I wrote a blog post last week about Mark Martin. I said he was too nice a guy to win a NASCAR Sprint Cup championship because he couldn’t bring himself to go for the jugular.
Well, Saturday night at Bristol Motor Speedway in Tennessee was a perfect example of what I was talking about. With four laps to go, leader Kyle Busch got the green flag and took off with Martin, in second place, in hot pursuit.
Now, if Martin possessed the killer instinct that’s needed to win a championship, he’d have found a way to get past Busch. He could have nudged him – just a wee bit, but enough to unsettle the car and allow him to sneak past before Busch regained control.
NASCAR drivers do that sort of thing all the time.
But Martin couldn’t bring himself to do it and settled for second.
Even Busch sounded surprised when an announcer shoved a microphone in front of his face in Victory Lane.
"He had a chance to beat me . . . but he didn’t," Busch said. "He raced me clean."
All very well and good. Admirable, even.
But you can bet if the positions had been reversed, and Martin was ahead of Busch on that restart, the end result would have been the same: Busch would have done something – anything – to get past Martin and he would have done it, fairly or unfairly, one way or another.
With the victory, Busch is now knocking on the door of the 12th and last position in the Chase for the Championship. It could get exciting yet.
Marcos Ambrose finished third Saturday night, Greg Biffle was fourth and Denny Hamlin fifth.
The NASCAR stars have next weekend off. Then they race at Atlanta on the Sunday evening of Labour Day weekend and the week after that they’re at Richmond for the last race before the Chase.
Before then, somebody should give Martin a prescription for some Dale Earnhardt How-To-Race-Dirty Pills.