That was the thinking throughout much of this evening during the race at Richmond. Occasionally it does, but the racing at Richmond International Raceway rarely disappointments. The just-concluded race- all the batty theories aside- is a prime example.
The Hollywood script would have had Jeff Gordon winning the race from the pole, a grizzled (he’s getting old enough to be called that) legend making it in on a last chance. It’s safe to say at a race track like this- .75 mile in length- that would be no foregone conclusion, and it was not. After breezing along throughout the race’s early stages, Gordon would become one of many who led the race; in his case, up front, falling back, and racing towards the front again. He’s right; it’s been just that kind of season for the ‘24’ team.
For me, I’m Goldilocks on this track: some are too short (producing more wrecking than desirable), some are too long (I’m not sure I’d be one missing the plate tracks if they went away), but Richmond is just right.
That’s the positive I’m taking away, as this thought will give way to discussions that will have cries of skullduggery, a lack of enforcement of rules on re-starts, and all manner of unhappiness that the ten race chase is now here.
It’s shame, because there was excitement in this race from beginning to end. Gordon, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski, and Ryan Newman all looked like they had shots at winning. Kevin Harvick made a spirited run. Jack Roush’s top two drivers had the kind of night that gives them a lift heading down the homestretch. Jimmie Johnson’s team is no longer a stone cold lock for their sixth title, blowing a hole in another of a long list of conspiracy theories that can’t, and will never be proven.
For those of us who believe there should be more short tracks in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, this race is Exhibit “A.” All the other silliness will overshadow what was a good night of racing, but this race had all the elements this fan looks for.