Race Weekend Central

Never Fear; Underdog is Here! And He’s Saving the Season

In some ways, it seems like yesterday when the engines first fired at Daytona to start 2011, but here we are, ten races later, and not only is the season flying by, by most standards the sport is doing well. Ratings are stable, if not up, people are talking about the sport, and the racing has been good, with some stellar finishes. It’s been a different season than the last couple of years. But why?

Simple: it’s been _fun_.

The reason for the fun lies in part with the great finishes, but there’s more to it than that, something that speaks to more than close racing, more even than victory margins measured in the thousandths of seconds. It’s been the year that an underdog won.

Horses and Horsepower: Saturday’s Two Great Races Have More In Common Than You Think

This week’s Showtime Southern 500 is a NASCAR tradition. (Sort of, anyway; it’s on the wrong weekend now.) Once NASCAR’s oldest race, it was the one everybody wanted to win-the trophy was as sought after as the Daytona 500 hardware, and harder to win, because drivers don’t race each other at Darlington; they race the track, known as the Lady in Black for her reputation as a killer of dreams. While Saturday’s running isn’t the same race at heart, Darlington, the Track Too Tough to Tame, is the oldest superspeedway in NASCAR.

But she’s not the oldest track to be showcased on Saturday.

When It’s Not About the Racing, the Racing Community Is at Its Best

Sometimes things happen that remind us all that no matter how passionate we are about racing (or anything else), it’s really just a diversion from life. And life was especially hard this week for so many people that racing and other diversions seem almost trifling in comparison. And on one level, they are.

As the death toll from the worst tornado outbreak the South has seen in nearly 40 years rose to nearly 300 and climbing, we’re reminded that some people lost everything they had and more.

As a young driver spends Friday in a hospital bed instead of in his racecar, we’re reminded of the fragility of each and every one of us.

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