COLUMN: What a tangled web we strew ...
... When first we practice to confuse
First came the Daytona 500, which was, quite simply, the greatest sporting event ever held or envisioned by the mortal imagination.
Then came Phoenix International Raceway’s Subway Fresh Fit 500, which, as everyone knows, is where the season really began.
Next week the glib lads will joust in Las Vegas, which will be where the season really, really, really begins.
The topic of where the season begins – I failed even to mention the Budweiser Shootout – will collapse under the weight of its own nonsense, but the season will never cease to be rife with absurd hyperbole and ubiquitous hype.
This is NASCAR, where two cars grinding together is labeled “carnage” and car lengths are derived from the length of the cars on freight trains.
Darian Grubb will now be trumpeted coast to coast for having won six of the last 12 races, even though he was sitting on a pit box while doing it. Yes, he was the crew chief last year for Tony Stewart and now for Phoenix winner Denny Hamlin, but with all respect, the drivers played a role in the aforementioned victories, too.
Hamlin’s the point leader and the season’s already two races old. Can he hold on the rest of the way? Only 24 more races until the Chase and 34 until the Sprint Cup champion is crowned!
Is it over? Can Hamlin be stopped? Stay tuned, kids, and keep those tweets and text messages coming.
After the race, Dave Rogers gave Grubb the big shout-out for winning “the first open-plate race.” Ah, so Daytona was “a closed-plate race,” huh? Silly me. I thought they didn’t have plates at all except at Daytona and Talladega. It just shows how easy it is to let technology pass you by.
At Daytona everyone kept talking about “the quinella” of John King in the Camping World Truck and James Buescher in the Nationwide. Imagine what a race in Las Vegas brings to that table.
Mark Martin’s going to be there in both Nationwide and Cup, which is significant because, as Larry McReynolds noted, he’s running “a semi-partial schedule.”
In 20 years of writing about this sport, I think I’m gradually becoming semi-partial literate.
Monte Dutton; 704-869-1841; twitter.com/montedutton