Will it be another new winner? NASCAR visits Darlington
Originally, the Labor Day weekend saw the cars at Darlington, but that was changed. Then they visited on Mother's Day weekend, and that, too, was changed. Now here we are, not quite mid-April, and the cars are on track.
By the way, Austin Dillon was the first of the Cup cars to claim his Darlington Stripe for the weekend. There will undoubtedly be many more before this practice is done.
Fastest on the track so far seems to be Jimmie Johnson, followed by Greg Biffle and Dale Earnhardt Jr. Fellow Hendrick Motorsports team mate, Jeff Gordon, has the points lead going into the race, after Dale Jr's catastrophic move into the grass last weekend. That mistake, which resulted in a flaming car and a 43rd place finish for Jr. sent him well back in the point standings. Now that team has to regroup and try once more to get those wins.
Jimmie hasn't won this year, and neither has Jeff Gordon. They want to get that win as soon as possible, to have that opportunity to run for the Cup Championship. Will they take more chances on the track to do so?
Okay, so I had to go to work, and wasn't able to finish this before that. While I was gone, qualifying for the Cup race took place, and Kevin Harvick has the pole position. Also, the Nationwide race ran, and I got home in time to catch the.....last lap. Yes, I watched the last lap of the race.
Chase Elliott, the son of Bill Elliott, won at Darlington, for the second time in as many weeks. This is Chase Elliott's first start at Darlington in the Nationwide Series. Yes, he has been there many times, watching his dad race, and probably knows the track like the back of his hand. But this is still only his first run on the track in this series, and in winning he becomes only fourth driver (first since 1952) to do so. That in itself is incredible, but add to that the fact that Chase has now won two races in a row, in a series where he is a rookie, and the entire NASCAR nation has to be saying this young man is definitely the one to watch this season.
Not since Adam Petty do I recall seeing a young man so talented, so comfortable in a car, and so determined to win. It has been a long time coming, and it is absolutely wonderful to see. Bill Elliott was the fans' most popular driver sixteen times, only relinquishing the title by his own insistance. Awesome Bill from Dawsonville remains a fan favorite, and his successor for fan favorite, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the owner of the team for which Chase Elliott drives.
It just makes a person's heart glad.
Tomorrow night the Track Too Tough To Tame will welcome the Sprint Cup drivers once again. Who will be the driver in Victory Circle at the end of the race? Will it be a repeat driver? Perhaps Kevin Harvick? Or will Jeff or Jimmie finally get a win?