The Nationwide Series race has just wrapped up, and I somehow get the feeling I just watched the best race of the weekend. Yeah, Kyle Busch winning is nothing new, but there was action aplenty, creating on the national stage what is going on at tracks elsewhere around the country.
Busch and Carl Edwards gave the fans a nice, clean (I might add) battle at the end. I’m curious, who were you rooting for between those two? Has that changed since the two traded paint at Bristol two summers ago? Inquiring minds want to know. I digress.
To take the lead, Busch had to overtake a pesky Trevor Bayne, who just seems to be growing as a driver race by race. We also had good racing featuring Brendan Gaughan, Ron Hornaday, Aric Almirola, and Justin Allgaier among others.
Now, I’m not saying there isn’t room for different kinds of tracks in NASCAR. What I’m saying is this series is at its best when racing on the short tracks, much like when NASCAR launched back in the late 40s. Yes, it’s good to throw in downforce tracks, technical tracks, superspeedways to test drivers in a multitude of disciplines.
A thought struck me tonight: for all the problems the Nationwide Series is thought to have, I think they have it over the Cup series in terms of venues. I can’t wait for Iowa next week, Montreal always makes for an interesting road course race, Gateway is good, and O’Reilly proved a nice stop off for the NNS racers and the the trucks.
As they ponder scheduling changes for Cup, I’m just using my soapbox to join the chorus of those who want to see more racing at tracks of one mile or less in length, and fewer of the mile and a halfs.
They say insanity is doing the same thing over and over and expecting different results. NASCAR, you’ve made some moves the right way, and I believe more are coming. The surest sign yet that the fans have your ear is if you get more short tracks on the schedule, and quit pretending that auto racing NASCAR style is some cosmopolitan pursuit.
A Salute To Earl Brooks
As I write this, the life of Earl Brooks has just been celebrated. The man is living proof that not all the winners see victory lane. In his 262 race Cup career, Brooks never got to the checkered flag first, but the man still played an important part in NASCAR history.
Brooks began competing in NASCAR Grand National Racing in 1962, with most of his starts coming between 1967 and 1971, while Richard Petty, Bobby Allison, David Pearson and Bobby Isaacs were trading paint. But that is not his real claim to fame.
Perhaps he will be best remembered for the way he offered help to the lone African-American to win a top series NASCAR race, Wendell Scott. Brooks and Scott traveled together, shared tools and shared parts. At a time when doing such a thing wasn;t so fashionable, Brooks and Ned Jarrett were a big part of keeping Wendell Scott competitive.
Brooks also owned cars driven by Dave Marcis, Ed Negre, and Dick May among others. He was known as the “Earl of Lynchburg,” hailing from that Virginia city. He was 80 years old.
Not all winners get trophies, and not everyone who gets trophies is a winner. Earl Brooks, in his own understated way, was a champion.