Sunday, May 10, 2009

Driving to the midnight hour

Is the Southern 500 over yet? I love Darlington, as most fans do, but NASCAR needs to start these night races sooner. The race didn’t get over until 11:30 p.m., meaning Mark Martin’s victory lane celebration was seen only by diehard fans and insomniacs. Sure, there were countless spins and crashes, bringing out nearly 20 caution flags, but that should be expected at Darlington. If NASCAR wants to run 500-mile races, then let’s start ‘em at a reasonable time. How about noon?

The fallout continues from Jeremy Mayfield’s positive drug test last weekend at Richmond, Va. He’s claiming a bad mixture of prescription and over-the-counter drugs caused the bad test and he plans to appeal the results. Isn’t that always the excuse for drug cheats? Dodgers outfielder Manny Ramirez claimed he failed his test because of a drug he was taking to enhance sexual arousal. If a 36-year-old man needs that, then he’s got bigger issues than a 50-game suspension from baseball. We’ll see if Mayfield’s explanation holds more weight with NASCAR, but it’s more than likely his mildly successful career is finished.

Hendrick Motorsports had four cars in the Top-10 at Darlington, and Dale Earnhardt Jr. wasn’t one of them. If rookie Brad Keselowski can wiggle his way into a seventh place finish at such a difficult track, then so should Lil’ E. Sadly, it’s looking more like Dale Jr. should be handing the keys over to Keselowski. Both have the same number of Cup wins over the past three years.

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