Monday, June 9, 2014

Two Wins Equal Less Stress...for Fans and Drivers

Dale Earnhardt Jr. celebrates in Victory Lane after winning the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Pocono 400.  (credit: Jeff Curry/Getty Images)

I have to say that if you're a fan of a driver who has two wins, it is much more relaxing to watch the races. The sense of urgency is gone. Naturally, you'd still prefer it if your guy won but you can be more generous-hearted in sincerely congratulating the driver who did. And my congratulations are sincere. I like Dale a lot (and that's because of Dale himself. His father was before my time). It's always fun to see how happy it makes a driver to cross a track where he's never won off his bucket list. I hope Jimmie can do that at Michigan and/or Kentucky.

As a Jimmie Johnson fan, because of his two wins, I can sit back and enjoy the show without as much stress. I actually like to see Jimmie come from behind, picking off one car after another, when there isn't so much on the line. I actually like seeing the 48 do its thing....repairing a torn up race car and grinding out a good finish anyway.

On the other hand, now that drivers are beginning to repeat (which you knew was bound to start happening), I'd be getting anxious if I was a Matt Kenseth supporter. Not that I don't think he'll make the Chase or go the rest of the season without a win. But I'd be antsy for it to happen sooner rather than later just for the relief it would bring. And I know I got sick of hearing about Jimmie's winless "streak" and now all the focus is on Matt and it's bound to be irritating to both him and his fans.

Poor Kasey Kahne - if he didn't have bad luck, he wouldn't have any luck at all. He's probably starting to wonder if the racing gods have it in for him. And that applies to all the Stewart-Haas cars too. At times, they are brilliant, especially Kevin Harvick, but just about the time, they are flying high....boom, their lucky horseshoe abandons them. Maybe it's just a new little horseshoe and hasn't perfected it's technique yet. (They need to send it to Hendrick to be tutored by Jimmie's horseshoe).

And my boy (well, not just my boy, he's a lot of people's boy), Kyle Larson comes in fifth! Great finish for him but not that surprising. He won the ARCA race this week in his first outing at Pocono. I truly believe he will be NASCAR's next great star....although he might have some serious competition from Chase Elliott.

And we switched from Fox to TNT. Some people bitch about all the different networks but I think they all do a pretty good job. I like Kyle Petty although I don't always agree with him, still I enjoy his occasional forays into controversy. A little independence from the "party line" is a good thing. He and Wally work well together explaining things. Ole Larry Mac is the indispensable man of NASCAR. He's everywhere - races, pre-race shows, post-race shows.  I worked for years for elected officials and it was the same way. After every election, some of us lost our jobs when the new leaders brought in their own people but a few of our co-workers had those qualities required to be retained by administration after administration.  We called it the ability to "dance on the head of a pin".

I'm sorry but I just simply can't get into the truck races. Part of that is Kyle Busch winning all the ones he races in but beyond that, none of the drivers have managed to capture my heart (and perhaps Kyle Busch turning the rest of them into afterthoughts is part of the reason why).

Finally, a shout-out to Scott Speed for winning gold in the X-Games in a dominating fashion. I always liked Scott Speed but off-beat little character that he was, he was pretty much turned into a laughingstock in NASCAR. Glad to see him get the last laugh.