GLADEVILLE, Tenn. – Thoughts, observations and some questions following the Pepsi 300 at Nashville Superspeedway:
I suppose having only eight Cup regulars in the field wasn't enough star power to fill the grandstands at Nashville for this stand-alone event. They were embarrassingly empty in spots. I understand that it is a holiday weekend, but for local race fans, this was a great opportunity to see Cup stars up close and personal.
Wasn't it embarrassing to watch Erin Crocker wreck – again?
There were some great battles in this race – Harvick vs. Denny Hamlin, early in the race and then teammates J.J. Yeley vs. Hamlin in the waning laps. At that's not all there were. Busch Series racing is every bit as exciting as Cup racing.
Harvick's lead of 156 points is remarkable this early in the season. If he keeps this pace, he'll capture the title in September. Of course, Edwards might have something to say about it. With Edwards' Cup season in shambles, his focus has to be on winning the Busch title he let slip away last year.
The television coverage was pretty pathetic. Again, with it being a holiday weekend, Fox must have dropped this event down on its priority list. The obviously rookie director and producer damaged the great job that regulars Steve Byrnes, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond were attempting to do.
The entire television broadcast looked as though Fox was doing this one on the cheap – very few replays, no pit reporter other than Hammond and no customary postwreck interviews. I would have liked to hear what Crocker, Kyle Busch and David Green had to say after their wrecks.
Speaking of former Busch champion Green, it seems to me as though this season he's become the Busch Series equivalent of Joe Nemechek on the Cup side. Both drivers can't buy a break and always seem to be getting caught up in someone else's problem.
I wonder what Jim Kelly and Terry Bradshaw must think when they look at their success in the Busch Series and then compare it to the early success of the Troy Aikman/Roger Staubach Hall of Fame team on the Cup side? Kelly deserves to be involved with a better deal.
This race has, without a doubt, the coolest winner's trophy in all of NASCAR racing – a Gibson guitar.
During one of her pit stops, after the pit crew had finished putting on right-side tires, Crocker rolled her Dodge forward a foot or two in the pit stall before the team had a chance to put on the left sides. Oops!
By the way, Crocker finished 14th in the ARCA race earlier in the day. Rusty Wallace's son Steven won the pole in the same race.
Clint Bowyer did a remarkable job coming from 31st place, nearly two laps down, to nearly winning the race following a troublesome pit stop early on. His postrace show of emotions was typical of a Childress driver.
Richard Childress knows he has a potential champion in his stables with Bowyer and he's clearly banking his future on the young man from Emporia, Kansas.
Every week, I go back and forth on whether I like seeing large numbers of Cup drivers (sometimes up to 24) racing in the Busch Series. Maybe one way to look at it is from the perspective of USAC (United States Auto Club) racing.
In that long-standing, open-wheel racing series, drivers of all levels of experience compete in all different kinds of cars, quarter-midgets, midgets, sprints and Silver Crown cars.
So, in the Busch Series, it's not the driver's level of experience you need to look at, but it's their skill at performing in different kinds of racing vehicles.
OK, I think I get it now, Joe!
(The Joe I'm talking about is Joe Balash, the director of competition for the Busch Series who has been trying to get me to understand the positive side of having all the Buschwackers in the Series.)