Tuesday, April 26, 2016
That Was The Week That Was in NASCAR
A couple of Bouquets and Brickbats to NASCAR this week -
Bouquet - Notice how no one talks about clean air much this year? It appears that the faster car can now make gains on the leader and yes, pass them when they get up to them. Sometimes, as in the case this week, passing requires a little bump and run. Yeah, Baby! Was it fair? Heck, yes! Do what you have to do when its the last lap and you're going for the win. I assume Kyle would have done the same if his and Carl's positions had been reversed. I think I heard someone say that this was the first last lap pass for the win ever at Richmond.
So, NASCAR deserves credit for the changes they've made that have resulted in better racing this year. Kudos to them.
Brickbat - Last year, NASCAR made the decision to allow teams to decide how many lug nuts to tighten. Of course, in the constant effort to shave seconds off their pit stops, desperate teams went down to four and sometimes only three, with exactly the results you'd expect - complaints of vibrations, loose wheels, blown tires.
Tony Stewart complained publicly that NASCAR had screwed up and was putting the driver's at risk. Teams will not police themselves when competition is on the line.
"You criticized the Sanctioning Body," humphed NASCAR, "and you must pay" Thirty five thousand dollars, to be precise. The Driver's Council sided with Tony and agreed to pay his fine. He was grateful but instead, he wrote his own check and donated the additional $35,000 to charity.
This week NASCAR came back and said, as if it was their very own idea, that they were once again mandating that all five lugnuts must be tightened. So far as I've heard, they're keeping Tony's $35,000. Can you say hypocrisy?
Not Quite Bouquet, Not Quite Brickbat - NASCAR made the decision to allow Tony to compete in the Chase if, like Kyle last year, he can get to 30th in the points and snag a win. Well, sure. How could they not have arrived at this conclusion after they've set so many precedents regarding this rule? Everyone who has missed races has been given a waiver so far. Just abandon the whole damn rule and let them run if they can meet the conditions, whatever the reason they were absent for some races.
I'd personally love to see Tony make the Chase in his last season of racing although honestly, I don't really expect this kind of lightning to strike twice in back to back years. Whatever, it is great to see him back at the track. I hope he maintains a visible presence after he retires. Like Jeff Gordon has as an announcer and analyst.
Brickbat to Curt Bowyer - My friend, Mojo, already said everything there to say about this in his blog and I concur - Clint was supposed to spend this off-year until he goes to SHR next year trying to build up a new young team, using his experience and confidence to be a positive force. Instead, he's a whiny brat baby complaining because new team isn't up to his standards. Boo to Curt.
Non-Brickbat to Samantha Busch - oh, for Pete's sake, People, haven't you never heard anyone say "Shit" before? Haven't you ever said it yourself? I certainly have - probably about a gazillion times. She didn't realize she was on television. She didn't say it to make a statement. It was an unself-conscious expression of dismay. NASCAR fans often like to think of themselves as rednecks - rough and rowdy beer-swilling good old boys. Aren't they the ones who have so much contempt for political correctness? How much more P.C. can you get than getting your little feelings hurt because a woman says shit on television.
Okay, beyond all that, I was rooting for Carl. Not because I like Carl better than Kyle. They are both about equal in my scale of fandom. They aren't at the bottom but they aren't at the top either. We've heard a lot about strategic voting in this presidential campaign. Well, I engage in strategic cheerleading. I was rooting for Carl for one simple reason - Kyle has two wins; Jimmie has two wins. I didn't want Kyle to go ahead of Jimmie. End of story.