Monday, May 5, 2014

Argh! Talladega!



Argh! Restrictor plate racing is my least favorite kind. One driver can have the fastest car but because he's stuck in the middle of a line that isn't moving, he or she has nowhere to go because cars are three-wide ahead of him.

I don't deny that it takes skill and nerve to negotiate these 200-mile-an-hour-plus packs but too often, you end up the victim of someone who has too much nerve and not enough skill. We sit and wait for the Big One, which we know will come sooner or later. It's the luck of the draw who ends up being caught up in it. There is no strategy to avoid it. Running up front doesn't guarantee your safety and neither does lagging in the back. Junior kept saying he could see the the tension building and knew a big wreck was looming so he hung out in the rear of the field. As it turned out, he was right. He missed the wreck but he also couldn't get going quickly enough to make it back to the front after the smoke cleared.

Meanwhile the "try to stay up front" tactic didn't help either Jimmie Johnson or Matt Kenseth.

It is often said that plate racing is the kind of racing where a car can come from out of nowhere to win. It gives the underdogs a chance. While it may do the heart good to see a team that you'd never expect to see in Victory Lane, that's not really what sports is all about, is it? It's not designed to give the "little guys" a chance. Athletics is meant to showcase the skill, the speed, the stamina, the daring and the performance of those who are the best at what they do.

And while I'm bitching, I may as well say that I hated knock-out qualifying at Talladega. It doesn't seem right to me that the guy who leads all the way around the track is not the fastest...no, that would be the fifth guy in line. Huh? It doesn't seem natural to see a pack deliberately slowing down on the track to deny another group the ability to draft off of them and get a fast lap. I don't like seeing teammates all jockeying around to get hooked up with their own guys, leaving singletons hoping to be able to attach themselves to someone, anyone. I don't care to watch teammates all coming together to pit road because if they try to do it alone, they'll end up losing the draft.

Okay, I'm done now. Talladega is in our rear view and Kansas is coming up. May the best driver win!