NASCAR miscellany: Alcohol, Donuts, and a First.

I need to rectify something: The Chase for the Nextel Cup started without a whisper here, and while the New Hampshire race last Sunday was, by all accounts, a boring piece of crap, something amazing happened for the first time in modern NASCAR history. Something so simple you (and ESPN) probably didn’t notice it.

All 43 cars finished the race.

Yeah, think about it: Since the beginning of 43-car Winston Cup races back in ’98, at least one car didn’t make it to the end every time until Sunday. There’s a how-can-you-consider-NASCAR-a-sport comment hidden in there, but I’ll leave it to you to find it, if you want. So I give props to Ward Burton, David Stremme and Brian Vickers, the bottom three finishers at New Hampshire, for giving “bringing up the rear” a whole new level of prestige.

As expected, Kasey Kahne is going to drive the Budweiser car next year. I suppose there is a certain prestige to driving the Budweiser car (again, only in NASCAR), seeing as how Dale Earnhardt Jr. was its last occupant. It’s only appropriate that Kahne inherit the King of Beers’ throne; he’s second only to Earnhardt in the category of drivers whose fame outproportions their talent.

Said Kahne, whose clean-cut, boy-next-door image doesn’t quite go hand in hand with Budweiser: “You probably don’t know me too well if you don’t know that I’ma beer guy.”

Finally, it’s been tough riding out this Busch Series 2008 title-sponsor story in the dark. Subway is still in the running. According to one report, so is Coors. But neither side is showing its hand. Some have speculated this week that the series won’t have a sponsor at all next year (but then what would they call it?) Early reports said that Allstate and Dunkin’ Donuts were also in the running, and hot damn would I want to watch the Dunkin’ Donuts Series! If NASCAR hasn’t budged in its asking price from a couple weeks back, all they have to do is sell 29 donuts at $1 million each, and they can afford it.

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About J.P. Hoornstra

J.P. Hoornstra covers the Dodgers, Angels and Major League Baseball for the Orange County Register, Los Angeles Daily News, Long Beach Press-Telegram, Torrance Daily Breeze, San Gabriel Valley Tribune, Pasadena Star-News, San Bernardino Sun, Inland Valley Daily Bulletin, Whittier Daily News and Redlands Daily Facts. Before taking the beat in 2012, J.P. covered the NHL for four years. UCLA gave him a degree once upon a time; when he graduated on schedule, he missed getting Arnold Schwarzenegger's autograph on his diploma by five months.

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