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Last updateMon, 27 Nov 2017 12am

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All Star Race, Hall of Fame weekend recap

Last Saturday night was the annual Sprint Cup All-Star race. If you missed it, you missed a great evening of racing. After storming from fifth place when teammates Denny Hamlin and Kyle Busch tangled on lap three of the final ten lap shoot out of the night’s race, Kurt Busch survived two late caution flags, and held off Martin Truex Jr. to win his first All-Star race. The older Busch brother took home a check for a bit over $1 million for his evening’s efforts.  
The real story of the All-Star race was the dustup between  Joe Gibbs Racing teammates Kyle Busch and Denny Hamlin. Battling for the lead on lap 93, Busch had a strong run on the outside and Hamlin moved up the track in front of his teammate. Busch hit the outside wall, blew a tire, and into Kasey Kahne, who was in the wrong place at the wrong time. A very frustrated Kyle Busch was heard on the radio questioning Hamlin’s ancestry and moaning ‘I had the race won.’  He went on to tell his pit crew to “Keep me away from Hamlin or I swear, I’m going to kill him.”  

With a team of drivers  who have won five of the last seven Sprint Cup races suddenly about to come to blows, team owner Joe Gibbs hustled to Denny Hamlin’s hauler and ordered they get the video tape of the incident on the video system.  Like Now. It was a typical Joe Gibbs moment, as he got his two young stars behind closed doors and defused the situation.  
Gibbs latter commented, “I think in pro sports, if you’ve been on the sidelines or you’ve been in racing, you’re going to have people get mad about things.  It’s a spur of the moment type thing. I think what was much more meaningful is that we met in there.”
Sunday’s Hall of Fame induction was a very poignant and emotional presentation.  The presentations on Bill France Senior and Junior were interesting from a historical  perspective, but the real stars were the drivers. The emotions I felt watching Richard Petty wheel wife Lynda into the auditorium in a wheel chair are hard to put into words.  
Richard’s comments were right on and just what you would expect from “The King.”  Petty was introduced by his son, Kyle, who in his comments on his legendary father said, “I’ll let you in on a secret about this man.  My father Richard Petty is the biggest fan of the sport who has ever lived.”
In typical fashion the ever modest Richard Petty said, “The fans then is what it’s all about, guys,  we wouldn’t be here without the fans. There wouldn’t be a Richard Petty. There wouldn’t be a NASCAR. The fans came. The fans developed a love, a real love for it. I never did anything by myself. I guess I’m going to be like Gomer Pyle. Thank you. Thank you. Thank You.”
Darrel Waltrip and Robert Glenn Johnson III, Junior Johnson’s 16 year old son introduced the legendary “Last American Hero.” Waltrip, spoke of Johnson and what a brilliant self taught engineer and businessman Johnson was, but how he remained a simple man from the North Carolina Mountains. As you would expect, there were several amusing tales about Johnson’s moonshine days and his dealings with corporate sponsors from New York calling on Johnson at his shop.
Dale Earnhardt was the final inductee to be honored. His widow, Teresa, sons  Dale Jr. and Kerry, and daughters Kelly and Taylor, each spoke and had some interesting anecdotes on growing up Earnhardt.     
Speed TV will probably rerun the show a couple times in the next week of so. If  you missed the original telecast, check it out. It was an excellent show.
Speaking of Dale Earnhardt, Earnhardt fans and memorabilia collectors will be interested to know General Mills has just announced a special edition Wheaties box featuring “The Intimidator’s” legendary career and Hall of Fame induction.  This is the second appearance of Earnhardt on a Wheaties box. The popular cereal also had a Dale Earnhardt commemorative box back in 1997.
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