cooler heads, and while I love me some drama, the racing more than makes up for it.

Who’s going to win Sunday? Kyle Busch is my pick, but don’t count out Ryan Newman. You’d be surprised at how good he’s been at Bristol over the last 10 races (seven top-10 finishes) and he’s part of a 2011 renaissance over at revamped Stewart-Haas.

“Contact Nick Bromberg”:

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