Saturday, April 12, 2014

Three observations from Saturday night's race at Darlington

   Observations from Saturday night's Southern 500:

    -- Congratulations to new Darlington Raceway President Chip Wile. I was among many who were skeptical of the change of Darlington’s race day this season, which coincided with the Master’s and spring football games at South Carolina and Clemson. Thanks to the work of Wile and his staff, Saturday night’s crowd was near capacity. It was a perfect weekend of racing – from the weather down to the action on the track both Friday and Saturday nights. Well done.

   -- A lot was made of the struggles in recent weeks by Kevin Harvick and  his No. 4 Stewart-Haas Racing team but any concern that the team would not be able to make the Chase was vastly unfounded. It remains highly improbable there will be 16 different race winners in the first 26 races – Harvick’s win Saturday night is first sign that idea has been wishful thinking at best. The one constant each week by the teams who end up winning multiple times a season is being consistently fast and there are several viable candidates remaining besides Harvick’s team.
   -- Speaking of consistently fast, Dale Earnhardt Jr. already has a win and has now finished third or higher in five of eight races this season. Earnhardt and his No. 88 Hendrick Motorsports team are primed to join Harvick as multiple-time winners this season.