Spanning the Racing Globe

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Jamie McMurray seized the Sprint All-Star Race late. A similar rise in the late stages is even more likely in the Coca-Cola 600. (HHP/Garry Eller photo for Chevrolet)

Jamie McMurray seized the Sprint All-Star Race late. A similar rise in the late stages is even more likely in the Coca-Cola 600. (HHP/Garry Eller photo for Chevrolet)

Clinton, S.C., Saturday, May 24, 2014, 1:56 p.m.

I guess I’m getting ready for the great Memorial Day festival of racing. Last night I played a decent set of music at the local Mexican joint. This morning I wrote the first part of one of the serial short stories I compile at my other blog (wellpilgrim.wordpress.com). It’s a tale of old-time stock car racers called “High, Wild and Handsome.” I got good start on it, and if you think it’s frank and for mature readers, you should have read it before I toned it down.

In a little while, the Nationwide Busch (that’s Kyle) race gets under way at Charlotte Motor Speedway. It’s the History 300. Kyle has quite a history there.

My lightly-considered pick is Kasey Kahne. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevrolet)

My lightly-considered pick is Kasey Kahne. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevrolet)

Honestly, I seldom even think about making a prediction on the outcome of a race. Once upon a time, I had to make one every week in the rails (i.e., fact sheets) that helped preview the races. The only times I predict winners is when a radio talk-show host asks me, and then I generally put approximately two seconds worth of thought into it. Last night, on South Carolina SportsTalk, I told Phil Kornblut I thought Kasey Kahne would win. The above constitutes an accurate account of what little that is worth.

I’ve been to six Indy 500s, the most recent being in 1999 when I didn’t get to hang around for the end. I was in a junket with Tony Stewart.

Carl Edwards has been fast in practice. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Carl Edwards has been fast in practice. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

The 500 is always shown on television monitors at Charlotte Motor Speedway, so I’d drive over to the track early and be in the press box when the Greatest Spectacle in Racing began. Sad to say, though, it really is impossible to follow a race closely from a media center. Well, lots of people do it. It’s impossible for me.

I’m looking forward to watching the Grand Prix of Monaco and the Indy 500 with an attention I haven’t had a chance to devote to them in decades.

Meanwhile, the Boston Red Sox haven’t won since I left on my road trip – that was May 13 – and how much I want to watch them go for nine losses in a row depends in part on how much Kyle Busch continues to write his History 300.

Kevin Harvick is a likely contender. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Kevin Harvick is a likely contender. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

It’s gotten fashionable to bash the Coca-Cola 600, and I love the race. I’ve done a fair amount of thinking about why modern fans are so hard to please. What I love about NASCAR’s longest race is the ebb and flow. The race really is a Long Day’s Journey into Night. Some driver will dominate an early part of that race, stay out of trouble all night long and, yet, somehow manage to be 16th or something when the checkered flag waves, quite possibly, for someone who was 16th when the aforementioned driver was leading. The odds are that it’s going to be a relative unknown dominating early and a “wheel man” of great renown advancing late.

All these rises and falls can be disorienting when you’re sitting in the grandstands, hard to manage in the press box and overlooked in the living room.

You’ve got to pay attention to the Coke 600, and not that many people do that anymore. They can’t see the forest for the trees, or ditching the metaphor, the race track for the iPhone screen.

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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5 Responses to Spanning the Racing Globe

  1. Carol Dahlberg says:

    I enjoy the 600 because of the drama and the ebb and flow, though I sit here hoping that my guy, Jeff Gordon, gets his back pain under control so he can be comfortable for the race. Well, as comfortable as he can be in a hot race car filled with exhaust fumes.

    None of my family or friends who live nearby are fans of racing of any sort, so I will spend my day alone with the TV and my computer and family and friends online, watching the Monaco Gran Prix, the Indy 500 (last time to hear Jim Nabors sing “Back Home in Indiana,” and the Coke 600. Wish it were the Pepsi 600.

    Enjoying your racing romance…or will it end up being no-romance?

  2. Carol Dahlberg says:

    Need an edit option….messed up my punctuation. Urgh.

  3. Al Torney says:

    Attended my first World 600 in 1968. Spent Saturday night in a sleeping bag right next to the speedway fence for free. Last time I attended seems I paid 25 bucks to park a mile away. Times change.

    I thought one of the beauties of the race was I could get half loaded before half time and be sober for the end and the long ride home.

    Hard to believe that North Carolina only has two Cup races and an exhibition.

  4. Monte says:

    I got up for Monaco with minutes to spare. I’m looking forward to the day.

  5. Monte says:

    That’s the main source of my thoughts this morning: how much things have changed.

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