Love that Saturday night racing under the lights, even if it’s a mile and a half track. The NASCAR weekend at Sparta is being hailed as “the” sports highlight of the Kentucky summer. NASCAR super fan Jeremy T. Sellers says last year’s experience for he and his lovely wife was much better than what was described the year before. Let’s hope that trend of improvements continues and the good fans plunking down their hard-earned green get their money’s worth.
No doubt two drivers have Saturday’s date circled as an opportunity to prop up their uneven fortunes. Kyle Busch has had one roller coaster of a ride in 2013. It seems that its one step forward, one step back for the 18. Remember this is the same guy who won four races in 2009 and still missed the Chase, so any skittishness on his part is understood. What’s the deal with Brad Keselowski? If there’s anybody due for a summer streak, it’s the reigning Cup champion. Most discussion of 2013 contenders for the title include Jimmie Johnson, Kasey Kahne, Matt Kenseth and Kevin Harvick (of late) seems to be working his way into the picture. I don’t think I pictured Keselowski has being winless at this juncture of the season when the calendar turned from 2012 to 2013.
Bobby Labonte’s streak of consecutive NASCAR Cup starts will come to an end at 704- an incredible run for the the 49-year old Texan. At this juncture in his career, it becomes too easy to focus on the fact Labonte hasn’t won since Homestead in 2003, causing us to too easily forget his legacy as a Busch Series champion and the driver who piloted the 18 car to the title in 2000 while racing for Joe Gibbs. For those critical that Labonte hung around too long, you still have to appreciate the fact he said earlier this week he wasn’t going to go trolling for a ride just to keep the streak alive; acknowledging there are other arguably more deserving of the opportunity. Hopefully, last Sunday’s fiasco in the 51 won’t be our enduring memory of how his career ended.
It was quite a discussion we had yesterday on whether or not car owner Richard Chilress should bring the number three made famous by his good friend and employee Dale Earnhardt out of retirement for what will more than likely be his grandson Austin Dillon. It was no doubt a passionate but respectful debate. One commenter “Overr88ted” did point out that besides Dale Jr.’s use of the number with the Wrangler paint scheme in a Nationwide race a couple seasons back, there were also two other occasions where NASCAR’s favorite son also raced with his dad’s number back in 2002 and 2003. I was remiss in not making mention of that. I did not mean to infer the Junior’s victory ride in 2010 was the only usage on his part of the famed number. Interestingly enough, it seems as though its a pretty even split…for now.
If I don’t say so beforehand, have a great Independence Day and thank a veteran for protecting that freedom.