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MARGOLIS: Observations, Sonoma

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  • Kyle Busch scores his first win of the season and its a very popular one for both the fans and the media. NASCAR’s one-time bad boy has mellowed, married and moved on to respectability.
  • The Sprint Cup Series sorely missed its most exciting driver while he recovered from a horrific wreck that — had it happened pre-2001— might have ended his life. His close call with death at Daytona hasn’t slowed him down nor dampened his enthusiasm for racing. At 30 years old, Busch is still young enough to win a few championships before hanging up his driving gloves. The past six months has surely injected some urgency into doing just that. Welcome back, Kyle.
  • Hard to believe it took all this time for the Busch brothers had finished 1-2 in a Cup race.
  • Older brother Kurt’s brilliant performance should have convinced even the toughest of naysayers that he’s a real threat to win the championship.
  • And while his third place helped put two Toyotas in the top five at the finish, next week Clint Bowyer will return to mediocrity and continue to wonder when (and why) things went south.
  • Place a truly talented driver in the seat of the No. 55 (Larson, Harvick, Kenseth, McMurray…the list goes on) in place of David Ragan, who is driving the MWR Toyota, and then imagine that driver taking out two better cars at the same exact spot like Ragan did. I just wouldn’t happen. Carl Edwards was gracious enough to say he may have caused his wreck with Ragan, but Martin Truex Jr. made it clear who was at fault when Ragan put him into the tires.
  • Maybe it was the week off that did it, but there wasn’t any controversy or inspection issues this week. Remember when Chad Knaus brought a tricked out 48 car to Sonoma a few years ago?
  • I wish Boris Said had been given a better car this weekend. He’s always fun to watch on the road courses and perhaps the only “road course ringer” left. I guess there might have been a few other “ringers” in the field had there not been an IMSA endurance race at Watkins Glen this weekend.
  • Current Red Bull Global Rally driver and former NASCAR and F1 driver Nelson Piquet Jr. was crowned the first Formula E champion in London this weekend, winning the title by a single point over Sebastien Buemi. I’m not so sure that Formula E will overtake Formula One in popularity by 2020 like Richard Branson so boldly predicted during the race weekend in London, but the racing is fun to watch and every race takes place in the middle of a major city around the world, including Miami and Long Beach here in the USA.
  • Was it just me or did the Fox Sports broadcast of Sunday’s race give you the impression that there were about 12-15 cars on the track? Did you remember seeing the cars of Austin Dillon or Trevor Bayne or Aric Almirola? And did their sponsors wonder where they were, too?
  • I applaud Jeff Gluck with USA Today for taking on the Confederate flag issue and then publishing some of the angry (and thoughtless) responses he received from NASCAR fans. There’s no escaping stock car racing’s southern roots and no matter how metropolitan the marketers in Daytona Beach try to make the sport and its fans, most are ultra conservative and the reaction Gluck faced when he criticized the things those fans hold as sacred was to be expected. To live in this country you have to be able to defend the rights of those whose opinion you despise and whose rhetoric might turn your stomach. Sometimes it gets pretty difficult.
  • The season should turn around for Jeff Gordon soon, I hope.

POPULAR SPEED is a Social Media driven website featuring exclusive content, photographs, news and pointed editorials. It’s makeup consists of veteran motorsports journalists as well as the unique voice of developing young talent. POPULAR SPEED was launched in 2013 under the direction of former Sprint Cup Series spotter, Mike Calinoff.


  1. Silence!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    June 29, 2015 at 9:19 AM

    The Confederate flag is not a Conservative issue. You might want to do some objective research on the subject before you run around miss labeling people.

  2. Devin McMusters

    June 29, 2015 at 10:31 AM

    I predict that for every Confederate flag that NA$CAR confiscates this weekend, three more will pop up. Racing fans aren’t very big on being pushed around and being told how to feel.

  3. Bill H

    June 29, 2015 at 10:47 AM

    About ” the impression that there were about 12-15 cars on the track” yes, I had that impression as well. It leads to silly narrative, especially after watching the commentary on the IndyCar race the day before at Fontana. The Fox crew is incessantly babbling about when the driver is braking, tire pressure, adjustments, hand position on the wheel, position on the track in turns, and endlessly telling us how perfect and flawless each driver is. The NBC crew is describing things more in terms of what is happening on the track between cars, because they have not picked out a few select cars to talk about, they are talking about the entire field.

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