Even though Kyle Busch won, Sunday’s race at Bristol was great. I loved that it ended in a green, white, and checkered; you didn’t know who was going to win it until the very last lap.

There were other reasons to happy with this race:

A.J. Allmendinger finally got to race in the NEXTEL Cup Series! He finished in 40th after starting in the 43rd position. So he wasn’t exactly a contender but at least he got to participate, and in that really pathetic sense he won! But really, I am happy that his Red Bull team got to compete. Now if Michael Waltrip can get his act together maybe we can get all of the Toyota teams on the track at the same time.

— Everybody can stop talking about that damn Car of Tomorrow. Bristol was the debut for the new, somewhat ugly car that ups safety and headroom for the drivers. I don’t know about you but I don’t like that “wing” they’ve added to the back of the car, it just looks odd and out of place. I can appreciate the value of adding safety features for the benefit of the drivers but anything else is over my head. I can’t really have an opinion about its effect on the competition since I’m not the one who has to drive it every weekend. But I can say this: Please, no more montages, specials, cut-away cars about the Car of Tomorrow. We got it! We know what it is, what’s different, what’s good, what’s bad, we’re over it! Move on!

Dale Earnhardt Jr. finished in 7th place after starting in the 31st position. This is such a huge boost for his team and for my sanity. Hopefully they can keep this momentum going into Martinsville this weekend and continue his move up in the points standings.

— While watching some of the Busch race coverage at Bristol I couldn’t shake the feeling that it was extremely weird to have Brent Musburger covering NASCAR. He does basketball, football, heck even golf, but NASCAR? Uhm, no. It just doesn’t seem right to me. It’s not that he’s bad at it so much as it’s just not what he’s known for. It’s like if they moved Dick Vitale from covering college basketball to women’s gymnastics. Ok, maybe it’s not that severe, but you get my point.

— Here’s another reason why my nickname of “Teddy Bear” for Casey Mears is on point:

Roger Mears, father of Casey Mears, drives his son’s motor coach from race to race during the NASCAR season and is a familiar face at the track. However, the former off-road racer won’t be so easy to find this weekend in Martinsville. Roger Mears, who celebrated his 60th birthday last Saturday, will be at the Barrett-Jackson auction — also known as the “World’s Greatest Collector Car Event” — in Palm Beach, Fla., from March 28 to April 1. The younger Mears, driver of the No. 25 National Guard/GMAC Chevrolet for Hendrick Motorsports, arranged for his father to attend the event as a birthday present and even slipped a blank check in with the ticket. “I still don’t know what to say,” said Roger Mears, who rarely misses SPEED Channel’s Barrett-Jackson Car Search program and plans to make the trip south with his brother, open-wheel legend Rick Mears. “It’s a pretty amazing thing to do for your dad. I was speechless.”

Isn’t that sweet? Good job Casey. 🙂