Clinton, S.C., Monday, May 27, 2013, 9:20 a.m.
Who didn’t awaken Sunday morning and think, man, this is racing nirvana? Grand Prix of Monaco, Indianapolis 500, Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte … road racing, Indy cars, stock cars … most unique, greatest spectacle, longest race.
And who didn’t trudge to bed after midnight, after staring at high-def for 18 hours, and think, man ,this is too much of a good thing?
Sitting in a recliner takes a toll on a man. (Or, in turn, a woman.) Throw in snacks and beer (though certainly not in my case), and you’re looking at serious Memorial Day sluggishness. (Fun fact: Memorial Day is actually Monday.)
Hat’s off to Juan Valdez and all the fine folks who harvested the beans that wound up being my coffee this morning.
I wrote about Monte Carlo and Indy Sunday afternoon, so herewith I shall endeavor to dwell on NASCAR. “Endeavor to dwell.” Reads like I’m getting ready for the Oklahoma Land Rush. I used to have squatters’ rights at the speedways.
It should come as little surprise that Kevin Harvick won the Coke 600. Harvick’s profile suggests that he should win it every year. Harvick, 37, is NASCAR’s version of Mariano Rivera. He shows up at the end like a thief in the night. Out of his 21 Cup victories, Harvick has led fewer than 50 laps in 14 of them. Eight times he’s won while leading 10 or less. He’s won while leading only the last lap. He’s won leading only the last two twice. He’s also won while leading three, four and six.
On Sunday night, Harvick led 28 laps. By his standards, that’s utter domination.
It was also the Night of the Slithering Cable, which could’ve been the title of a George Romero movie. (He already made “Night of the Living Dead,” “Dawn of the Dead,” “Land of the Dead” and, of course, “Survival of the Dead.”)
It’s not unusual for a NASCAR race to be affected by a drive line, but when the drive line is for a camera, it’s a bit of an anomaly.
Harvick sounded like Jack Buck, who famously said, “I can’t believe what my eyes just saw!”
The cable fell to the track and whipped through speeding cars like a band of screaming banshees.
The winner’s description: “Hell, the first time I drove by, I said, my career is over, my eyes have taken a crap. I saw this streak go by me. What in the hell was that?
“I always have this thing with my eyes. It’s one of the biggest things we have as drivers. You got to believe in your eyes. I tell myself, you’ve got to believe what you saw.”
Ten fans were also injured by – you can’t make this up – flying cables. None of the injuries was deemed serious, though three required a trip to a nearby hospital.
In Monte Carlo, one driver, Nico Rosberg, led every lap. In Indianapolis, Tony Kanaan showed up at the front after a record 68 lead changes. In Concord, Harvick survived a D-Day Invasion of a race. It would’ve been “The Longest Day,” except for the fact that most of it was at night.
Thank God it ended just in time for the infomercials.