Monday, June 22, 2009

The King(s) of Wine Country

Yesterday at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, California there were two kings of wine country. Ironically, the “King of Beers” took the checkers as Kasey Kahne drove the #9 Budweiser Dodge to victory. In an exciting duel with Tony Stewart, Kasey surprised many fans and experts given the fact that his best prior finish at Sonoma was 21st. Several late cautions led to double file re-starts that kept the battle exciting. The race was particularly exciting at my house given the fact that my wife is a big Kasey fan--just like one of those 40-something women in the Allstate commercials. But that’s whole other story!

While I was happy to see Kasey win for the first time since last June, I was thrilled to see “The King” step into victory lane. My all-time favorite driver, Richard Petty, got a chance to bask in the glory of victory for the first time in many years. One of the class acts in all of sports and a true champion & humanitarian, it had been 10 years since a car affiliated with Petty had gotten to the winner’s circle (John Andretti at Martinsville in 1999 for you trivia nuts). It was great to see King Richard get some mic time to congratulate Kasey on national TV as soon as he got out of the car. We hadn’t seen enough of The King as competition got tougher and tougher over the last few years for the relatively small Petty Enterprises. Then, after the 2008 NASCAR Sprint Cup season, Gillett Evernham Motorsports merged with Petty Enterprises to form Richard Petty Motorsports. While there have been some frustrations with RPM for Kasey so far this year, he is still only 3 points out of the Chase hunt after his unlikely road course win. Hopefully, Sonoma will be a turning point for RPM and the “two kings” can continue to celebrate many more times this season….


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