And I couldn’t be more happy. Really. I was sent text messages by a bunch of my buddies to notify me that the race was ‘goin’ down,’ like I had no clue. I couldn’t have watched more than eight minutes of the race. Let’s see. I’ll chronicle a time line of my big race viewings:
- 5:50 p.m. — I turned over to see who was winning. 5, Kyle Busch. Yeaaah, I had to change the channel back to ESPN Classic to watch the ’98 NBA All-Star Game.
- 6:40 p.m. — What in the hell is Clint Bowyer doing leading the race? Heck, he’s not marketed much. So I gave the guy a break, but, I turned the channel to the ’03 NBA All-Star Game on ESPN Classic (which is what’s on right now in the background as I write this).
- 7:01 p.m. — Ryan Newman won the flippin’ race. I wanted Jeff Burton to win; he’s one of the deep, deep ‘good guys’ in NASCAR that I can actually stand. He’s a good feller (first and last time I’ll use the informal word ‘feller’ on TSTOS).
I’m actually happy for Newman. Though I wanted Burton to win, Newman finally got his big break here. He’s suffered several tough losses over the past few years, and for all that adversity to be tantalizing him, he’s finally climbed over it and has grabbed the first race that holds the most significance of any other. Nice way to snap a treacherous 81-race skid.
Above and beyond all things, the boy wonder Dale Earnhardt, Jr., also known as the freakin’ Randy Moss of NASCAR, finished 9th. All I heard all race, as a commenter posted on my blog in the ever-so-unfamous “Dale Jr. is the Randy Moss of NASCAR” post, “Dale Jr. this,” “Dale Jr. that.” Some guy actually e-mailed me last week and said, “Troy, you’re just jealous of Dale Jr.” To that reader, I say (just on here aloud), “Reader, you’re just jealous of my ability to spew hatred towards Dale Jr. Get over it, man!”
Now, it’s well documented on here that I think Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is one of the biggest whiners in all of sports. Dallas Cowboys faithfuls have been going nuts, from the forum Cowboys Pride (a great forum with an even greater community to discuss not only the football team noted in the name, but to discuss football all around the NFL; click here or take a look at my links), over Roy Williams’ comments on a coach leaving to another team. That compares nothing to the excessive whining from Dale Jr. over the past two years, and now, today.
During a post race interview (yes, I stuck around to listen), Dale Jr. said, frustrated, “Nobody wanted to help. I guess I wasn’t helping either.” Jeez, Dale, your teammates are two (of three) of the best drivers in NASCAR and you can’t help but blame them for finishing ‘only’ in the top 10 in the race that your father won at 10 years ago?
It’s going to be an interesting stretch of races this year, especially to see how well Junior reacts the rest of way. If he starts winning, Lord help us with his blatant love spread all over [Jeff] Gordon and [Jimmie] Johnson. If he goes on a long, long streak of finishing behind the top 20, then Junior fans that are still sticking with the guy, take solace in the fact that at least his team is still Hendrick Motorsports, I guess. What else are you supposed to do?