A few thoughts, observations and a questions following the 56th running of the Great American Race:
Was it just me or was the choice of O Fortuna from Carmina Burana the wrong music for driver intros? It’s a bit too ominous for auto racing. It’s almost as if the drivers were about to do battle to the death. Ugh! Maybe something a bit more up tempo next time guys? The way the introductions were staged was pretty lame, too.
Speaking of music...As a NASCAR beat writer for several years I had the opportunity to hear a lot of different versions of our nation anthem. Now, before we go any further, you should know that while I dearly love to hear The Star Spangled Banner, it is a difficult song to sing for most and it does glorify victory in battle. I would prefer our national anthem be America the Beautiful, which is much easier to sing and is about purple mountains majestic and amber waves of grain.
Sorry to get off track. Back to the national anthem. I was wondering if the person who chose the rock band Madison Rising (which bills itself as “America’s Most Patriotic Band”) to do the anthem prior to the Nationwide Race on Saturday auditioned the band’s version prior to hiring them. If you’ve not heard their version of the anthem…
Now that you’ve clicked away from that before the end, you should know that before their unbelievable version of the anthem this past weekend, most observers felt the worst rock version was done by Steven Tyler, sung before the 2001 Indianapolis 500.
I don’t know about you, but Tyler’s version, while a bit out of place for where it was being performed (maybe), at least he didn’t turn it into a really bad rock song like the guys from Madison Rising did. It really is hard to get through their version, isn’t it?
My pick for best rock version? That’s an easy one. Jimi Hendrix at Woodstock
Hell of a way for Martin Truex Jr. and Todd Berrier, two of the good guys in the sport, to start off the new season, isn’t it?
The hysteria surrounding the return of the No. 3 car was over the top during Speedweeks. At one point, Fox television announcer Chris Meyers actually wondered (aloud) during the pre-race show “Who would the fans be rooting for if the finish of the race came down to the 88 car of Dale Earnhardt Jr. and the 3 car of Austin Dillon?”
Race fans didn’t have the chance to see such a finish as Dillon was too busy bumping into much of the field. I counted at least three of the big wrecks where the television announcers began with “And it looks like the three car ran into…”
It might be that Dillon’s first 500 in the 3 car was a real eye opener, as he had a “deer in the headlights” look to him in the post-race presser. He’s good though and he’ll be fun to watch the rest of the season.
So will Kyle Larson, who had issues early and often. This year’s rookie crop has some strong talent and is well worth watching. I would guess that six of the eight rookies will end up driving in the Cup series for a decade or more.
You’d think with all the money he has that Jeff Gordon could find a good barber. Doesn’t it seem like he cuts his hair himself? Or could his new hairstyle be hiding something? Like a receding hairline maybe?
If you’re wondering why the Joe Gibbs Racing cars aren’t winning championships look no further than the missteps and mistakes all three teams made during the Daytona 500. Their pit road etiquette leaves quite a bit to be desired.
Did you notice that before she crashed out of the 500, Danica Patrick hit both Richard Petty Motorsports cars?
The rain delay made for two different races. The first one, before the rain, was lame and for a minute, I was afraid it would be another sleeper. But when the rain turned the 500 into a night race, it made for a much better show. I wrote about it for Bleacher Report.
After he drove into victory lane, Earnhardt Jr. climbed from his Chevy and before doing anything else, he hugged and thanked everyone of his crewmen. A real class act! Having Earnhardt Jr. as the 2014 champion would be the shot in the arm that NASCAR is desperately searching for. I’m not sure if this team can get the job done down the stretch, but with this win it looks as though they will get a chance to try.
I don’t know what you did during the rain delay on Sunday, but I ended up watching several episodes of Season 2 of the House of Cards. It really was a long day, especially since I was writing a post-race piece for Bleacher Report that I started just before midnight and didn’t file until 1:15 AM.
The wait for the rain to stop and for the track to dry was worth it. It was a fast and exciting race.
When the cars flashed by the camera on the backstretch it was just unbelievable. There was little mention of it during the television broadcast, but I’m sure that for much of the race, the speed of the main pack was well over 200 mph. The speed made the race the kind of edge-of-your-seat entertainment that they need more of in NASCAR.
The real season starts next week on the short track in Phoenix. That’s when we’ll have a better idea of who’s on it in 2014 and who’s not.
Thanks for stopping by.