2011 Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway Analysis

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I was very disappointed that I missed seeing the Showtime Southern 500 at Darlington Raceway in person for the first time since moving to North Carolina back in 2008. Saturday’s race had a little bit of everything.

First off, congratulations to Furniture Row Racing driver Regan Smith, who held off Carl Edwards and his fresh tires for a thrilling Green-White-Checkered finish. Smith even clapped the wall on the final lap, but he was able to keep his car in front of the Sprint Cup Series leader for his first career win among the big boys. It was the equivalent of Appalachian State upsetting Michigan in college football, or Buster Douglas slaying Mike Tyson. Generally, we only see wins from teams like Joe Gibbs Racings, Hendrick Motorsports, Roush Fenway Racing, Richard Childress Racing, etc.

That wasn’t the big story, though. Clint Bowyer, Kyle Busch and Kevin Harvick were jostling for sixth place around Turn 4, when Bowyer clipped Harvick and was sent careening into the wall. What happened next depends on whether you’re a fan of “Cryle” or not. It certainly looked like Busch turned into Harvick and continued to finish off the driver, who was struggling to pull out of a spin. That led to more fireworks later.

After the checkers dropped, Busch and Harvick missed Pit Road and were inches apart, having to turn around to get back to the garage. Harvick managed to get in front of Busch, slowing down to a standstill. He removed his steering wheel and tried to take a swipe at Busch, who gunned his car, clipping the rear bumper of Harvick’s ride, sending it careening into the Pit Road wall! It was unbelieveable! I haven’t hooted and hollered like that in a while, laughing the whole time.

This made the little altercation between Juan Pablo Montoya and Ryan Newman at Richmond look like a sissy slap fight. This was good stuff, perhaps better than what most witnessed during the Sugar Shane Mosley-Manny Pacquiao fight, from what I hear.

I love it, because I think Busch is a punk. While he is immensely talented, and appears to have been maturing on the race track of late, he showed leopards rarely change their spots. And Harvick isn’t a choir boy either. Just ask Joey Logano, after their war of words stemming from an incident at Pocono last season. But I have to say, seeing Harvick’s Cheshire cat grin after emerging from a scolding from the NASCAR brass, I have a newfound respect for him. I don’t think we’ve seen the end of this feud.

I can’t wait for Dover next week. Harvick has traditionally struggled at the concrete 1-mile oval known as the “Monster Mile.” Conversely, Busch has two wins, six Top 5s and seven Top 10s in 14 career starts at Dover. If Harvick struggles and Busch is doing well, might the No. 29 dole out some additional payback? You’ll have to tune in next Sunday. I certainly hope we see more action. NASCAR needs to get rid of the nancy boys and clean image and get back to more contact and feuding.

Over the past 12 years, Daniel Dobish has written for CBSSports.com, OPENSports.com, RotoExperts.com and several other prestigious sports and fantasy sports websites and magazines. Originally from Cleveland, Dan now lives in the Raleigh, N.C. area with his wife and two sons. You may contact Dan @ danieledobish@rotoexperts.com or follow him on Twitter @danieledobish


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