CONCORD, N.C. – The Memorial Day race weekend has come and gone. All that’s left are the memories of glory and heartbreak.
Here are a few thoughts and observations from the past few weeks of racing:
• It has been a long time since the NASCAR Sprint All-Star race has produced a thrilling and entertaining finish. We were sitting in the Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Center and we couldn’t recall a recent All-Star Race that was truly worth watching.
Perhaps it’s time for the race to move to a new venue. Obviously, the staff of Charlotte Motor Speedway doesn’t want that to happen, but it might be the perfect thing to revitalize what has become a stagnant and dull event.
• We were in attendance for the return of racing to the Concord (N.C.) Speedway half-mile tri-oval on Friday night and the action was as intense as ever. Zane Smith (PASS South) and Burt Myers (KOMA Modifieds) were the big winners in front of a solid crowd. The parking lot was fairly full — a good sign for the first event at the track in more than a year.
• It was also announced that the North-South Shootout, a popular event that features the annual John Blewett III Memorial for tour-type modifieds and a PASS South late model event, will return to Concord Speedway in November. Concord hosted the North-South Shootout from 2003 through 2010. The event moved to Caraway Speedway in Asheboro, N.C., from 2011 to 2014. The 2015 edition is scheduled for Nov. 6-7.
• We noticed a rather disappointing statistic last weekend. During the three events held at Lucas Oil Raceway in Clermont, Ind., as part of the Day Before the 500, there were zero lead changes. The program featured the USF2000 Championship Series, the Pro Mazda Championship and the USAC Silver Crown Series.
• Who thought Lewis Hamilton pitting that late in Sunday’s Monaco Grand Prix was such a good idea? Clearly a mistake was made. Losing the biggest Formula One race of the season because of a botched pit call must be a difficult pill to swallow.
• After yet another dramatic finish to the Indianapolis 500 at Indianapolis Motor Speedway, is there really any doubt that the Indianapolis 500 truly is “The Greatest Spectacle in Racing?”
• If someone had told us five years ago that Juan Pablo Montoya would return to the Indianapolis 500 and win the race a second time, we likely would have thought that individual had just escaped from the funny farm. Much to our surprise, Montoya has become a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner after making what is arguably one of the greatest charges through the field that we’ve ever seen.
• The gang at Toyota Racing Development has stepped up its game in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. After struggling through the early part of the season, Toyota has three Sprint Cup victories as well as a victory in the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race.
With that said, Chevrolet still appears to have the edge when it comes to horsepower. Martin Truex Jr. had the dominant car throughout the Coca-Cola 600 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, but fuel strategy bit him and he finished fifth. A victory is coming for Truex and Furniture Row Racing, the question is when will it come?