An All-Around Miraculous Day

David Ragan is from Unadilla, Ga., which always makes me think of armadillos. (John Clark photo)

David Ragan is from Unadilla, Ga., which always makes me think of armadillos. (John Clark photo)

David Ragan won at Talladega.

Let’s try that one more time.

David Ragan won at Talladega.

Hallelujah! “Fairy tales can come true. It can happen to you. If you’re young at heart.”

Front Row Motorsports finished 1-2. NASCAR can do whatever it wants. Declare that Front Row starts on the front row … at Darlington. Cite some alleged bulletin, and claim you forgot to inform the media.

The front row shall be occupied by the fastest qualifiers, except in rare instances when a team carrying the name Front Row has won the previous race.

What Ragan – and David Gilliland, as well – proved at La-La-Land Superspeedway is that anything can still happen, even in an age in which either Hendrick Motorsports or Joe Gibbs Racing can win seven out of a season’s first 10 races.

Ragan not only pulled off the sport’s biggest upset since Trevor Bayne won the Daytona 500 in 2011. He provided hope to the Houston Astros, and the New York Jets, and my Furman Paladins when they line up against the LSU Bayou Bengals this fall.

OK. Let’s not get carried away. Miracles seldom come in bunches. I’m humming “whatever happened to peace, love and understanding?” anyway.

Ragan is 27, and he’s won once before. That 2011 summertime victory in Daytona Beach was with Roush Fenway Racing, which meant that, while it was an upset, it wasn’t a stunner. Front Row Motorsports has never been aptly named before.

“You win these Sprint Cup races, and you never want to be a guy that never wins one,” said Ragan, enthusiastically doubling up on his negatives. “You win one, and you don’t want to be that guy that just wins one. You want to win two and win three.”

Whoa, Nellie!

Ragan survived quite the ordeal, and that was something else with which the little guy could identify. Even the stray big guy.

I watched the race up to the rain delay. Then I picked up my mother and drove to Columbia (technically, Cayce) through driving rain to attend my great-nephew’s (her great grandson’s) birthday party. The trip, normally an hour, took nearly twice that long because I-26 was backed up due to a wreck. It took a half hour to reach the next exit (Little Mountain, if you’re keeping a scorecard at home) and then the traffic there was backed up because of all the others fleeing the “super highway.” Claire B. Lang was talking the whole time.

Once we got there, we took our time and I violated my diet. After all that time, when we finally left, the Aaron’s 499 (which isn’t a damn bit different from the 500 that will be run in the fall) had still not restarted.

Amazingly, Claire B. Lang was still talking.

The rain was even worse on the drive home, but I never missed a lap on radio and was back home for what became a famous final scene. The rain was so heavy that, several times, I had to work the wheel to keep the pickup straight, and I had this feeling Mom was holding her breath.

But I never had a black Chevy planted on the hood. I saw that when I got home. Stewart-Haas has to stop putting that windshield magnet in Ryan Newman’s car.

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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2 Responses to An All-Around Miraculous Day

  1. Judy B says:

    Another miracle is that ‘Dega once again escaped without anyone being seriously hurt. I love the drama, I love the David vs. Goliath storylines & I love the underdog having an equal shot to win.

    What I don’t like are the horrendous wrecks that could injure or kill someone & take out drivers trying NOT to race with their heads up their collective asses. I don’t like NASCAR’s continued inconsistency with plate events (let’s face it, hardly any of what takes place on these tracks can be called real racing) whether it be the way the yellows are thrown/not thrown or any of the other plethora of inconsistencies.

    As an aside,it amuses me that NASCAR yaps about safety being first & all that but mark my words, nothing but the 2 wrecks will be used when it comes time to promote the next ‘Dega event.

    IMHO, if NASCAR can’t figure out a way to make these events more race-y & less circus-y, they should keep the Daytona 500 as the only points-earning event. The season is already too short thanks to the stupid chase (lower case intentional). Diluting it by 4 more events is ridiculous.

  2. tim murphy says:

    Monte, you are still the best, love ya…

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