Clinton, South Carolina, Saturday, February 16, 2019, 1:45 p.m.
The last time I wrote about the Daytona 500 from onsite, Matt Kenseth won. To be honest, I barely remember the race. I remember details from hanging out – at the condo, in the garage, in the media center, in the press box — but I didn’t know my last Daytona 500 was going to be my last, so it really just blurs a little more each year and blends in with all the others, from Dale Jarrett to Kenseth, forever and ever, amen.
Now, last night’s Clinton at Seneca high school basketball game … I can tell you all about that.
This morning began with delight because I managed to watch the Truck (Gander Outdoors?) Series race without knowing who won it. I drove to Seneca in the car that gets good mileage but doesn’t have satellite radio, so I rolled into the foothills listening to bluegrass and out of them listening to the Grand Ole Opry. When I got home, there were digital photos to crop and adjust, stats to add up, a story to write and a posting to GoLaurens/GoClinton. Then I put together a story on the county’s private school winning a girls’ basketball playoff game by a score of 60-9.
Austin Hill won the Truck race. Who’s Austin Hill? I looked him up online and called a friend in Georgia who said he didn’t know much about him, either.
On Friday night, I also talked about the Daytona 500 with Phil Kornblut on statewide radio, or it may not be statewide till next week but this one was just on in Columbia. The parent company shut down South Carolina Network recently, but Phil, who has been doing sports talk for many years, hooked up with a new flagship and set up a network of 25 stations across the Palmetto State that may or may not have been operational last night. Anyway, I was eating hot dogs in Seneca at a Skin’s. I had taped the radio appearance on Thursday night, knowing how hectic Friday was going to be.
You’re just biding your time with me, figuring I’m going to get around to what I think about this year’s race.
As far as the 500 is concerned, I expect everyone will stay in one line for most of the day until the end – maybe segment ends – at which time all hell will break loose. Other wrecks may happen as a result of some parts failure, most likely a tire.
As far as the season as a whole is concerned, I’ve got even less a clue than usual. Part of it is because I no longer live close to NASCAR’s beating heart. Coincidentally, both of us have acquired an atrial fibrillation. I wouldn’t know I had it if a doctor hadn’t told me. NASCAR may need to switch to Xarelto.
The best and brightest have changed everything again. Trying to make the racing closer, the smart guys have gone dead opposite from last year’s master plan. Seeing whether or not Atlanta has become “a plate race” next week is probably more interesting than what’s going to take place Sunday.
The test, of course, is whether or not the fans like it.
Imperial NASCAR, often criticized for making everything just alike, has responded by making more things just alike.
That having been duly and pessimistically noted, I really don’t know what I think. A baseball manager was once criticized for having a strategy of “let them hit and see what happens.” That’s what I’m doing.
The easiest way to do this business is just write what you see. Start every day with a clean slate. Trust your instincts, not everyone else’s. It’s my way. It isn’t new.
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