Friday, April 19, 2013

Triumph Within Tragedy: Five Questions before Kansas

Photo by Geoff Burke/Getty Images for NASCAR

Kansas is in the Heartland of the United States, that center strip that links the east to the west. It laces each and every grassland, field, river, and cityscape together to paint the glimmering and stunning portrait of our country. We are free and beautiful.

Unfortunately, there are some who want to steal that freedom from innocent citizens. Those people are the ones who taint the beauty, make the color drain. They ruin it.

This is a week where you regret placing faith in humanity. You cry yourself to sleep because of how tragic and unfair things can be. You question why such altering, wretched events happen. Sadly, there will never be a clear-cut answer for that question. There will never be fairness within the world.

There will never be a perfect society.

All that we can do to change the world is make a change within ourselves. Smile at strangers. Ask how they’re doing. Pay for their meal. Whether you realize it or not, everyone has demons; doing simple tasks speak the words they need to hear to prevent themselves from going over the edge. In a culture that is self-centered, we forget how easily we impose pain and suffering on others by blowing them off or just shoving them as they walk past. We must take care of each other, as we are all family.

That’s why NASCAR is so moving. When one driver falls to an injury or illness, the rest stand up and support them. Though it may be a simple tweet, or it may be a decal on the car, drivers watch out for their competitors, their brothers.

You don’t find that in every sport. It’s a reason why our NASCAR family is strong.

This weekend, in the Heartland, cars will be lining up on the grid, getting ready to do battle. Their vehicles will dawn special stickers to pay tribute to those killed and injured in the Boston Marathon bombings.

And then, there will be a moment of silence. A moment of silence where we will hear the country tying itself back together with red, white, and blue strings, becoming the portrait we all admire.

Kansas is in the sights of 43 drivers with one goal in mind: to win. I pose five questions to the wind, to the track, and to the fans.

How will Brad Keselowski fare with NASCAR breathing down his back? After the infractions found on Keselowski and teammate Joey Logano’s cars, there is heat creeping up their necks. The main concern is if our champion will let it affect his driving. The answer? FAT CHANCE. Our favorite loudmouth won’t slow down or shut up for anybody, even the higher-ups.

Why exactly is the No. 30 truck not racing Saturday? Last weekend, Kyle Larson showed everyone what was up by practically dominating Rockingham in the No. 30. However, it isn’t on the entry list, which put it in jeopardy for not being locked in for that Eldora race Larson wants to run. It’s highly doubtful Larson wouldn't qualify on time for that event, but heads are being scratched everywhere. The best bet is funding, yet no one really knows for sure.

Can Roush-Fenway recapture their Kansas magic? Back in the day, the Roush cars dominated this mile-and-a-half track, yet that is a long gone memory. From the looks of Greg Biffle, Carl Edwards, and Ricky Stenhouse Jr., there may be hope for that Kansas trophy to end up in the headquarters’ confines once again. It won’t be an easy feat, but it can be done.

Does Aric Almirola break through? Almirola has been gleaming with so much potential since Daytona, and there is a feeling over built-up tension around him. He’s ready to bloom. Is Kansas the place to do it? It could be; he needs to blossom before all that momentum fades away and give bossman Richard Petty something to smile about.

Clint Bowyer’s time to shine? Another driver fixing to win is hometown boy Bowyer. Though the Michael Waltrip Racing cars will all do well this weekend, Bowyer is the one that sticks out in people’s minds. Why? Because he’s a true threat to win this year’s championship. Kansas Clint is tired of laying back and wants to be in the spotlight, of course. If he wins as the stars say he will, then he’ll get that much-deserved attention.

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