Won't ever let up, hope it annoys you
Join the pack feel the crack
Well now you're here, there's no way back!
Hello, everyone, and welcome to the Rev Up. This week's column comes to you directly from the Sprint Cup coach lot in Bristol, Tennessee. It's been a long time since I've brought any "NASCRAP" your way. That said, it’s time to call down the thunder. Yes, this is a motocross column on a motocross website, but for the past six years, every Thursday [… or Friday!], this spot on the World Wide Web has belonged to me. (Thanks to DC, and One Industries.)
So, here I sit in Thunder Valley. Right now I'm watching a TiVo rendition of my brother hanging out with the leader of the free world at the White House. Yeah, he was there yesterday chillin' with Barack Obama. How 'bout them apples? Do you have any idea how heavy that is? It's full blown Defcon 5 ridiculous. That said, Clint isn't the type of guy that really follows world history or politics at all. He's simple, but very, very, centered. That, ahem, has worked out pretty well for him.
It's heavy right now. Super heavy. We're sitting 58 points shy of making The Chase to the Sprint Cup. How important is it to make it in? Well, the reason Clint became the first person from Emporia, Kansas to see "The Lincoln Room" was because he's been in the dirty dozen the past two years. In addition, he is the only driver other than 3-time defending champion, Jimmie Johnson, to place in the top five two years consecutively. He is also the defending Nationwide Series champion. I can say with no ego that the kid is a wheelman.
To give you a little perspective; Clint was second in points after the first six races of the year. Heading into Talladega he held the longest streak with no DNFs in modern NASCAR history. Nine laps into that race he got caught up in "The Big One" and suffered the hardest crash of his career. That's what happens in this sport. The following week he crashed again, almost as hard, at Darlington. He had a top-five car in each of those races, but left over 200 points on the table and fell to 17th in points. Way, way, out of The Chase.
He's rallied back to tally four top ten finishes in the last five races and we can now see the old man holding the light at the end of the tunnel.
Speaking of tunnels... Let me break Bristol Motor Speedway down to you...
You guys have long known that this column is over the top and I can be a little, um, passionate. I wear my heart on my sleeve and that is just the way it is. Hey, events and situations are powerful to me. I like to take things in and feel the energy of a venue and the crowd that surrounds it. My friends, there is no place on earth that emits the "Gladiator" vibe like the night race at Bristol. The only way to make it to the infield is through a long, dark, tunnel. The "moment" is about 45 minutes before the green flag. You walk through that tunnel with your shoulders back and when you come out on the other side you can turn around and see six-stories of metal bleachers holding 160,000 people. I go "arms up" every time, no matter who or what's around me.
What does this have to do with motocross? Everything, my friends. Everything. In the beginning, it was a Jayco motorhome pulling a trailer with 8 mini bikes for Casey, Clint, and I. Pretty much all of the hallmark moments in our motocross endeavors occured right here in Tennessee. The sticky sweat of Loretta Lynn's helped mold most of the "good" things in the Bowyer family's racing tenure. Past, present, and future.
Make no mistake, I'll be watching every lap of Budds Creek on the internet Saturday afternoon. Only after that race is over and the sun begins to fade and the people begin to fill the grand stands will I make my way to the tunnel. I want you guys to come walk behind me through that tunnel. I run the iPod at all times. You guys know how a song gets old after you hear it over and over? Let time roll by and go back to it and somehow that song will deliver like it never did before. I hadn't heard "Metal Health" since I was a kid, but I saw The Wrestler a while ago and shortly thereafter I was hitting up iTunes for the download. That's what I'm taking around with me Saturday night.
I'm not going to apologize for going NASCAR on you here, but I promise next week will be 100% moto. Send me an e-mail at email@example.com if you like or hate this week's column.
For this one time I'm sending out the war cry for some help for the #33. Bristol is gnarly. It's "The World's Fastest Half Mile." Forty-three drivers will be posting 14 second laptimes around the bullring and it's O.T.S.S. baby. 500 laps.