After taking a day off to recover from my Cheez-It 355 at The Glen hangover, I’m happy to report that I’m ready to start moving forward with the sports duties here at The Leader.
I will, however, take this opportunity to generate a few deserved shout-outs to bring my WGI weekend to an official close.
Here are my Top-5 shout-outs earned.
While there are 90 laps that make up the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen – let’s face it – leaving your chair for snacks or a potty break during the first 80 of them is almost acceptable.
But for the love of God – expect to be riveted to your chair for the last final 10 – especially the last three.
The 2014 edition of the race finale was another epic success story between race winner A.J. Allmendinger and second place Marcos Ambrose.
Take into consideration the multiple restarts, the points on the track that Ambrose passed Allmendinger, only to have Allmendinger battle back to the lead … Priceless.
Two thumbs up to Allmendinger and Ambrose for showing everyone that a shot in the back bumper on a curve isn’t the only way to make a pass at WGI.
Mother Nature cooperated wonderfully the entire weekend.
Drivers and crews were treated with consistent amounts of sun and temperatures, while campers were not subject to unnecessary downpours in the middle of the night.
All combined for three great days of racing activity at The Glen.
You know I’ll complain about you when you get in your moods during the high school seasons, but for now Mother Nature – well done.
With the older Chase format, sports folk could anticipate media time with roughly the top 15 drivers in the points standings each race weekend.
Due to the fact that drivers who have won races are automatically in The Chase now, media opportunities were cut dramatically.
I’m offering a tip-of-my-hat to Hendrick teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson, as well as Clint Bowyer for taking the time to answer my questions – without mandatory press conference times established.
It’s often difficult to corral a racer if you don’ t have a television camera nearby, so this was a treat.
It’s been several years since The Glen updated its Media Center.
I can recall four big lugs sitting around a 19-inch television while sitting in a trailer, as the national media sat in the non-air-conditioned press box.
In those days, it was hard to get national beat writers to not take WGI weekend off.
Now, the media center is loaded with writers, radio, bloggers and television personalities – with no complaints. Well, unless you choose to listen to complaints that the media center was "too cold."
You’ve come a long way, baby.
WGI – thanks for the hospitality.
Track workers - safety
I’m not going to lie – when Michael McDowell backed into the guard rail near the exit of the boot, I imagined the worst.
I mean, to replace a large section of the Armco barrier following such a massive wreck, in less than 90 minutes was flat out impressive.
And while questions were raised about the safety of the historic road course, let’s not forget – everyone got out of their cars under their own power. So a tip-of-the-hat to NASCAR safety measures inside the vehicles, as well as to The Glen for making as many changes for safety’s sake as it has over the last decade.
Bottom line – the Cheez-It 355 at The Glen was pretty spectacular from start to finish.
I’m sure that folks that were at the track will be talking about it for a long time. Those that watched on television may likely be thinking about making a trek to the Finger Lakes region this time next year to see some exciting racing.
It will be circled on my calendar.
Shawn Vargo is the sports editor and can be reached at email@example.com. Follow on Twitter @TheLeaderVargo.