Hats off, as it were, to Steve Blais. This was what I think an early-week puzzle ought to be. Lots of straightforward answers - some surprisingly so: a RACE is a "Speed competition." Yup. "Smells" are ODORS. Check. A "Pluralizable word" is a NOUN. True. - but also some trickier stuff. I probably show my age when I say that the NFL isn't the first thing that came to mind when I saw the name Merlin Olsen. And I wasn't aware that a SORTIE was a 22A: Military counterassault. I would have thought it was any old mission, and would have guessed a plane had to be involved.
It's nice to see the SHRINKINGICECAP (37A: Global warming concern) getting mentioned. Pretty soon it'll have to be clued in the past tense, like 46D: Andy once of "60 Minutes."
Just a little bit of geographical crosswordiness with ADEN (43A: Mideast's Gulf of ___ ) and URAL (33D: River through Kazakhstan), and I don't particularly love YULES or OATEN, but overall, this was entertaining.
One last thing, I'm glad Frannie didn't see 58A: "Don't Bring Me Down" grp. (ELO), because if she had she'd be singing that song for the next several days!