Everything's bigger in Texas - Even NASCAR
NASCAR has presented the group of people it feels worthy of nomination for the next induction into the Hall of Fame. The list also includes Anne France, wife of the legendary Bill France Sr., and although many of our newer fans may not have a clue about her contributions to the sport, she is a worthy nominee. The list also includes Rusty Wallace, Rick Hendrick and Richard Childress. I am of the opinion that these gentleman can wait. We have Buck Baker, Fireball Roberts, Curtis Turner, Leonard Wood and Wendell Roberts who need to be considered sooner rather than later. In any case, NASCAR.com has a full list of the nominees and bios and videos to go along with their presentation. You can vote there for your choice for the five as well.
The return to Rockingham has been a dream of Andy Hillenburg's for a long time. The last Sprint Cup race to run there was in 2004, with Matt Kenseth narrowly edging out Kasey Kahne for the win. For a while the track sat almost empty, and it wasn't until Hillenburg purchased the track and started on an effort fueled by extreme desire, that NASCAR considered returning. That first step is a truck race. It will be one truck race many of the old time fans will definitely tune in to, including yours truly. The Rock, as it is know, is one of my favorite tracks and it's great to see it back on the circuit. I only hope that they are able to put on a great show for us fans, and encourage the top tier series to also return. Another short track is definitely needed to take the place of one of the cookie cutter tracks.
Texas Motor Speedway was the site of Dale Earnhardt Jr's first win. He has gone 135 races without a win, yet seems poised to win again, any weekend. He has said he feels ready to win again, that he feels capable of winning again. His fans are definitely ready to see him win again, in fact have been ready for that for a long time. Finally, it seems he might be able to do just that. Jr races in the Nationwide series on Friday night, and follows that up with a push for the big win on Saturday night in the Sprint Cup series. It has been established that he can win in the Nationwide Series, and with his former crew chief, Tony "Pops" Eury Sr., on the pit box for Friday's race, that win is very achievable. He and Steve Letarte seem to have established a great working relationship, so a win on Saturday night is just as achievable. My biggest worry is their trouble in getting the car as strong at the end of any given race as it is in the beginning. However, Dale Jr. should definitely be one of the strong favorites for this weekend.
In fact, he is my only favorite for the weekend. Greg Biffle may be the points leader, but he has been consistent, not stellar this year. He hasn't won a race, he hasn't given us any excitement, and he hasn't really contended for a win at any track. He has just been there. I don't think he will be the points leader after this weekend.
Texas Motor Speedway is a 1.5 mile D oval, with 24 degree banking. Sure, it can be classed as a cookie cutter track, but the racing there is actually exciting. Eddie Gossage, the owner of the track, does everything in his power to ensure the fan experience there is the best it can possibly be. That is something other tracks should pay attention to. We will have a great, exciting, suspense filled weekend.
So, obviously you know my pick for the weekend, both races, is Dale Earnhardt Jr.. My pick for the truck race is Ty Dillon. Dark horses? Well, I'll have to wait to see how qualifying goes.
What about you?