With deadline pressure always looming, it’s tough to have time to allow for an in-depth report when there is a Saturday night Sprint Cup race.
But that’s why I’m here. Here’s a diary of the Lifelock.com 400.
8 p.m. Live from Chicagoland International Speedway, under the lights for the first time for a Cup race.
8:04 p.m. I’m a little worried about this diary because, well, there could be an utter lack of drama.
Not because it’s another of those cookie-cutter tracks. Because we all already know who will win — Kyle Busch.
Or, as Mike Helton likes to call him, The Best Thing To Happen To NASCAR Since Tony Stewart Burst Onto The Scene.
8:14 p.m. Um, the prerace show is going on 74 minutes. Seriously.
8:18 p.m. 78 minutes…
8:24 p.m. Ten laps in and I need to find somebody different to root for. Jeff Burton looks so bad he might finish behind Michael Waltrip tonight.
8:43 p.m. How do you miss a restart after a competition caution? Thanks TNT.
8:54 p.m. Hey, Burton is 41st! This is fun.
9:12 p.m. Lots of pit strategy going on, with teams shuffling through the running order. Busch has faded back to ninth and Dale Jr. is all the way back to 26th. But we’re not even 100 laps in. Long way to go.
9:25 p.m. Green-flag pit stops cycle through without incident, and Greg Biffle returns to the lead.
Tony Stewart, who’s pit cycle is about 15 laps different, led for a while. Now that his decision to leave Joe Gibbs Racing is official, he’s either going to catch fire or his mediocre season is going to continue. I think he’s going to catch fire heading into what will be a trying first year as owner/driver.
9:26 p.m. I wish I could buy stock in things like “Michael Waltrip brings out the caution.”
9:47 p.m. Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre. Brett Favre.
Sorry, I lose my Sportswriter Card if I don’t write Favre’s name at least seven times every four hours. I’m good til midnight now.
10:04 p.m. Jeff Gordon is just riding around in 11th. Remember when he was doing what Kyle Busch is doing now?
10:07 p.m. I don’t think Kyle Petty is all that bad at this broadcaster thing. I really don’t. He’s not Darrell Waltrip, but he’s better than Wally Dallenbach and Larry McReynolds.
At least now, after this week, we’ll be rid of Larry Mac for the rest of the season. Every time I see him I think one thing: Isn’t he the guy who couldn’t even win races with Dale Earnhardt?
10:22 p.m. Kyle Busch just won the Lifelock.com 400!
Whoa. Got a little ahead of myself there.
Really, though, this is getting ridiculous.
10:29 p.m. Here’s something NASCAR fans don’t get to say every day: Kyle Busch just got passed for the lead.
Carl Edwards pulled it off with 63 laps to go. But Matt Kenseth is charging.
10:34 p.m. Good Lord. Kenseth restarted in 30th after some bad luck earlier in the race. He had been contending for the lead before a flat tire sent him reeling, but he’s made up a whopping 15 spots in 20 laps.
10:36 p.m. Life gets better for Busch. Edwards has to pit early under green because of a bad tire, relinquishing the lead.
Busch is good, but this is starting to take on a Faustian level.
10:49 p.m. 37 laps to go on the restart and Busch is pulling away, though Jimmie Johnson might have something for him before it’s all over.
10:51 p.m. It may not matter. Johnson, in third, can’t clear lap traffic. Busch is, ahem, checking out.
I hate that phrase.
10:54 p.m. If you think I’m going to mention out loud that Burton has a chance to salvage a top-20 out of this with 30 laps to go, you’re crazy.
10:55 p.m. Another caution for debris. And there’s really been debris all these times. No, really.
10:57 p.m. Johnson’s in second on the restart this time. Something exciting might actually happen.
11 p.m. Bobby Labonte spins and brings out the yellow. It should be a nice duel between Busch and Johnson to end this.
Maybe they’ll both wreck.
11:06 p.m. Johnson pulls even. Here we go.
11:06 p.m. And Johnson gets in front with 20 to go. He’s pulling away.
11:07 p.m. Wha-at?! A commercial? Now?
11:10 p.m. Johnson has chec…..
Um, Johnson is cruising.
11:12 p.m. Caution is out. Some Guy blew up.
11:16 p.m. Two to go on the restart. Johnson and Busch.
11:17 p.m. Turn 4, Busch is right there.
11:17 p.m. Side-by-side.
11:17 p.m. No way. No freaking way. Busch leads.
11:18 p.m. Johnson tries, but Busch takes the checkers.
Honestly, I was only half-joking earlier when I said we all knew who would win.
And yet he did it again.
Thank God for the Chase. Otherwise, the season would be over.