Wednesday, April 6, 2016

Conformity is a Dirty Word

Image result for nascar 2016 martinsville           

I know if you're an intense fan of a driver, you want them to win in the worst way and you're a little nervous until they do because, after all, a win means they're in the Chase. Once they've visited Victory Lane, you can settle back and watch the races without as much stress. So Jimmie's fans are relieved now (he has two wins so there is no possibility he won't make the Chase). Denny's fans are happy as are Kyle's, Kevin's and Brad's.

But really, did we ever have any doubt about any of these five? Do we really have any doubt that Matt will win a race this season? I don't. Same with Kurt and Junior and Joey and Martin and probably Carl. After that, it gets a little iffier.

In Martinsville, I was rooting for A. J. Allmendinger and if not him, then Kyle Larson. And, no, don't get your feelings hurt Kyle fans. It's not because I don't want Kyle to win. (Actually, I want all our top drivers in the Chase because its more fun that way). But I figured it was a foregone conclusion that Kyle would win sooner or later and that's not so sure for A. J. or Larson.

It is sort of like the difference between Donald Trump winning the lottery or little Susie Smith down the block hitting the jackpot. For Donald, it would just be another million in the bank but Susie's whole life would change.

I'd love to see A.J. and the Little Team That Could win and I've love to see Larson win his first Sprint Cup Race. I'd love to see one of the rookies win (well, let's say Chase or Blaney, anyone else would be a real fluke). I'd love to see Danica win. But if I had to bet my life savings, I'd have to go with all the usual suspects listed above. They are where they are for a reason - they have the team and the talent.

Something I'm happy about is that the fluorescent yellow numbers are back on the 48 car. I have to chuckle at myself because that seems a very silly thing to care about one way or the other but nevertheless, I never really warmed up to the white numbers.

After Kyle's sweep this weekend, there was much talk on the Sirius NASCAR channel (again) about whether or not Sprint Cup drivers should be allowed to compete in the lower series. My position is the same as it has always been. Yes, if they are driving their own equipment (as Junior will be doing in the Xfinity race this weekend) or driving for an Xfinity or Truck team but no to driving for their Sprint Cup teams (Penske and Gibbs being the worst offenders). Not that I'm under any illusion that my opinion makes any difference so I simply don't watch those races.

I flatly don't believe the Xfinity drivers when they tell us how much they just love losing to the Cup drivers because it's a learning experience, don't you know? I think they'd like to have some of those trophies (and $$) themselves. And don't tell me that Mark Martin did it too because I don't care.

My general impression so far this year is that NASCAR has made both good judgments and poor judgments. The good side is the racing. I like almost all the changes they've made to bring about closer racing and more passing.

The negative side is the authoritarianism. Teams that struggle to make it through pre-race inspection because some damn thing is a 1000th off. Drivers being fined for not fitting into NASCAR's little conformist slots.

I wish the sanctioning body would lighten up. Give crew chiefs a little more leeway to think outside the box. Give drivers a little more opportunity to be square pegs that don't fit into NASCAR's round holes. I say more creativity, more innovation, less political correctness.