Darlington Raceway is a “Racer’s Racetrack” because of its tough layout and the foundational status as a pillar of stock car racing.  As Matt Kenseth took the checkered flag at Saturday’s Southern 500 there was the sense that a few emotions would emerge.  At this stage in his career, Kenseth is becoming increasingly aware of the sport’s history.  Triumph at the track called “Too Much To Tame” was his 27th overall, but ranks among the most satisfying.

Beyond the Darlington history, Kenseth had reason to be joyful as the penalties incurred by illegal engine parts discovered at Kansas were mostly overturned.  The Wisconsin driver may yet earn his second NASCAR Sprint Cup Championship.  However, the elation of Kenseth is counter-balanced by the deflation of Kyle Busch’s right rear tire.  Busch the younger led 265 laps of the event but faded to 6th place because of the faulty wheel.  Kyle felt like he took down a spoonful of turpentine instead of spreading sweet champagne in victory lane.  Joe Gibbs Racing had a strong night with all three entries showing well by virtue of Denny Hamlin taking second place going the distance for the first time since his accident at California Speedway.  7-time Darlington winner Jeff Gordon grabbed third, Jimmie Johnson fourth and Kevin Harvick fifth.

The evidence that Darlington Raceway is a brutal place for drivers, even the command given by the driver’s mothers left a “Darlington Stripe.”