CONCORD -- Jim Nabors was at Indianapolis on Sunday, but the character he made famous was from North Carolina.
There's steady business in "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity" gear these days, but Gomer Pyle Inc. could've sold T-shirts emblazoned with a more fitting slogan for what happened at Lowe's Motor Speedway over the past two weeks.
"Sur-PRISE, Sur-PRISE, Sur-PRISE!"
Two weeks ago, who would have believed that Kasey Kahne would be the sixth driver to win the NASCAR Sprint All-Star Race and the Coca-Cola 600 in the same year, hauling home $1,455,751 in the process?
Who would have believed the all-star race would be, by a considerable margin, the least controversial, least entertaining and least satisfying of the month's major races?
Who would have forecast that LMS President Humpy Wheeler would be cleaning out his desk, retiring after more than 30 years instead of thinking toward next year's historic 50th running of NASCAR's biggest race?
Kahne is no stranger to success here. He won both points races in 2006 but had not won since that October race. Coming into the two weeks of racing at LMS, he had one top-10 finish in his previous six races and wasn't even qualified for the all-star race.
"The cars aren't where they need to be to go fast," Kahne said May 16. "As far as winning races, we're a long, long way from there."
Not as far as it seemed.
A fan vote propelled him into the all-star race, and he won it. He backed that up by ending a drought in 52 points races with his eighth win Sunday night that boosted him two spots to 12th in the Sprint Cup standings.
"This is still a sport," said Ray Evernham, co-owner of Kahne's No. 9 Dodge at Gillett Evernham Motorsports. "You can have the machinery, you can have the computers, you can have all the technology you want, but the human element is still the biggest part of what we do.
"That little bit of confidence, that little bit of bounce in your step, that little bit of motivation, it maybe makes you look a little bit harder at something, makes you be a little bit more confident in a decision."
The human element was a guiding principle for Wheeler in staging larger-than-life events year after year after year at LMS.
Sunday had to be difficult for Wheeler, but he had a show to put on.
The tough day will be Wednesday, the retirement date set for him by track owner and Speedway Motorsports Inc. Chairman Bruton Smith.
For Wheeler, that's the last day Lowe's Motor Speedway will be "his" track.
What I hope, and what wouldn't "Sur-PRISE!" me one bit, is that when Wheeler walks away Wednesday, he has "that little bit of bounce" in his step Evernham was talking about.