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The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men

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The old men rule NASCAR right now, and I think that’s great thing. And no, it’s not because I am some gasping, wheezing, 56 year old NASCAR/Anime Otaku who thinks that old ways are best ((even though I am, and I do)).  I seriously think it’s cool that the old man, Mark Martin, and the other old man, Ron Hornaday, are leading their respective series. I have enormous respect for these guys, as should all of you. Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday are the toughest guys in NASCAR these days. Mark Martin leads the chase after winning the first race at Loudon last Sunday. Hornaday leads the Camping World Truck series by 217 points over Matt Crafton with 6 races to go.


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NASCAR has increasingly become a young man’s sport. Kyle Busch was the youngest driver in NASCAR until Joey Logano came along. Sponsor dollars play a big role in this….they want drivers to represent them who can skew young. It’s odd to think, but it’s true, that Jeff Gordon is almost considered an old man in NASCAR these days. And when Bobby Labonte can temporarily lose his ride to some go-nowhere shrub, then it’s the end of the world as we now it.

If not for the old men who could kick your ass ’til hell won’t have it…

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Some day Kyle Busch will be an old man. I can’t honestly picture him being the sort of old man that Mark Martin is today. I can’t see Kyle aging as gracefully and magnificently as Mark Martin. I have this feeling that by the time he’s 50, Kyle Busch will be old and bitter and broken and all played out. After all, this season he won as many races as Mark Martin, but he missed the Chase. Kyle Busch is a magnificently talented driver, and when all is said an done, he will mostly likely go down in history as one of the best of all time. But time will wear more heavily on him. He will be, at 50 or 51, a shadow of what Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday are today.


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And someday, Jimmie Johnson will sit and home and watch it all on TV, and mutter to himself, “Those damn kids!!”

I don’t see him racing for a championship at 51 like Martin and Hornaday are doing today.

It’s somewhat sad to think that someday all the old men will be gone forever. Especially the sad young men of today who will never allow themselves to be old men in a young man’s sport.


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I wonder if Jeff Gordon will stick it out to 50 to get another championship. Time has been slipping away for Jeff. He’s suffering from chronic back pain….he has a wife, a daughter…a winery. He’s a car owner. I wonder if he has the deep well of strength, or whatever the hell it is that Mark Martin has, to stick it out as long as the old man has. I wonder if he is as tough and gar as Ron Hornaday. Ron Hornaday could kick ANYONE’S ass.

Jeff Gordon? I’m not so sure.


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Matt Kenseth might stick it out ’til 50. But…I don’t think he’ll be racing a full schedule like Mark Martin. I could see him doing a partial schedule….picking his races…and spending the rest of time bringing cookies to his grandchildren.


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And even Kasey Kahne will someday be old. Yikes!!!

It will be interesting to see if any of the current young guns will have the spirit and power of Martin and Hornaday when those brave and terrible days finally arrive.


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And the day will finally come when you won’t be able to tell Ryan Newman apart from Tony Stewart. They both will be cueball-headed fools if they even THINK they’ll be racing for a championship at age 50. ((I am assuming that as he get’s older, Tony Stewart wont have to shave 3 times a day)). They will also be indistinguishable from Greg Biffle…..but I digress.


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Carl Edwards will, someday, never do a backflip ever again. He will live a quiet existence in a world of greenery and flowers. He will nurture these living things and never look back. He will never smile again, but that might be just as well.


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So let the young guns grow old and sad. They will be never know the joy and the spirit of winning that Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday feel when they go to Victory Lane. You can win a million races when you’re young….but to do so when age and time and all the days have run away like wild horses over the hills, to stand victorious then, well..that is a thrill that transcends the glorious days of youth….that is a thrill that will be gone forever I’m afraid when Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday finally decide to pack it in.

So we should all appreciate and applaud the days we live in now. We should all pull for Mark Martin and Ron Hornaday to win it all.


2 thoughts on “The Ballad Of The Sad Young Men

  1. Matt will race long enough to get his boy in the big time. Then he'll do the part owner, sometime driver thing. Is there anyone with the true love of the sport to race into their 50's like Martin or Earnhardt Sr.? It's all about the money, boys!

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