Sunday, April 3, 2011

Why Martinsville Endures

Kevin Harvick won at Martinsville today.  Dale Earnhardt Jr. came in second, narrowly beating out Kyle Busch for the spot.  Juan Pablo Montoya came in 4th, and Jeff Gordon finished 5th.

This was Martinsville at its best.  Good racing, good finishes, and the oldest track on the NASCAR circuit keeps putting people into the stands.  I don’t think today was a sellout by any means, but for a track in a town rather off the beaten track in southern Virginia, Martinsville never ceases to please.

Several years ago, after Dale Earnhardt died, I figured that eventually we would see Earnhardt Jr. and Harvick racing for wins against each other.  This isn’t the first time, obviously, but for me, at least, it was a win-win situation.  Nothing can be better than to see two of my favorite drivers fighting for the lead with laps to go at a track like Martinsville.  The drag race to the finish line with Dale Jr. just edging out Kyle Busch put the icing on my race day.

It’s not that I don’t like Kyle Busch.  Not as a racer at least.  I know that Kyle is one of the toughest drivers out there, and he’s smart as well.  As far as talent, Kyle Busch has it all.

I’m still working on the personality part of the Kyle Busch equation though.  He seems a little more calm so far in 2011, and I like that.  His mostly reasoned responses to media question make him better received than his old snarky personality made him sound.  If indeed Kyle is really coming around, I welcome him to NASCAR.  Be aggressive as you want to be on the track, just don’t whine about it when it all blows up in your face later.  Maybe that was just the old Kyle Busch.  The new Kyle I’ve seen lately is a lot easier to take, especially on a full stomach.  I’m not sure that I like Kyle yet, but I do respect him more.

When Martin Truex Jr.’s throttle got stuck open and he hit the wall, taking Kasey Kahne with him, I gained a lot of respect for Martin when he jumped out of his car and went to check on Kasey.  To me, that showed character as a driver.  Martin didn’t need to do that, but it was obviously important to him to make sure that a fellow driver was OK after a pretty bad wreck.  Fortunately, Kasey was, but Martin what I wish some other drivers would do in the same situation.  Go check on the other guy if you’re OK.  That’s the old school thing to do.

Martinsville, from it’s bright pink hot dogs down to it’s great racing epitomizes what racing ought to be.  Small tracks, small towns, tasty eats, and good hard racing.

What could be better?

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