Sunday, February 15, 2015

Ah, the first feud of spring

Snow drew white curtains across your vision. The mercury headed for the skinny numbers. And every time the wind shrieked, it brought Ice Station Zebra with it.

Heck of a day to look up and find spring again.

I saw it last night from my living room couch, just past where the dog was curled up next to a cheery fire. Turned on the TV, and there were two walking logos yelling at each other. Spring had sprung.

NASCAR was back, and, on an icebox night in the Midwest, that did what it always does for me. It told me spring was coming, no matter what that stupid groundhog says. It told me soon, very soon, I would be able to walk outside without dressing like Neil Armstrong when he walked on the moon. It told me that one of these days I would see green again, no matter how mythic such an occurrence seems now.

I know this because there on my screen was that long freight train of rolling iron, everyone chasing everyone else around Daytona's 31-degree banking in a familiar tableau that snapped you right into summer. It was NASCAR's traditional curtain-raiser, the Sprint Unlimited all-star race, and damned if it didn't look like July on the half-shell. There was the usual restrictor-plate mayhem. There was the usual game-changing pass, this time by Matt Kenseth. And, yes, there was the usual stagecraft in the pits afterward, all that manufactured yelling and finger-pointing by the aforementioned walking logos.

On this night the walking logos were Kevin Harvick and Joey Logano, and as usual with these deals, God only knows what they were upset about. Apparently Logano pushed Harvick a little too aggressively at a track where pushing the guy in front of you is standard procedure for getting to the front.  Logano thought he was doing that; Harvick, for some unfathomable reason, didn't. You could watch the replay 100 times and never figure out why he was so hot.

Unless, of course, he was adhering to the apparently unwritten rule that at least two drivers have to wind up confronting one another after every Cup race. One of those TV deals, I suppose.

In any case ... it was a genteel breath of spring on a rude winter's night, and it warmed the cockles of the heart. Whatever they are.

I'm guessing a car part.


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