Wednesday, July 29, 2015

Kiss Those Bricks, Baby!

                                                  Image result for indianapolis motor speedway brickyard 400

Well, I can't say I noticed too much difference at Indianapolis with the new down force package. Maybe a little, but it looked pretty much like an average Brickyard 400 to me. 

And I will admit that the crowd looked a little sparse even though they said ticket sales were up due to it being Jeff Gordon's last visit to Indy as a driver. And I think some people were probably discouraged by the weather. I can testify that it is freaking hot in Indianapolis at the end of July!

Don't take any of this as a complaint though. As a Hoosier, I revere the Indianapolis Motor Speedway. What it lacks in racing drama and ideal weather, it more than makes up for in history and spectacle and prestige. 

A lot of fans were griping on NASCAR radio that stock cars don't belong at the Speedway and NASCAR should bail on the track but I don't agree and I don't think many drivers would either. They see kissing the bricks as one of the great achievements of a driving career and I do too. 

Okay, first, I'm going to say that I totally acknowledge Kyle Busch's spectacular run. I have rooted for him to make the Chase all along and he is more than proving himself qualified to compete for the championship. 

But, having said that, I am getting a little tired of the over-the-top kudos he's getting from fans and the media alike. It is the unique circumstances of his situation that make his success so special. If he hadn't missed the early races so that he had to win and get into the top thirty to compete in the Chase, we wouldn't think that much about it. It's not as if he's accomplishing something that has never been done before. According to Jayski, 22 drivers in the modern era have won 3 races in a row; eight of them won 4 in a row. 

Here's what gets me about what I so often see and hear. The Bleacher Report listed NASCAR records that probably won't be broken. The ones that have to do with drivers are: Richard Petty - 200 total wins in his career, Richard Petty - 27 wins out of 48 races for most wins in a season, Herb Thomas - 21+% equals the highest win percentage of any driver, Richard Petty - most second place finishes at 157.

You notice what they left out? Yeah, that would be five championships in a row by Jimmie Johnson, which, maybe its just me, but this seems like one of the most incredible stats in NASCAR. And its things like this that make me a little disgusted when I hear fans and reporters go on and on and on about Kyle Busch. Yes, let's give him all the credit he is due - and that's a lot - but let's not go totally off into the ozone layer of over-hype.

Ah, poor Jeff....I was so hoping he'd win this one or at least have a great finish but it wasn't to be. In fact, none of the Hendrick cars distinguished themselves at a track where they are expected to excel. What's up with that?

Another one I felt sorry for was poor Ryan Blaney - when Kyle snatched the victory from him at the very end. Oh, well, he's young and he'll get other chances. I expect that one will hurt for a while though.  Damn, I'm pulling for Kyle in the Cup series but I think he and Gibbs are trophy hogs in the Xfinity series.

Anyway, we'll see how long Kyle can maintain his streak. Will he win at Pocono?