Wednesday, May 27, 2015

Flags and Fireworks and Uniforms



Memorial Day always presents a conflict for people like me who love soldiers and hate war. Well, I suppose most people would say that's how they feel but face it, America is a war-like country. We are ready to send our planes and ships and tanks and children into battle at the drop of a hat. At events like the Coca-cola 600, we thrill to all the uniforms and flags and fireworks. We honor the soldiers who died...a name of one of the fallen on each car on the track but, I think, without giving sufficient thought to whether the asking of that sacrifice was for a necessary and good cause. I am a product of Vietnam where my husband was a combat medic. That war continues to color my thinking when I see America's military still dying in foreign lands. We always want to save the world. The outcome of war is almost never what we hoped it would be.....but still we try.

Oh, well, enough philosophizing. What about the race? It was one of those middle races - not great, not terrible. One of the best things about it was seeing Kyle Busch perform so well after being out of the car the whole first part of the season. He finished 11th but often ran closer to the front. I'd call the result a triumph for him. I still have my doubts about whether he'll make the Chase although I hope he does. In order to get in the top 30 in points, he can't afford to have even one mulligan and that's hard to do.

A mulligan, for instance, like the 48 car had this week. Almost spinning out in the early part of the race and then getting the job done a little later. Thankfully, Jimmie is safely in the Chase so its no big worry although I expect they still hated it.

My heart broke a little for Martin Truex, Jr. It seems like every race, he comes oh-so-close to the win, leading laps and looking so strong and then somehow, in the end, he's tripped up by the strategy playing out the wrong way. Racing isn't personal. It doesn't really care who "deserves' to win but people do and I badly want to see him in Victory Lane.

The honors continue to stack up for Jeff Gordon. This week it was driving the pace car for the Indianapolis 500. Jeff's final year will be one to look back on with extreme pride for the rest of his life - a testament to the respect and admiration both his sport and his fans have for him.

Speaking of the 500, I was rooting for Juan Pablo. He wasn't the most popular guy in NASCAR but still, now that he's gone back to Indy cars, I see him as one of "ours" and that puts me on his side.

I'm sure Carl felt a huge surge of relief at the end of the 600. I think he put a lot of pressure on himself to prove to JGR that they were right to bring him into their fold. Now maybe he can relax a little and that may bring him more consistent results. Trying too hard can be a detriment, whatever it is you're trying to accomplish.

Austen Dillon dominated the Xfinity race and that's all I have to say about that.

I love seeing all the NASCAR kids in the pre-race ceremonies. Drivers have been on a roll in the last few years having babies. Now we'll get to add two more - Brexton Busch and Brad Keselowski's daughter (we haven't heard her name yet, have we?)

For all the celebration of soldiers we do in NASCAR, I bet none of the racing kids end up in the military....and that says something about our attitude about shared sacrifice.

Sorry, I'll try to be in a more upbeat mood next week after Dover.