Wednesday, August 24, 2016

Machines Versus People

                                              Image result for nascar bristol 2016 kevin harvick

NASCAR fans had to be dedicated to take in all of the Bristol night/day/night race thanks to Mother Nature's contrary bitchiness but seeing the ending was worth it. Kudos to Kevin for inviting Tony to join him in a victory burnout. Tony may not have prevailed as a driver but his team won the Bristol night race for the first time in his final year on track and that had to be a thrill. The sight of Tony and Kevin turning dual smoke-filled circles was very cool.

As I write this on early Wednesday morning, I couldn't find any updates on Junior although we will supposedly learn the latest prognosis about his possible return today. I hope it is this week. I'm sure Michigan is one of the tracks he'd choose since it is one of his best. If he comes back this week, he'll be 21st in the point standings so a win at Michigan would be just what the doctor ordered to get him back in the competition.

My heart just aches for Kyle Larson. I so badly want to see him get that "first win" monkey off his back. It has seemed so close so many times but something always happens to screw it up. Oftentimes, it is a wreck that nails him. Maybe part of that is his own fault for being such a risk-taker but that's also what makes him exciting to watch.

I keep asking myself what is wrong with Hendrick. They aren't awful but they aren't great either. I guess you'd have to call them somewhat mediocre right now and I don't know why. Obviously, they don't know either or they would fix it. Jimmie is 9th in points; Chase is 12th; Kasey is 17th and Junior is 21st (although that's not a fair stat, it is what it is). So, they have only one driver in the top ten and he's there by the skin of his teeth. That's way under-performing for this bunch.

Meanwhile, the rest of the top ten are spread out pretty evenly with both Penske drivers, two Stewart-Haas teams and all of the Gibbs cars. Martin Truex, Jr. is in there also but Furniture Row is a virtually another Gibbs team.

There are only three more chances to get in with a win so I imagine winless teams are getting anxious. The two highest in points without a win right now are Chase Elliott and Austin Dillon.

Kyle Busch called Brad Keselowski a "dirty driver" after the Xfinity race this week but I don't expect much to come of it. There haven't been any major feuds this year and I doubt if there will be. All the teams seem to have conformed to the tightness of the box NASCAR has put them in in recent years, whether that is staying in their car until the officials get there, getting called for speeding for a second over the limit, being penalized for being a thousandth off in inspection.

I hate all that. The problem is that the racing is done by people. People build the cars and pit the cars and drive the cars. People aren't automatons who can be programmed to seconds or thousandths. But the officiating is done by machines and they are precise and unforgiving. People are emotional and passionate. Machines are neutral robots. I like the people better than the machines.