Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, July 23, 2018, 2:34 p.m.
I like stock car races that go back and forth in relatively quick succession. Too many of them just go forth.
In this year of contenders and pretenders, the contenders number only three: Kevin Harvick, who won his sixth race of the season in New Hampshire; Kyle Busch, who was won five; and Martin Truex Jr., who has won four. Add in Clint Bowyer, who has twice escaped the pretender class, and four drivers have 17 of the 20 Monster Energy Cup races to date.
Never in recent years, and damned few ever, has the old saying been truer.
The race is not always to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, but that is the way to bet.
That sentence began evolving with the Bible, and it has been written, stolen and attributed countless times since. The Bible didn’t include the codicil about the wager.
I returned, and saw under the sun, that the race is not to the swift, nor the battle to the strong, neither yet bread to the wise, nor yet riches to men of understanding, nor yet favour to men of skill; but time and chance happeneth to them all.
That’s Ecclesiastes 9:11.
New Hampshire Motor Speedway is basically Martinsville, doubled. The odds of a fine race such as the one that transpired after considerable delay in Loudon are greater in southern Virginia because the half-sized track is considerably more crowded, and all the back and forth takes place in closer proximity.
As the laps wound down, Harvick’s Ford gradually tracked down Busch’s Toyota. With seven to go, Harvick made his bump-and-run perfectly because the bump wasn’t enough to wreck him but it was enough to prevent him from returning the favor.
Busch knew it. Harvick was unrepentant.
“He finished second, didn’t he?” Harvick declared in the form of a question.
Busch conceded that Harvick was faster. His only quibble, and it was a mild one, was that he wished Harvick had tried to pass him cleanly and waited a little longer before resorting to the legal mugging.
Harvick felt he had to rub while the rubbing was good. He was right.
At home, I wished Harvick had waited, too, but that was only because I had picked Busch to win when asked to do so by Phil Kornblut on S.C. SportsTalk on Friday. No big deal. No one ever trained me to predict what happens. My training is in the field of writing what already did.
In this day and age, mindless prognostication gets in the way of partisanship. One reason heroic figures don’t ever get the appropriate credit is that too many viewers are allowing their minds to succumb to whom it is on their so-called “fantasy teams.”
Damn, I love Harvick, but like a fool, I didn’t put him in my lineup this week … so … go, Kyle.
In other words: If my brother drove race cars, and I picked his greatest rival, I wouldn’t mind it if my brother wrecked. I mean, as long as he didn’t get hurt or nothing …
It’s why I don’t bet. It’s why I don’t put athletes on something inexplicably called “a rotisserie.” I’d rather save my fantasies for when I’m asleep.
If you enjoy my insights about racing and other subjects, make a small pledge of support. Rewards are in place for pledges of $5 or more. If 1/10 of my followers and Facebook friends pledge $1 a month, I’ll be set. Read all about it here.
If you yearn for my writing in larger doses, I’ve written quite a few books. Most are available here.
Lightning in a Bottle, the first of my two motorsports novels, is now available in audio (Audible, Amazon, iTunes) with the extraordinary narration of Jay Harper.
Just out is my eighth novel, a political crime thriller called Don’t Ask, Don’t Tell. It’s right up to date with the current political landscape in the country.
My writing on other topics that strike my fancy is posted here.