Feel good stories in NASCAR this season have been just as prevalent as the unfortunate ones. At Charlotte it was Martin Truex Jr. not only winning, but after all his tough breaks he finally had his moment in the spotlight, alongside his gal Sherry following her cancer battle.
Tony Stewart overcame all his injuries to get his victory at Sonoma, giving him the opportunity to qualify for what is ultimately his final Chase.
And then there’s what happened on Sunday.
Michigan hasn’t brought about many first-time winners, with the most famous one being Dale Jarrett in 1991 after a photo finish alongside Davey Allison. However, in this case, it was two members of the youth movement in the sport, battling it out to show what the future looks like. Neither had been to victory lane, but each came close. One has a few years under his belt, the other was over halfway through a rookie season.
It took a restart, and the hope of not making any mistakes, but a young man that has gained so much appreciation and admiration from his fellow competitors, that all of them wanted to give him the praise he deserved.
Even the fans knew the moment was special, and wanted to celebrate with him.
He literally was on target, because Kyle Larson finally put the Target Chevrolet in victory lane, a moment many knew would come, but never expected to take as long as was seen. A feel-good moment that was long overdue for the No. 42 team, and the Ganassi camp.
Ironically enough, the closest any writer got to celebrating that win was coming in the runner-up spot. Still it was a very good week for everyone when the checkered flag waved. Let’s look at the updated standings after the Pure Michigan 400:
Sal Sigala Jr. (767) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 2
Ashley McCubbin (729) Kevin Harvick finished 5th – 2
Ashley Hull (693) Joey Logano finished 10th – 8
Patti Rodisch (686) Joey Logano finished 10th – 3
Rob Blount (680) Joey Logano finished 10th – 4
Dustin Parks (659) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 1
Rob Tiongson (653) Chase Elliott finished 2nd – 2
Klarissa Mitchell (628) Matt Kenseth finished 13th – 1
Misan Akuya (624) Tony Stewart finished 21st – 3
Billy Fellin (608) Joey Logano finished 10th – 2
Mary Jo Buchanan (595) Brad Keselowski finished 3rd – 3
Ashley Hobbs (582) Carl Edwards finished 7th – 2
Stephen Conley (479) NO PICK SENT – 1
Kara Martin (477) NO PICK SENT – 1
Next Race: It’s time to go old-school, to honor the past with the future of the sport. It’s a weekend that returned to much buzz one year ago, and it got a theme that stuck, and brought the fans to the track. It’s a weekend where the teams got into it beyond anything ever expected, and only grew entering the second-edition.
It’s back to one of the original tracks in the sport, one that is challenging to team, driver, and engineer. Same length straightaways, but a pinched corner, giving it the unmistakable look. But most importantly, teams are honoring the past, the names, owners, and teams that paved the way for the new generation of drivers, and cars.
The time has come to throw it back, because up next on the schedule, the next-to-last race to make the Chase, is a Labor Day weekend to dance with the “Lady in Black.” It’s time to go back to the track “Too Tough To Tame.” It’s time for the second-annual throwback weekend at Darlington.
Writers, this is a special weekend, so it will be a two-part pick for this week. Keep an eye on your emails, because your picks to win, plus the special picks for the second half of the weekend, are due by Thursday, September 1, at 10 p.m. ET for the Bojangles’ Southern 500.