Tuesday, October 17, 2017

Monkey Wrench

                                              Image result for nascar talladega 2017

What the hell was that? It might be entertainment of a sort but you can't really call it a race, unless you call a Demolition Derby a race. I know, I know, lots of people love the excitement of the super speedways but it has always been my least favorite type of racing. I didn't like it when it was pack racing; I didn't like the two-car tandem and I don't care for it now. I don't want to ban it but I don't think it has a place in the championship play-offs.

Championships are supposed to pit the skill and strategy of one team versus the others. There is no skill or strategy in being in a line you can't get out of. There is no skill or strategy in dodging wrecks. That amounts to pure luck. Not dodging them and ending up on the hook is pure luck too....pure bad luck. Fate shouldn't have such a huge role in determining our champion.

For some, like Jamie McMurray, Talladega likely killed any chance he had of ending up in the top eight after next week. Other drivers were luckier (there's that word again) in that as, although they wrecked out, there were other mangled contenders caught up in the melee along with them.

I offered the racing gods a choice of six drivers I would have been happy to see win - Jimmie, Kyle L, Chase, Junior, Jamie Mac or Ryan B. I thought that was a pretty generous offer on my part but evidently, the gods didn't agree. One by one, I watched them head to the garage until only Junior was left with a real chance to win but it didn't work out.

Despite Junior not winning, he had to have had a heartwarming weekend. The governor of Alabama named October 15, Dale Earnhardt Jr. Day. He was presented with his father's old car, the number #3 and drove it for laps around the track. And then on top of that, we found out yesterday that he and Amy are going to have a baby girl. Life seems pretty good for Junior even without another Talladega trophy.

There were grumbles from some drivers about who caused what wreck but I never saw anything egregious, anything that wasn't simply typical Talladega. Jimmie was disgruntled about his penalty for starting to fix his car while the red flag was still out but his spotter, Earl Barban, took the blame for that. These things happen under tense conditions. There was harm but I don't think there was any foul.

I have lost respect for Clint Bowyer these last few years. He was crappy to his "interim" team before coming to Stewart-Haas, like he was lowering himself to race for them. Then he said, more or less, "watch me now that I'm with a team that deserves me". It hasn't turned out exactly as he planned and Sunday, he yelled at his crew in public before leaving the track. Yes, I understand how disappointing this season has been for him when his expectations were so high but taking it out on your team seems to be a habit he's gotten into...and it's not an attractive one. Where is that funny, smiling guy we used to know and love?

Congratulations to Brad for cashing his ticket into the next round of play-offs.
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All of this jumbling up in points, of course, makes Kansas for suspenseful than ever.