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Horsepower Fantasy Racing: Picks for the Bojangles’ Southern 500

There is no question that the one thing NASCAR has wanted to try and get back to was their traditions.  Over the last few years, we’ve seen how more common start times have helped bring back fans, both in-person and via television ratings.  They have also brought back the idea of “Boys Have At It” mentality where the drivers get to police themselves, and also take care of business on the track.

But quite possibly the biggest move to bring back tradition in the sport has finally come.  Never before has the sanctioning body, the track, the teams, merchandise vendors, down to the sponsors, the decals and paint schemes felt like tradition reborn.

NASCAR decided to give back one of the most traditional weekends the sport has seen back to the original track.  The place is an oval, but not even.  Two corners are faster than the others, despite the straightaways being the same length.

There’s one preferred line, and in order to run it right, it’s a game of chicken, with a red and white wall.

After spending over a decade of running in early May, the Darlington Raceway gets back what it had for over 40 years…it’s race on Labor Day weekend.  When it was announced, Goodyear and NASCAR immediately went to work.  The tire manufacturer brought out the old white logo from the 1970’s and put it on the tires.  Nearly two-thirds of the field decided to go back in time, honoring current sponsors with classic looks, or honoring past drivers with the schemes they ran back in the day.  Crews even had custom crew attire made to replicate the old looks of some organizations.

NBC even got out the old logo for one weekend.  It truly has become a throwback or retro weekend at the “Lady in Black,” and everyone involved is taking in the incredible experience.

Yet, there is still business to attend to.  The field of writers still needs to decide who is going to tame this lady for the 2015 season.  The pool has a new name, although it is not a throwback, but the concept is still exactly the same.  It’s time to reveal who this field has elected to take the victory in NASCAR’s oldest race, the Bojangles’ Southern 500:

 

Misan Akuya:  Kurt Busch

Harvick is a little too easy.  Busch was so close in that amazing battle versus Ricky Craven in 2003.  He is gearing up for a title run and could use another win.

Rob Blount:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Mary Jo Buchanan:  Jeff Gordon

Let it be so!

Kara Martin:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Ashley McCubbin:  Kyle Busch

He’s been fast lately and he knows how to do well on a classic track, as seen before. Anybody remember the year he bounced ‘er off the wall 10 times and still won?

Klarissa Mitchell:  Jamie McMurray

No reason given.

Dustin Parks:  Kevin Harvick

I have said since the beginning of this pool, my favorite track on the circuit is Darlington.  You cannot compare it to any other speedway, because there is no track like it.  The prestige, the history, the nostalgia…it all comes back this weekend.  And plus, how can you go wrong when Harvick’s car is painted gold, just like the original Budweiser Lager.  Gold means you are the best, and I’m sticking with it.

Patti Rodisch:  Kevin Harvick

I really, really, REALLY, wanted to go with Gordon. I did, but his results don’t match how he runs.  So, Harvick it is, and honestly right now he is the best driver in the sport.

Sal Sigala Jr:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

Rob Tiongson:  Kevin Harvick

No reason given.

 

Standings after Bristol:

Misan Akuya (785) Carl Edwards finished 7th – 2

Rob Blount (782) Kyle Busch finished 8th – 2

Sal Sigala Jr. (780) Kyle Busch finished 8th – 3

Patti Rodisch (758) Kevin Harvick finished 2nd – 4

Rob Tiongson (756) Jeff Gordon finished 20th – 4

Ashley McCubbin (749) Kyle Busch finished 8th – 1

Kara Martin (741) Kyle Busch finished 8th – 2

Dustin Parks (722) Brad Keselowski finished 6th – 3

Mary Jo Buchanan (687) Jeff Gordon finished 20th – 1

Klarissa Mitchell (672) Jeff Gordon finished 20th – 0

 

Final Remarks:  Going old-school is nothing new for NASCAR, but to this level is beyond anything that could ever have been expected.  So many retro themes, from paint schemes to logos, to even the firesuits and crew gear; it is one of those weekends where it makes everyone proud to be part of this sport, whether it’s the fan that pays a ticket just for one race, all the way up to Brian France, the Chairman of this sport.

To see so many organizations decide to make this a true throwback weekend, a feeling as if the sport had gone back in time to show the new fans where the sport originated, it is a welcoming experience.

Amidst all this nostalgia that Darlington is putting on this weekend, there is still business to attend to.  There’s still a race going on, and someone is possibly going to take a spot in the Chase grid, which is getting down to the very end.  Come Sunday night, NBC will get involved in the retro weekend, but the racing will be with the modern machines.  Someone is going to say they will be Southern 500 champions.

 

Summary of Picks:

Kevin Harvick-6

Kurt Busch-1

Kyle Busch-1

Jeff Gordon-1

Jamie McMurray-1

About Dustin Parks

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