Monday, September 25, 2017

Bouquet for Dale Jr, - Brickbat for NASCAR Owners

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I guess I'll start with this, then if it pisses you off you don't have to bother with the rest. Hurray for Dale Junior tweeting his thoughts about NFL players taking a knee during the national anthem. Protest is as American as apple pie.

Without protesters, women still wouldn't have the right to vote. Without protesters, African-Americans would still be riding in the back of the bus. Hell, without protesters, the freaking Vietnam war would probably still be going on, like the Afghanistan War is obviously going to go on forever because I guess no one cares enough to protest that one.

Good old NASCAR. According to Fox Insider,  The "Star-Spangled Banner" was not protested by members of the NASCAR community during their Cup series race outside Concord, N.H. this weekend.

"Part of the explanation may come from the strict warning several team owners gave in the wake of both comments by President Trump and exhibitions by NFL players.
NASCAR icon Richard Petty, a former driver and current team owner, told the AP that he wouldn't accept any protest of our nation's colors.
"Anybody that won't stand up for the anthem ought to be out of the country," he said. "Period."
Additionally, longtime owner Richard Childress said that any driver or crew member protest will "get [them] a ride on a Greyhound bus."

That's the way to let people know we won't tolerate none of that anti-patriotic nonsense in NASCAR. Of course, probably no one much cares because we have exactly one, count'em, one African-American in the Cup Series...and he's part-time. And we treated the one before him like crap. And we will probably lose our only female after this year. And then I guess it will be back to the all-white, all-male series the good old boys prefer.

NASCAR has always been more dictatorial than other major sports.

Okay, as for the race, I found it rather boring. Maybe I'm just getting tired of the Martin Truex, Jr. show. At this point, it almost seems, the rest of the field could spot him 20 laps and he'd just drive through them to the front. Pit penalties don't slow him down; wrecks don't slow him down too much although he'd probably have won without that wreck. They have some magic, I'll admit that. I wonder what it is?

The announcers seemed to have a few drivers they concentrated on, like Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who doesn't have a prayer of winning the championship. Meanwhile, they barely mentioned Chase Elliott. They never bothered to tell me what happened to Jimmie when he was running about 6th or 7th in the latter part of the race until one of the final pit stops when he was suddenly about 16th. They don't have to dwell on it but maybe just mention what happened.

You can probably tell that I'm a grouch tonight. I'll try to do better next time...if you're still here.

Monday, September 18, 2017

Bitch Session


                                                  Image result for nascar chicagoland 2017

* Well, the first race in the championship is under our belt and it ended in a totally expected way, as good as Furniture Row has been all year. Honestly, I like Martin Truex, Jr. I would not mind seeing him win the championship this year. But I've got to say, the superiority of the 78 is starting to make the races rather boring.

I agree to some extent with Brad Keselowski. When I first became a NASCAR fan, the honchos of the sport were all about "parity". They trumpeted this theme constantly. Most of the changes they made were in the hope of making the cars more competitive with one another.

That seems to have changed. In this part of the season, the Toyotas appear to have the most speed over all. That doesn't bother me. It happens. One manufacturer makes gains and gets an edge. Then the others catch up and it starts all over. Next time, another manufacturer zooms ahead. That's the natural course of events.

But what doesn't seem natural is that one team is consistently faster than everyone else. So far ahead that they can get two huge penalties for pit road violations and it's like it never even happened. Start at the back twice and in no time, they pass all the other cars and they're back up front.

The 78 is so far ahead in points from winning races and stages, barring  a catastrophe, I don't see how anyone else can hope to catch up.

What makes them so much faster? Does NASCAR know? Do they care? Inquiring minds want to know.

I would say the same if it was Jimmie. I always root for him to win but I like the races best where he has to fight for it. A season where the same car dominates week after week loses part of the fun even if that car is my car.

* And, oh, for God's sake, the way the reporters handled the back and forth between Kes and Kyle B regarding Toyotas being faster showed their delicate sensitivities.

"Kyle's tweet was so foul," they simpered, "we can't even tell you what it was."

Really? STFU? I only see that on Facebook about a 100 times a day. Isn't the he-man sport being a little politically correct here?

* I absolutely hate it that Danica Patrick won't return to Stewart Haas. I hope she gets a ride somewhere. I don't care if she isn't at the top of the leaderboard, NASCAR needs a female presence to encourage all the young girls who dream of being race car drivers. She adds something to the NASCAR family portrait of all those white male faces.

* So many drivers losing their rides? Besides Danica, there's Matt Kenseth, Kurt Busch (what do we know about Kurt Busch?), Aric Almirola, Kasey Kahne and probably more I'm forgetting. I'm all for the youth movement but that's two past champions left by the wayside along with the winners of other races.

Hard on an old lady's memory. I keep getting the two new kids at Hendrick confused. It will probably take me a couple of months next year to get everyone settled in their places.


Monday, September 11, 2017

Sweet Sixteen

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There they are: our championship contenders. I say that but I think some of them are not really serious contenders. Austen Dillon is probably not going to be holding the trophy after Homestead. Or Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. or Ryan Blaney or Ryan Newman  or, I'm sorry about this one, Jamie McMurray or Kasey Kahne or Matt Kenseth or Kurt Busch or - don't give me the evil eye Chase fans but I don't think there's any way he can pull it off either..

If I were laying a bet, I'd put my money down on Martin Truex, Jr. His team's performance has been superlative all season and he has a pot load of points going in from winning stages and races. Second, I'd place Kyle Larson ahead of Kyle Busch. They've both been brilliant at times but neither have had Martin's season-long consistency. Jimmie can never be counted out and neither can Harvick although they'd both need to pick up the pace considerably to emerge as the champion. Keselowski? Yes, it's possible. Hamlin? Maybe. We saw in the Darlington race that he sometimes has the ability to practically carry a car on his back, especially if he's feeling guilty over making a mistake.

So, there's how I see it although I'm not adamant about it and I'd be thrilled if a dark horse came along and won, like Jamie McMurray or Matt Kenseth.

Other thoughts about the regular season:

*Poor Matt Kenseth - what a freaky accident following a freakily, un-Kenseth-like year.

*Too bad Junior didn't make it in last season. And Logano didn't make it because of an encumbered race.

* Numbers - there seemed to be quite a to-do on the Nascar threads about William Byron and Chase Elliott switching numbers but it seems perfectly logical to me. The 9 was Bill Elliott's number. Of course, his son would want to drive it. And as for William Byron, what driver wouldn't be thrilled to get behind the wheel of the 24?

Hendrick will certainly be a completely different team next year with Jimmie as the only old timer and then a bunch of kids. Let's see - it's Chase in the 9, Alex Bowman in the 88 and William Byron in the 24. I'll have to practice that a few times before next season begins.

* I will, as always, root for Jimmie. I'd like to see him win his 8th championship and at least one Monster Energy trophy, which, incidentally, I think is striking and beautiful. If not him, then Kyle Larson. I know that Martin Truex, Jr. has earned it but if he can't get the job done with that huge head start then oh, well....such is life.

* Why is the 78 so much better than anyone else? I wonder if it has anything to do with being based in Colorado? I've always heard you can't keep a secret in the NASCAR garage. If someone finds something, pretty soon they all have it. But Furniture Row can work in secret.

* One more time, I will say, I wish NASCAR would lighten up a little....two encumbered races, too many not passing final inspection for being slightly out of spec or having a loose lugnut, fines, crew chiefs sitting out races.....

And now, onward and upward to the championship!