Honoringtraditions(and otherthoughts)

Random thoughts from 1972, because that’s what it’s going to feel like at Darlington this weekend.

I love the throwback paint schemes that the NASCAR teams are rolling out for this weekend’s Southern 500 at Darlington, which is returning to its traditional Labor Day weekend date.

By far my favorite is the Days of Thunder/Kyle Petty Mello Yello car that Kyle Larson is driving. I will break out the mullet wig and tell people they can’t pit because the crew is eating ice cream.

I do have one complaint, however. Roush Fenway had all kinds of good Mark Martin schemes that they could have pulled out for the No. 6, but which one do they pick?

The ugly 1998 Valvoline scheme with Advocare replacing the oil brand. Quite possibly the ugliest one Martin ran on the ugliest racecar ever to race in NASCAR. It looks like 1998 threw up on a terrible family car.

At least Dale Earnhardt Jr. is running a decent Cale Yarborough Valvoline scheme and Mark Martin is getting some love for his Busch Winn-Dixie ride.

Get well soon, John Daly. It still blows my mind that you are a professional athlete.

With the Sprint Cup Series off this past weekend, I watched three road courses races: the Xfinity Series at Road America, the trucks at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park and the Indy Cars at Sonoma. I am left with one thought: the Cup Series needs more road courses. Virginia International Raceway, Road America or Barber need a serious look.

This piece doesn’t have the right tone to talk about the Indy Car tragedy last week, but I will say if you are a racing fan and haven’t read what Tony Kanaan had to say about Justin Wilson’s death at Pocono, you need to.

Kurt Busch is getting married again. I hope you did a better job of vetting this one than you did your last ladylove.

Another bad TV confession: I watched every episode of Lip Sync Battle this past summer and I miss it terribly now that it is not coming on.

Anheuser-Busch announced last week that it is changing its NASCAR sponsorship from its flagship Budweiser brand to its Busch brand. That means that Kevin Harvick will be driving the Busch beer Chevrolet in 2016.

Seems like an odd move, but I think it may have bigger implications for the entitlement sponsor for NASCAR’s top series when Sprint leaves in 2017. Budweiser goes good in a cup, right?

Does anyone still think the NFL needs four pre-season games? And is there a bigger dumpster fire in sports than the Washington Redskins? I would say more, but I’m afraid Dan Snyder may sue me. At this point, I feel bad for Robert Griffin III.

I have refrained from saying much about the Tony Stewart saga over the past year. But the Ward family’s lawyer is a jackass and no payday is going to fix what happened. Not for the Wards, nor for Stewart.

RIP Chocolate Thunder.

There will be another Earnhardt at Richmond in the Sprint Cup race: Jeffery Earnhardt will be joining his uncle Dale Jr. when he makes his first cup attempt. Young Jeffrey has a combined 76 NASCAR starts in the Xfinity and truck series. In those starts, he has a whopping total of one top-10 finish. If you’re not going to be good, it pays to have a famous surname.

I saw a commercial for some drug the other day. It featured golf legend Arnold Palmer, Saturday Night Live alum Kevin Nealon and NASCAR driver Brian Vickers playing golf. I literally had to stop to make sure I wasn’t dreaming because I thought there was no way that was a real thing. It was.

If you have read this far, thank you and I’m sorry. But if you have read this far you should go to Darlington this weekend. After a few years in schedule purgatory, the Southern 500 is back on Labor Day. If you, like me, believe that NASCAR is best when it honors its traditions, you need to show that by showing up now that the Southern 500 is back home.

Andy Cagle writes a weekly column about NASCAR. Follow him on Twitter @Andy_Cagle.