Silliness in the Lull

Brad Keselowski takes the checkered flag in the Advance Auto Parts Clash at Daytona International Speedway. (Photo by Brian Lawdermilk/Getty Images)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, February 13, 2018, 11:30 a.m.

By Monte Dutton

The Advance Auto Parts Clash won’t be remembered for long without a quick glance at racing-reference.info. The name will only be remembered until the next time its name changes.

Only for the winner will it be more than a footnote. It was Brad Keselowski’s first visit to a Speedweeks victory lane.

Keselowski’s Ford started last and finished first.

“It means a lot,” he said. “I have never won anything here during Speedweeks, and I feel like I have choked them away to be quite honest. You need one to break through. Hopefully, this is our breakthrough.

“The cars are a handful. They are supposed to be. This is professional racing, and they are supposed to be hard to drive. This was no exception today. This is probably the hardest I have ever had to drive a car at Daytona, but I am not complaining.”

Now there is no reason to duel in the Can-Am Duel, which, even though they are two duels, won’t involve much of it. Any driver who destroys his car without mechanical or tire failure is going to feel mighty stupid, because nothing is riding on the outcome except track position at the start of the 500, and as Keselowski has already demonstrated, even that isn’t much of an obstacle.

Alex Bowman hardly looks like a showman here. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

The lull is on. The next track activity is Thursday. Writers and commentators are busying themselves coming up with silly nicknames that have little to do with reality. Alex Bowman doesn’t seem to be much of a showman. William Byron isn’t a Red. The bevy of young drivers who have converged to fill the sudden void left by retiring stars haven’t had a chance to show much personality yet.

But if the office says, “We need a story,” then a story shall there be.

Oh, for the times of the Silver Fox, the Intimidator, Banjo, Fireball, Gentleman Ned, and Handsome Harry.

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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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