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Ken Medlin

Motor sports needed a day like Sunday

Posted May 29, 2011
Updated May 30, 2011

It was everything you could ask for in a race – twice.

And motor sports needed it. Or, umm… them.

The “powers that be” for NASCAR and Indy racing have to be smiling after two exciting finishes captivated fans Sunday.

Rookie JR Hildebrand’s last-lap mistake cost him an Indy 500, but it gave a race that has faded in its luster a much-needed publicity boost.

Hours later Dale Earnhardt, Jr., NASCAR’s most popular driver by far, ran out of gas in the final turn at the Coca-Cola 600, losing a chance at his first victory in 105 races.

Both were heartbreaking defeats, albeit for drivers at much different points in their careers. But moments like these draw fans in by the droves. These are “water cooler” moments, things people come up to you and ask: “Did you see that?”

People often complain of races being "boring," and at times they can be uneventful. The irony is that those are normally the races that are run cleanly. But, those are also the people sports hope to reach. Non-fans equate to untapped markets, and you can't grow without tapping into new markets.

That's why compelling dramas like those we saw on the tracks Sunday are so important. For us, it's an enjoyable spectacle - but for NASCAR and Indy racing it's good for business.

Exciting finish at Coca-Cola 600 Exciting finish at Coca-Cola 600

Motor sports giants NASCAR and Indy racing aren’t going anywhere anytime soon, but they needed a boost as much as any business does these days.

They got their boosts, even at the expense of Earnhardt, Jr. and Hildebrand.

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  • rayrayjay17 May 31, 11:58 a.m.

    I WANT TO BE WATCHING WHEN SOMEONE PUTS HARDICK "THROUGH" THE WALL--NOT JUST IN IT!!

  • rayrayjay17 May 31, 11:56 a.m.

    poor Junya!!!!!!!!! Nascar tried its best to give him a win!! poor guy!!!!

    NASCAR REALLY SUCKS!!!

    AS FAR AS HARDICK IS CONCERNED!! HE MAKES ME SICK!!!!!!!!!!!!!! VOMIT SICK!!!

  • Hokies94 May 30, 5:32 p.m.

    I hate it for Dale Jr. It has to hurt him, and his crew. Hard to believe he hasn't won in this length of time.

  • Packman24 May 30, 5:26 p.m.

    Jr.'s just not like his dad. He won't win in another 105 races either. HE SUCKS

  • CBB: North Carolina vs. Ohio State

    Tomorrow at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • CBB: UCLA vs Kentucky

    Tomorrow at 3:30 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: San Diego at San Francisco

    Tomorrow at 8:25 pm on WRAL-TV

  • NFL: Panthers vs. Cleveland

    Monday at 1:00 pm on WRAL-TV

  • WBB: Duke vs. UMass Lowell

    Tonight at 6:30 on 620am

  • NFL: Philadelphia at Washington

    Tomorrow at 4:25 pm on 620am

Scoreboard
Local
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
Final
CHI 103
NYK 97
Final
HOU 90
NOP 99
Final
SAC 107
MIL 108
Final
GSW 114
OKC 109
7:00pm Tonight
PHI
CHA
7:00pm Tonight
ORL
UTA
7:30pm Tonight
CLE
BRK
7:30pm Tonight
BOS
MIN
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TOR
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MIA
WAS
8:00pm Tonight
MEM
CHI
8:00pm Tonight
SAN
POR
9:00pm Tonight
DEN
LAC
10:30pm Tonight
LAL
OKC
Final
RICE 72
STTHOMASTX 61
 
Final
UVA 70
CLST 54
Final
LIU 69
FIU 58
 
Final
STET 67
GSOUT 76
 
Final
QUIN 80
LEH 65
 
Final
SFLA 69
SHU 89
Final
RICH 65
SALA 54
Final
CAN 60
USB 59
 
Final
DEL 62
TEMPL 82
Final
WCU 56
WRST 69
 
Final
VERM 56
YALE 57
 
Final
SDKST 75
IDST 72
 
Final
RIDE 62
MRGST 48
 
Final
LATU 79
NICST 54
 
Final
CHAR 75
APP 65
Final
MISS 71
CCAR 68
 
Final
DUKE 66
UCONN 56
Final
BRAD 80
EUREK 38
 
Final
PEAY 76
OAKC 52
 
Final
JST 66
SMISS 46
 
Final
SD 55
MNTST 53
 
Final
UAB 70
LSU 79
Final
EVAN 81
OHIO 69
 
Final
CSFU 72
CSDH 50
 
Final
ORST 90
DEP 59
Final
PAC 69
NEV 65
Final
USF 77
PORST 40
 
Final
IDAHO 86
WALLA 39
 
Final
UTST 57
CALST 56
 
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YOUNG
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2:00pm Today
TULA
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6:00pm Tonight
RAD
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11:59pm Tonight
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HAW
 
Final
PIT 1
COL 0
Final
PHI 1
FLA 2
Final
CAR 4
TOR 1
Final
CLB 4
WAS 5
Final
MON 1
ANA 2
Final
SJS 4
EDM 3
Final
LOS 6
STL 4
7:00pm Tonight
NJD
TAM
7:30pm Tonight
OTT
ANA
7:30pm Tonight
DET
NYI
8:00pm Tonight
WIN
BOS
9:00pm Tonight
CAL
DAL
Final
JAC 21
TEN 13