NASCAR’s got to change! Isn’t that the platform just about all of NASCAR Nation has been chanting for the past few years? And yet even though we go to the voting booth (um, er, track) or don’t, things haven’t changed. Somehow the cookie-cutter tracks still make up the vast majority of our schedule, the leader …
The big double take of the weekend came after Friday night’s Nationwide Series race. The winner’s interview with rookie Austin Dillon, who dominated the event, was over and all seemed well for Richard Childress Racing and his iconic No. 3 car. That is, of course, until a NASCAR spokesperson picked up the microphone a few moments later. Usually, that speaker is just a formality – the sanctioning body assures the media that everyone has cleared postrace inspection. But Friday night, NASCAR announced a major issue: Dillon’s No. 3 was found too low in the rear. Penalties are likely. Except, perhaps, the one penalty that should come down.
If there was a prize for the best firesuit, Joey Logano would have it hands down after sporting a suit styled to look like… well, a suit, complete with jacket and tie. Logano, who was also strong in Sprint Cup practice on Saturday, looked to have the car to beat early, but a two-tire strategy later in the race proved to be the wrong one, and Logano was never able to claw his way back to the front. Instead, he was forced to settle for sixth, but if his early run is any indication, Logano could be looking at a much-needed top 10 in the Cup race.
Two races into the season is hardly enough time to make a lasting prediction for the remainder of a long regular season that will stretch till September. But no matter how early in the season, Sunday was a very big day for the No. 11 team and driver Denny Hamlin. Two races in, Hamlin sits atop the point standings; in six previous full-time seasons, he’s averaged 20th in points by now. It was a second straight convincing showing that had the No. 11 among the class of the field, demonstrating that the learning curve between driver and new crew chief Darian Grubb may well be a short one.
Winning the championship would arguably be the high point in any driver’s season, and Austin Dillon is no exception.
Ah, the exuberance of youth! Austin Dillon ran across the grass, his stride vigorous, a huge grin plastered across his face. He had, after all, just won the Lucas Deep Clean 200 at Nashville. Some kind of celebration beyond the obligatory burnout was clearly called for. He neared the huge, painted logo on the frontstretch …
There really wasn’t a clear-cut villain in either race this weekend, so I’m going to take a different track. Online voting for the Most Popular Driver award for the Nationwide and Camping World Truck Series doesn’t usually start until midsummer, but I’m wondering: will drivers ineligible for points in these series also be ineligible for this award? If fans can vote for the Cup drivers in either lower series, then NASCAR will once again be the villain for allowing the bullies to steal the little kids’ lunch money. If they leave those ineligible for points off the popularity ballots, then they deserve kudos for asking fans to think outside the Cup box and choose someone truly worthy.
Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 0.577 seconds ahead of Ron Hornaday Jr. to win the Ford 200 at Homestead-Miami Speedway Friday night.
Kyle Busch took the checkered flag 0.280 seconds ahead of James Buescher to win the RaceDayRaffleSeries.com 175 Saturday afternoon at New Hampshire Motor Speedway.
Todd Bodine took the checkered flag 5.630 seconds ahead of Johnny Sauter to win the Build Ford Tough 225 Friday night at Kentucky Speedway.