Commentary by: Andy Marquis ~ [email protected]

Waldorf, MD(March 13, 2012) — Saturday’s South Boston opener was so exciting; I couldn’t stop thinking about it during the race. Actually, I was thinking about how to arrange my bracket, how tasty the bologna burgers were, how much gas prices suck, who will win the presidential election and how much I couldn’t wait to go home and get some shut eye.

There was nothing memorable during the race. In fact, had the Philip Morris situation not arisen, I can honestly say there’d be nothing memorable from South Boston at all. Normally, at any late model race, there’s something that happens during the race that people can talk about for a while. It might not be as explosive as Lee Pulliam and Matt McCall at Martinsville, or the farce penalty against Dustin Storm at Old Dominion or the Lee Pulliam and Philip Morris deal at South Boston last year. Even average races leave something for the fans to talk about on the drive home.

So, what happened in the South Boston 300 that people could talk about? Let’s see, 22 cars started the race. There were a few lead changes. Cars drove around the track in single file formation most of the race. CE Falk won. That’s all folks. An exciting race would be able to at least sideline the Philip Morris controversy and silence the rumors for a couple hours, but Saturday’s race was too lackluster to make that happen.

Before the race, there were so many rumors and so much hear-say about Philip Morris, teenage girls would have to take notes to improve the rumor mill at their high school. Will he race? Who will he race for? Is he at the track? There were no less than 2,754 stories involving Morris. Of course, the bottom line remained, he was not there and he did not race. So, now it was up to the drivers to put on a show for the fans, a show that disappointed.

Is it too early for a big race? Are 300 lap races too long? In racing, less is more. The shorter the race, the less time drivers have to make their move and it requires them to go fast and not hold back. In Saturday’s race, it seemed as though everyone was content to ride around. And, quite honestly, having a boring race start off the season does not give the average person much incentive to go back.

Do races have to be demolition derbies to be exciting? Absolutely not, but a 100+ lap green flag run offers nothing exciting for the fans. The cars were so spread out at times, I could’ve gotten a game of Angry Birds in between the time the leader and the second place car crossed the stripe. Don’t get me wrong, there are very few people who hate crashes as much as I do. But I sure would’ve liked to have seen someone throw an orange traffic cone on the track to bring out a debris caution. Where’s Jeb Burton when you need his services?

Speaking of Jeb Burton and throwing orange traffic cones, where’s Natalie Sather? Last year, the beautiful lady from North Dakota finished second in points at South Boston Speedway and knocked on the door of her first win several times. This year, she’s nowhere to be seen.

The low car count had me worried. As gas prices threaten record levels, and the destined war with Iran threatens to destabilize the global energy markets, will car counts drop off? Or was South Boston simply hurt by Southern National’s opener that will take place next weekend?

Will Philip Morris be back this year? Who will he return with? And will he return to dominance? Is CE Falk a write in for the Virginia Triple Crown or will Nick Smith deny him? There are so many questions to be answered this season.

There is one conclusion to all this though. Disappointing as the South Boston 300 may have been, the green flag has dropped on the 2012 racing season!