Cagle: The best race day of the year


By Andy Cagle - Racing Columnist



Cagle


Random thoughts from the greatest race day of the year.

I mean, for my money it just doesn’t get better than the Monaco Grand Prix, the Indianapolis 500 and the Coca-Cola 600 all in one day.

Usually when a driver leads 98 percent of the laps in a race (not a normal occurrence), I’m not a happy camper. But I wasn’t mad at Martin Truex Jr.’s downright dominant performance in the Coca-Cola 600.

The single-car team driver has been more than snake bitten in 2016, leading a bunch of laps only to see several races slip away in the late going. If anyone deserved to stink up a show, it was Truex.

It usually takes me about a two months to get in the swing of the Major League Baseball season. For me this means checking scores and standings daily. Have to admit, I am more than pleased to see the Cubs and the Red Sox with the two best records in the league. Great World Series? Or greatest World Series ever?

Rolling Stones guitarist Ronnie Wood and his wife just had a set of twins. Ronnie is 68. Let that sink in for a minute.

Show of hands: if I had told you that a rookie driving a car sponsored by NAPA would win a big race on Memorial Day weekend, who would have been ready to congratulate Chase Elliott? I would have for sure. The kid is pretty good. I would have been wrong. That honor went to IndyCar rookie Alexander Rossi who won the Indy 500. Another show of hands: who had heard of Alexander Rossi before Sunday or before reading his name a few lines ago?

I saw something I have never seen in all my years of watching Formula1 racing on Sunday in the Monaco Grand Prix. In NASCAR, you see a lot of races won — and lost — in the pits. It doesn’t exactly happen in F1, where pit stops usually last around two seconds. I was quite incredulous when I saw Daniel Ricciardo’s team not have his tyres (see what I did there?) ready when the Australian driver pitted from the lead. The Red Bull team principal said that the calamity was the result of a cramped garage and the fact that the garage was downstairs from the pits (what?). I have worked with some small race teams in my career and if a NASCAR Camping World Truck Series team can have tires ready when their driver pits, a team with a $400 million-plus budget should be able to get it together. Ricciardo lost the lead to Lewis Hamilton as a result of the stop and never regained it.

I like Kevin Durant and Russell Westbrook. I really do. But how do you blow two leads like that to lose a series that you had in hand a week ago? The Warriors head to the finals and Durant heads to free agency. Not good if you live in Oklahoma. Probably pretty good if you are from Seattle.

I am overjoyed that Benny Parsons is heading to the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Great guy and a great local story. I have had the opportunity to work with his sons Kevin and Keith and couldn’t be happier for them. Benny’s contributions to NASCAR are definitely hall worthy and I am glad the selection committee agreed.

Up next for the Hall: Smokey Yunick and Alan Kulwicki. Get it right, people.

Better than Game of Thrones? Theories about what comes next on Game of Thrones.

I really like what NASAR did with the names on the windshields for the 600. If you missed it, missing were the drivers’ names. In their stead were the names of men and women of the U.S. Armed Forces who lost their lives in defense of our great nation. Fitting tribute to those heroes.

I have two kids. When the time comes, they can go to whatever college they can get into. Except Baylor. Never Baylor.

Steven Soderbergh is making a NASCAR-related heist movie. They did some filming last weekend at Charlotte. Unless it’s called Oceans 3: For Dale, I’m not interested.

Cagle
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By Andy Cagle

Racing Columnist

Andy Cagle writes a weekly NASCAR column. Follow him on Twitter @Andy_Cagle.

Andy Cagle writes a weekly NASCAR column. Follow him on Twitter @Andy_Cagle.

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