Thursday, July 21, 2016
I was starting to get a little crabby about the Cup races. Seems like every week, I watch all the drivers I root for go down for one reason or another - a wreck, a pit road penalty, illness, a sinkhole. Well, no, that last hasn't actually happened yet but the way things are going, it wouldn't surprise me. And in the end, it is one of the Toyotas that come along and win the thing. I know, I know....it's the way fans of other drivers felt when Jimmie was winning so much while I was being triumphant. But knowing doesn't make it any easier. And I'm not just focused on Jimmie. It doesn't have to be him. It could be Junior, Chase Elliott, Kyle Larson, Ryan Blaney, Danica. Any of them winning would suit me just fine. I was happy for Tony coming in second in the Cup race. He's now safely in the Chase. No worries. He doesn't have to win it all but I didn't want his final year to be a dud.
New Hampshire wasn't especially exciting but you can't expect every race to be a thrill a minute. It sure looked like the crowd was rather pathetic judging by what I could see watching television.
I thought Alex Bowman did a fine job in the 88 subbing for Junior although he too experienced hard luck, like so many others, and wound up coming in 26th.
I hate knowing Junior is missing races due to concussion-like symptoms but I absolutely think he is doing the right thing. Your long-term health is way more important than even a championship, no matter how badly you want it. I would hate to see Junior end up slow and halting like Mohammed Ali was at the end. I might risk a lot of things for the chance at a championship but my brain wouldn't be one of them.
And even though I don't like the reason for it, I am looking forward to seeing Jeff back at Indianapolis, probably his very favorite track.
Matt Kenseth won the race but failed post-race inspection. He will lose 15 driver's points which is the only part of the penalty that has much impact on the team....and that's not much considering where he is, and probably will remain, in the standings.
I don't know enough about cars to understand exactly what these infractions involve but there were so many after New Hampshire that either lots of teams are fudging or NASCAR has made the box so tight that it is almost impossible to stay within the lines. My inclination is to believe it is the latter.
I did finally get to yell and cheer when Kyle Larson won the Camping World Trucks race at Eldora on Wednesday. I love watching that kid on dirt. He is simply amazing. Now to win a Cup race!
Sunday, July 3, 2016
Two races.....two weeks.....two completely different experiences.
I like road courses and I thought the entire race at Sonoma was great, then add in an ending that was spectacular, being decided with a last lap pass and re-pass. I've always liked Tony Stewart. Although he isn't usually one of my very favorites. I'm a sucker for a Cinderella story so I was mega-rooting for him this time. After all the hard luck he's endured, I so wanted to see him to make the Chase in his last season.
When Hamlin passed him at the last, I screamed..."noooooo!" at my television. I was elated when he came back and won. And no, conspiracy theorists, I don't think Denny Hamlin threw the race to let him win. He did it all on strategy and luck and guts and will! Hurray for you, Tony!
All in all, an extremely enjoyable race.
And then we come to Daytona. As much as I like road courses, I don't care for plate races and what happened at Daytona this time is exactly the reason why.
Half the field taken out in a horrendous crash - a gazillion dollars worth of damage to expensive vehicles, shredded sheet metal, fires, smoking tires, cars on top of other cars. Worrying until window nets come down.
It took out most of the drivers I root for most - Jimmie, Junior, Danica, Truex, Chase and others too numerous to mention individually. Well, I was still left with Ryan Blaney and Kyle Larson but without much hope for either of them, although Kyle L did get a top 10 out of it and it was nice to see Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. get fifth.
Oh, well, it is what it is. Not everyone likes the same things. Congratulations to Brad for winning at Daytona for the first time.
Tony's bad luck returned. After playing it safe all night, he crashed near the end. Still, he did well enough to get beyond 30th in points so if he can stay there, he'll be in the Chase.
The secondary reason I don't like super speedway races is that I don't get off on seeing drivers trapped in lines that don't go anywhere. It doesn't matter how fast your car is or talented of a driver you are, there are times when you're simply stuck twiddling your thumbs, dependent on the cars around you. I find that boring except for the anticipation of a giant wreck at any minute.
I have to admit, it is going to take me a while to adapt to NBC versus Fox. Fox is way more colorful than NBC and Jeff Gordon was a tremendous asset to them this year. I like Steve Letarte and Jeff Burton but, face it, they are much blander than the Fox crew.
On a side note, I read that our own Brian France is going to speak at the Republican convention this year. If that's true, it rates a big "BOO!" from me.