Final thoughts from one of the strangest days of my writing career, one capped off with a delicious Black Fly Stout at Gritty McDuff's...
* Though I wrote earlier that the crowd was disappointingly thin at Beech Ridge Motor Speedway, it should be pointed out that it was very much an "L.A." kind of audience. The place looked like a graveyard during the final practices for the PASS North Series Cabin Fever 150, but by the time the feature rolled out the grandstands were respectably filled.
I'm guessing that the 1st good day of the spring had a few people enjoying life at home for a few hours before heading to the track.
* The Cabin Fever 150 was slowed a whopping 15 times by the caution flag, but it hardly could be construed as "wreck fest."
Instead, it felt more like one of those interminable PASS Outlaw Late Model shows, the ones where guys spin out all on their own more than once, where lapped cars race the 3rd place cars like the win purse is on the line, where guys dump each other while running for 19th in a 22-car field.
Which is kind of what happened Saturday.
* Line of the day comes from one veteran of the Beech Ridge press box.
When PASS announcer Bruce Elder talked about the good crowd in the stands, showing up as a testament to just how long and harsh this particular winter had been, the guy sitting next to me quips: "How the hell would he know? He spends the winter in Florida."
Hmmm.... Point taken.
* It's better to be lucky than good, just ask Ben Rowe, who finished 2nd on Saturday.
He was forced to pit with flat tires on lap 104 -- but the good fortune for Rowe was that both of his right side tires were flat and not just one. Had it been only one, the car might not have rebounded well enough to dice through from 20th spot on the ensuing restart to challenge his father for the win.
But having fresh rubber on his entire right side brought his car to life, making it better than anybody else's in the final 25 circuits.
* It didn't pay to have a No. 22 on the side of the car Saturday. Let's just leave it at that.
* Tough luck of the day award #1 goes to Steve Berry, who once again had a car capable of contending for the win until contact with Cassius Clark sent him into the turn 4 dirt and out of contention.
Last September, Berry was battling Mike Rowe for the win when he and Rowe got together and ended his day in the same spot on the track.
* Tough luck of the day award #2 goes to Travis Benjamin, who once again was the bridesmaid and not the bride.
But Benjamin made a statement by leading most of the race before settling for 3rd behind the Rowe-Rowe battle. His team is much better than in the past, and he's going to be a factor in a slew of races this season.
* Maybe it's just me, maybe it's just all the giddiness of being back to the track for the first time this season, maybe it was just all that taurine in can of Monster, which by the way, they should sell in 8-ounce cans. Regardless, it just seems that more PASS teams than ever are capable of winning races now -- when Johnny Clark and John Flemming join a Kyle-Busch owned car outside the top-10, it has to be some kind of statement about series depth.