There are races during the course of the year that drivers not only want to win, but have dreamed of winning for the longest time. Sometimes it takes years, or decades, to get the feat accomplished. Look at how long it took Dale Earnhardt to win the Daytona 500, or how overwhelming it was when Tony Stewart won at Indy.
But when it comes to the deep history of NASCAR, no track is more well-known than Darlington, and no race with a richer heritage than the Southern 500.
For Matt Kenseth, this race meant more than the Daytona 500. It was the race when he was a kid would dream about winning, and had some so close to tasting, only to not finish the deal.
But, thanks to some unfortunate circumstances with his teammate, Kenseth was able to pounce, and finally make his dream a reality.
Kyle Busch dominated all night long, but late faded, and faded rather quickly. Kenseth made the pass, and the favorite among many at the track, in the garage, and a favorite in the pool, faded to sixth...all because of a flat tire.
Although the win for Kenseth was his third on the season, much less one without crew chief Jason Ratcliff, it was not a victory for any writers. However, all but one had spectacular runs at Darlington, as 12 of the 13 involved finished in the top-10, with nine finishing in the top-five. By far the best week to date in the Victory Pool.
Here's a look at the standings following the Bojangles' Southern 500:
Patti Rodisch (424) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (0)
Rob Tiongson (397) Jeff Gordon finished 3rd (1)
Billy Fellin (388) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (1)
Rob Blount (368) Kyle Busch finished 6th (1)
Sal Sigala Jr. (355) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (0)
Dustin Parks (348) Jeff Gordon finished 3rd (0)
Ryan O'Hara (345) Jeff Gordon finished 3rd (0)
James Broomhead (343) Kyle Busch finished 6th (1)
Kelly Crandall (337) Jimmie Johnson finished 4th (0)
Michael Hirshbein (325) Kyle Busch finished 6th (2)
Kara Martin (319) Brad Keselowski finished 32nd (0)
Christopher Leone (293) Jeff Gordon finished 3rd (0)
Misan Akuya (292) Denny Hamlin finished 2nd (0)
Next Race: The writers will have a bit of a reprieve for their next race, as the next points-paying event is not for another two weeks. It's another night race, but it's one that is grueling, more about endurance and embracing changing conditions. It's the longest race of the year, 100 more miles than any event on the circuit.
The next points race is Memorial Day weekend at the Charlotte Motor Speedway. So writers, your picks for the Coca-Cola 600 will be due by Thursday, May 23, at 10 p.m. ET.
But, next week is a special event, one that honors winners...the elite drivers in the sport. It's all about the win, and all about the paycheck. Next Saturday night is the annual Sprint All-Star Race.
Watch your emails for a special edition for your picks...one that is optional to participate in, but would be unique to see from your perspective.