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Dustin Off the Next Race: Xfinity 500

Gut check time, a term that often can be associated with football.  Back against the wall, knowing there’s not much time left, and knowing that it is time to let loose.  It’s the two-minute warning, and the only way to win is to get across the goal line.

NASCAR has that in it’s own way.

The scene…Martinsville.  The goal line, the stripe after lap 500.  For some, the absolute only way to have a shot at their ultimate prize is to cross that line before anyone else.  Back against the wall, no other options, do whatever is necessary to make that hope a reality.

We’ve seen drivers throw down the gauntlet on themselves before, even just last year.

A dump on the final lap, the final corner could’ve meant the top three guys on the season were going to compete for a championship.  Instead, one found themselves on the outside looking in and realized the quest for a title had come to an end.  Another’s dream became a reality because they were that one that also needed to get across the line to ensure an opportunity.

Gut check time has a different meaning in NASCAR, especially when it happens on a short track.

To have the final race before the championship happen at such an iconic track, a place where so many gut check moments have occurred is almost poetic.  Look at all the iconic gut check moments that Martinsville has given us over the years, like Joey Logano getting dumped from a gut check move off Matt Kenseth’s bumper, or the gut check from Dale Jr. in 2004 that told the field, “I won’t win a title, but I will be taking home that clock.”

And then, there’s Ricky Rudd in 1998 when the ultimate gut check came courtesy of his own will, winning a race with no cool box on an unbearable hot day, with burns all over his body, and being pulled from the car just to get cooled off and an IV inserted.  The Rooster certainly got cooked that day, but he gut checked the entire field, and the entire crowd, since they weren’t aware of what he was dealing with until he’s leading and there’s a chance he actually will pull this off.

Martinsville is known for close racing, intensity, animosity, and hot dogs.  Now, this race is the gut check for those in their quest for a championship.

Dust off those brakes, and grip the steering wheel as tight as possible, because NASCAR’s gut check happens now, as the season draws closer to a conclusion.

About Dustin Parks

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