Wednesday, April 29, 2015

Zero to Hero

                                               Image result for 2015 nascar richmond

Well, hurray for Kurt....I guess. Amazing how winning can suddenly make you a hero. Since I've been a NASCAR fan, I've watched Kurt Busch cycling up and down like and back and forth like a washing machine agitator. Getting hired; getting fired. In trouble with the law for possible Drunk Driving (breathalyzer malfunctioned) and being a royal jerk to the officer. In trouble with the law for possible domestic violence. Cussing out the media. Cussing out his team. Kurt Busch, as we all know, has long-standing issues but each and every time, he is saved by his incredible talent behind the wheel of a race car. Some owner will always take a chance on a driver with Kurt's superior skill level.

And the public, generally, is willing to give him chance after chance when they watch him put those mad skills into practice. Getting a one-car team like Furniture Row into the Chase against all odds. Come back after a three-week suspension and and few short weeks later, he's standing in Victory Lane being showered with champagne.

I listened to the callers on Sirius NASCAR radio lavish Kurt with praise on Monday after the race. "You won, all is forgiven!" I'm not sorry he won and I give him kudos for his performance but, cut the fawning, please. Hoisting a trophy doesn't turn an asshole into a saint. The two things don't necessarily have anything to do with one another.

And speaking of assholes, Tony Stewart has been racking up A-hole points lately too. Blaming Junior for his bad luck at Richmond was one of them but there have been others. And I understand that he's probably frustrated beyond imagining by the start of his season, particularly when two of his drivers are winning and even Danica has shown marked improvement. Who or what does he blame? It doesn't appear that he puts the onus on his crew chief because we know Tony doesn't hesitate to fire even championship-winning crew chiefs if he believes they aren't doing the job. Obviously, he can't blame Hendrick Engines because they are the same ones Kevin and Kurt are running. So, is he blaming himself for not being able to adapt to the new rules package? Hard to know where his head is at these days.

It was fun, as it always is, to watch Jimmie come up through the pack to finish third...and the same for Kasey. Still, qualifying so poorly is a real disadvantage when the competition is as tough as it is. You can't always count on being able to pass most of the field in a timely fashion or not getting caught up in a mess while running mid-pack. Those two teams need to seriously up the ante in qualifying.

Good, solid effort for Chase Elliott in his second Sprint Cup start - running all the laps to finish with a clean car in 16th place is something to be proud of for the rookiest of rookies.

I got called away in the mid-point of the Xfinity race and never went back to it. After I read about it, I was glad I didn't waste my time watching another Sprint Cup driver and team dominate. People have said, "well, ignore the leaders and watch the good racing behind them." No, I don't want to watch the good racing behind them. Winning is what NASCAR is all about - Victory Lane, trophies, champagne. I want to see the regulars garner those honors (and the money and recognition that go along with them). Yes, I know we get to see Erik Jones duking it out with Brad or Kyle or Kevin every now and then. That's not good enough. I want to see them win more than every dozen or so races.

Talladega comes next - as always, that is a race I face with equal parts anticipation and dread.