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The latest edition of NASCAR All-Star weekend offered a grand celebration of roots racing at North Wilkesboro Speedway.
In addition to a sold-out house of 30,000, the event attracted a large collection of NASCAR heroes and history buffs to rural Wilkes County, North Carolina.
The sweeping facility renovations orchestrated by Speedway Motorsports guru and Sullivan Central High School graduate Steve Swift were impressive.
After many years of neglect, NASCAR fans in the mountains of North Carolina, Tennessee and Virginia were finally rewarded for their efforts to build the sport.
There was only one element missing in Sunday’s 200-lap main event and it was a big one.
As his competitors struggled to adjust to the single-groove racing surface, Kyle Larson controlled 145 laps and was never really challenged over the final 96 circuits on the five-eighths-mile oval. There was just one pass for the lead.
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While it’s fascinating to study Larson’s uncanny race craft, his latest conquest did not exactly make for compelling viewing.
We’ve seen this show before.
Flash back to the 2020 All-Star Race at Bristol Motor Speedway.
Following weeks of hype and hopes from fans eager for more action, the Bristol showcase generated few passes and only small doses of drama.
The All-Star snoozer at Texas Motor Speedway in 2021 was downright painful.
Countless ideas have been proposed to spice up NASCAR’s version of the all-star game. But with no championship points on the line, how much incentive do drivers and teams really have force the issue in an exhibition?
This All-Star dilemma also leads to frustration in stick and ball sports such as the NBA and the NFL. Where is the incentive from the leaders of the sport and where is the extra effort from the competitors?
The return to North Wilkesboro was a fun and vital history lesson. We just need more action, please.
Pit Stops: Sportsman competitor Eric Colley from Bristol was among the winners in last week’s DER Bracket Series event at Bristol Dragway. The list of victors also included Ryan Vestal (Bristol) in Trophy, Harry Eleas (Bristol) in Pro, Jerry Turner (Bluff City) in Motorcycle and Scotty Johnson (Roan Mountain) in the elite Super Pro class. Another DER event is scheduled for this weekend at Bristol Dragway…Kingsport’s Derek Lane earned his first Late Model Sportsman victory of the season Friday at Kingsport Speedway. Alex Miller finished second, with Jacob York, Keith Helton and 75-year-old NASCAR veteran Brad Teague next in line. Abingdon’s Kevin Canter swept the two Mod 4 events, while Jamie Meadows (Wise) in Street Stock, Brandon Sutherland (Johnson City) in Pure 4 and Joshua Collins in Beginner Front Wheel Drive also posted wins. The next race at Kingsport is June 2, with a NASCAR Weekly Racing Series program following on June 3 at Lonesome Pine Motorsports Park in Coeburn…One of the biggest programs of the season at Wythe Raceway is set for this Sunday night. The fifth annual Food Country Mayhem in the Mountains card will feature a $5,000-to-win race with the American All-Star Late Models. There will be action in five other categories.