OBSERVATIONS: 200 at Darlington Raceway

By: Ashley McCubbin

It seemed Kyle Busch Motorsports would be heading to victory lane for the sixth week in a row, until everything became undone in the matter of a single restart. 18 wrecked trucks on the front straightaway at Darlington Raceway, new faces emerged at the front to battle it out.

A combination of lack of grip and aggressive driving resulted in restarts being messy throughout the night, but ultimately 30 laps to go seen everything come undone. KBM had played their cards perfectly, taking up three spots within the top-four with John Hunter Nemechek leading Corey Heim. Though when both spun their tires, shoves from behind got them sideways, into each other, and sideways ahead of two lines of traffic.

Without the incident, Nemechek appeared to have the dominant truck, able to drive away from the field once he got rolling and manage a gap without overcooking his equipment as displayed in winning stage two. Even if the No. 4 began to fall off a little, Heim was there to capitalize as he had continued to find more speed with more experience – in just first series start.

Heim has proven his talent, as evident by winning two of the first four ARCA Menards Series races in 2021. However, driving for Venturini Motorsports in a division that is struggling to put 10 competitive cars on track for one intermediate event is not always the best garage. Though utilizing his super late model experience from tracks like Winchester Speedway, the 18-year-old is the real deal and will be fun to watch in the years ahead.

With the pair out of the equation tonight, though, Sheldon Creed was able to capitalize. He got threw the incident without damage, and took a truck that showed speed in the top-five prior to victory lane. His all-out style allotted him ability to get the jump on the field and ride the top, and could give him much needed momentum after seeing him struggle to start off 2021.

Caution laps probably frustrated the fans more than the restarts, as the sanctioning body dropped the ball big time. An accident that happened with 30 to go spending 12 circuits under caution is a blatant disrespect display in wasting laps away, taking away from possible excitement. It is only made worse when NASCAR flew a red flag initially, withdrew it, and then wasted another eight laps away.

It only got worse when they followed the same protocol following the next yellow flag, despite getting right near the end of the event. Rather than going green with five to go, another three circuits wasted to go green with just two remaining.

Ultimately, though, it’s not a one-time thing by the sanctioning body either, as evident with the NASCAR Cup Series at Kansas Speedway last week, too. It makes you wonder if this continues whether they need to instill not counting caution laps in the final 10, perhaps 20 circuits to ensure a fair finish for the fans.

The only thing that made it worse was their response to Parker Klingerman’s wrecked truck. As a fire raged underneath the hood, the safety workers just walked over casually, only acting as they should have been upon the driver’s request. Again., a repeat occurrence – just ask Daniel Suarez what happened at Martinsville Speedway.

If you take out these issues, the truck series still shows the potential we have seen to make it great with a lot of young budding talent, and aggressive nature to keep you tuned in. However, slightly toning it down may be necessary as unnecessary carnage is not good for a series, either.

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