Saturday, May 29, 2010

Coke 600, NBA, NHL...

Getting ready to roll to Charlotte Motor Speedway for the Nationwide Series race, but wanted to knock out a couple of thoughts.

  • Plenty of story lines this weekend at the track, but none more compelling than the Joe Gibbs Racing tandem of Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. The teammates took center stage last Saturday in the All Star Race, when Kyle appeared to have a run on Hamlin's outside, only to have Hamlin shut the door. Busch ran into the fence, and was, well, upset with his teammate. 5 days later, cooler heads had not fully prevailed. My take on it: Both drivers were right in their thinking. Hamlin was the race leader. It's his job to try to win the race. Busch was coming on strong, and was trying to win the race. There is nothing wrong with drivers wanting the checkered flag. The $1 million dollar payout was a part of the hard feelings, but in the end, I would prefer to see teammates sniping at each other as they go after victories. There will come a time when these guys are no longer driving competitively. They may look back and laugh, or still harbor ill will. Personally, their feud is good for NASCAR, because it's got people talking.
  • Farewell to the Orlando Magic. For a team that looked unbeatable in the first 2 rounds, they looked more than mortal against Boston. Bobcats fans I spoke with before the playoffs began said they would have preferred facing the Celtics in the opening round. I submit to you, the outcome likely wouldn't have been different. That's no slap on the Bobcats. I felt Boston was a bad matchup for Charlotte, and many other teams. Orlando's run to repeat as Eastern Conference champs came to a halt against a team that showed more heart, and desire than the Magic. Will Boston beat Los Angeles or Phoenix? I won't say they will, but I certainly won't count them out.
  • Stanley Cup Finals get underway Saturday night, Chicago facing Philadelphia. If you know anything about me, you know I am a die-hard Blackhawks fan. Have been all my life. Needless to say, I am thrilled the Blackhawks are in the Finals. On paper, they look to have the better team. Personally, I'm not buying Philly being a pushover like some might suggest. The Flyers are a wonderful team, that is as close to healthy as they have been all post-season. Chicago poses a challenge for the Flyers, one that I don't think the Flyers will be able to handle. Suffice to say, the on-air battle between me, and my counterpart Jim Connors (Philly native), should be entertaining. Unofficially, we have a wager that the if Chicago wins the series, Jim has to wear Blackhawks gear on a show, and vice versa. I already have a Flyers jersey (part of a collection of NHL sweaters), so I will pay up if I have to. The fan in me says I won't have to.

Mike Solarte

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