Just One More Week

The flags'll be flying again. (Getty Images for NASCAR.)

The flags’ll be flying again. (Getty Images for NASCAR.)

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, February 9, 2015, 11:57 a.m.

If the higher purpose had been giving the world an extra motive for anticipating the beginning of the NASCAR season, the weekend just past worked marvelously, at least personally.

What were the highlights? Let me count them. It may take a minute.

The cars have changed again. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

The cars have changed again. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Locally, I watched Presbyterian College win a game over Liberty on Friday night.

Furman, South Carolina, and Clemson all fell. The Chicago Blackhawks beat the Saint Louis Blues, significant, like many hockey matches, in that Doc Emrick called it on NBC. In the span of three hours, I watched about a minute of the Grammys. Verlon Thompson was on a PBS music show called Live at Hippie Jack’s.

Now, the Sprint Unlimited, which is in reality slightly less limited but still very much so, sits perched amid the rivers of memory, ever smiling, ever gentle on my mind. (RIP, John Hartford.) I don’t know who’s in it, though I know it will include all the Chase drivers from last year and pole winners who didn’t make it. I don’t much care. I just want to see them race.

Every time the rules change, racing at the plate tracks, Daytona and Talladega, gets different in a way no one expects. No one anticipated bump-drafting. First NASCAR wanted to break up the packs, and then it wanted to bring them back. Now the cars have less power and downforce. It’ll make them easier to drive in one way and harder in another. The drivers try to anticipate what will change. They’ve tested but not in race conditions. The Sprint Unlimited ought to provide at least an inkling of what they have in store.

In February, there's always a bit of a draft in the Daytona Beach air. (John Clark photo)

In February, there’s always a bit of a draft in the Daytona Beach air. (John Clark photo)

I probably miss racing this time of the year more than any other. That’s because, for twenty years, Daytona Beach was the only place I went where I spent two weeks and where, instead of hotel rooms, I’d share a condo – at various locations but north of Ormond Beach for the last decade – with others. I know Daytona Beach. I have friends there. I know the shortcuts to avoid traffic, the overlooked restaurants and nightclubs, and the places where I could go play music during Speedweeks. I have more memories there: more funny stories, vivid experiences, and the like. Maybe I’ll revisit them over the next two weeks.

I just wrote a feature on Chase Elliott for Bleacher Report. You can find it here: http://bleacherreport.com/articles/2358368-what-sets-chase-elliott-apart

I’d appreciate it, as well, if you’d take a look at my various books and consider buying them: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1


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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4 Responses to Just One More Week

  1. John says:

    Nice article on Chase Elliott.

    I have a soft spot for Daytona, too. But you still have to “check your six” when traversing the mean streets of Holly Hill.

    You should replace Pockrass at Sporting News, now that he mysteriously has been beamed-up to the “Mothership”.

  2. dawg says:

    I know you’re writing fiction, & this may already be in the pipeline.
    But I expect a book about your NASCAR antidotes should be well recieved,
    For the good times. KK

  3. Monte says:

    The last NASCAR book I wrote, Haul A** and Turn Left, is a collection of quotes and stories.

  4. Buster says:

    Yes it is amazing how Pockrass has made it to ESPN. ESPN used to have a least until now some degree of professionalism (excluding the over the top wannabe Nascar driver Marty Smith). Now we have Bob Pockrass who is Nascars version of Martha Stewart. The independent writer is going away and corporate media is sponsored by Castle Daytona. Yeah Pockrass will fit right in, will keep towing the company line, despite the fact that most fans see right thru it.

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