Suspense is an important player in any sport you witness. Whether it’s a buzz-beating three-pointer at the end of the fourth quarter, or the final set in a tennis match, everyone’s stomach falls into their feet when it comes down to the ultimate moments.
In NASCAR, that ultimate moment is a game of cat and mouse between a young rookie and a Cup driver. It’s also when a caution flies with two to go.
This picture was painted at Rockingham Speedway Sunday afternoon, where Kyle Larson was commanding the majority of the NCWTS race in his fifth series start. As the laps began to wind down, Joey Logano was coming, sliding past Johnny Sauter for second with nearly ten cycles to go. The distance was narrowing, the trucks coming closer and closer. Throats and guts everywhere tightened as the dance between the two sped up. Who was going to get this win?
Two laps to go. That’s when the caution flew for a wreck behind the pair. As if that wasn’t enough cause for shock, word of Bubba Wallace Jr. hitting the wall after the caution was shown. A video replay revealed that Truck series veteran Ron Hornaday intentionally spun Wallace right into the wall. Hornaday was sent to the tail end of the longest line, making him lose only four spots in retrospect.
Though fans were frustrated with how that issue was treated, more important situations needed attention, like the final restart between Larson and Logano.
It was simple: Larson got a great restart, not even thinking about playing defense on the Cup driver. After he got that jump, it was over, and Kyle Larson earned his first Truck win at the same track where he claimed last year’s K&N Pro Series East championship.
To be quite honest, I dislike when Cup drivers dive into the lower series, yet today was a reason to enjoy such moments; it was a different sort of pressure that helped Larson adjust and react and grow. Maybe this race has helped change my mind. Who knows.
After the race ended, Hornaday was called into the NASCAR hauler to talk with Director Chad Little for his actions on-track. SPEED caught up with him, and he claimed it was payback for how Wallace raced him right before the caution.
No matter how the other driver raced you, there is no reason to wreck someone with the caution out. Never. Remember Texas a few years back when Hornaday was in Bubba’s position, with Kyle Busch the antagonist? NASCAR should park him next week. That dangerous behavior cannot be tolerated.
Rockingham, a track from Cup series past, is a fan favorite because of its underdog story and remarkable comeback. Today, it proved that it is worthy of a NNS or Cup date, providing a great finish and actual racing.
Only time will tell if we will see another cat and mouse game play out between upper-level drivers, yet this Truck series’ fire and hunger is just fine with me.