Tuesday, February 20, 2018
It happens this way every year. I'm so excited for NASCAR to return after the long off-season. God, I've missed cars on the track! So then we all pack up and head for Daytona (figuratively, not literally). Yay!
I enjoy the shorter races - the Clash, the Duels - but then comes the endless 500 itself and I remember how much I dislike plate racing. Knowing that skill has less to do with it than luck, I try to pick enough drivers to root for to give myself a decent chance of choosing the winner - Jimmie, Chase, Byron, Bowman, Danica, Larson, Bubba, Jamie Mac, Blaney. Essentially, it comes down to anybody but JGR or Austen Dillon, or Truex or Joey. And I'm only mildly cheering for any of the Stewart-Hass teams.
So the hours drag by, as drivers try to maneuver for position. Try being the keyword. They want to make a new line but no one will go with them so then they attempt to find a hole to dart back in. They try to jump out but get caught in the middle and hung out to dry. No one seems to be able to touch the leader or maybe they just don't want to be the leader. It's not the best place to be in in restrictor plate racing, unlike other types of racing where you go all out to stay up front.
No one really wants to wreck anyone else but it happens because one false move, one wave of air moving past your backside, and there's a pile of cars caught up in a series of "big ones". A junkyard on the track and in the grass.
One by one, all my favorites get caught up in one of the accidents - Jimmie, Danica, Chase..... At the last, I was rooting for Bubba and Matt DiBenedetto but Matt ended up wrecked too. At least, Bubba finished second.
I don't think plate racing is real competition although I realize it takes talent to be good at it. But I don't like the way you have to go against the grain of racing, like hanging back 'til near the end. I don't like teams linking up together, taking their pit stops together, clinging to one another to push their own guys. Racing should be one on one. I don't like blocking being more important than racing.
Most of all I don't like fabulous cars turned into nothing more than piles of smoking sheet metal. It's a huge waste and proves nothing.
The Daytona 500 always leaves me with the taste of sour grapes in my mouth. Can't wait to get back to real racing in Atlanta
Monday, February 5, 2018
There was an interesting article on the Hendrick Motorsports website this week (thank you, Lisa Covington!) comparing Jimmie Johnson and Tom Brady, quarterback of the New England Patriots. I'm not a huge NFL fan but I do follow it from afar and I do root for Tom Brady for the same reasons I cheer on Jimmie.
There are lots of similarities between the two, like being the old men of their respective sports. Like being handsome (so, sue me, I like good looking men!). Like being accused of cheating because they win too much. Like, probably being the fittest men on their teams.
And that last quality is what I admire most about them. You don't win the number of collective championships they won by cheating. You win them by giving 150 per cent of yourself to your goals and your team. That's what makes champions. We've heard over and over how hard Jimmie drives himself to stay in shape. He bikes, he swims, he runs. Same with Tom.
I respect their passion for getting to the very top in their sport and staying there because I've never felt that way about anything. Tom Brady says football is his religion. I've won a few minor awards for writing but writing is more like a hobby than a religion.
I give my writing my best but my best is not like pushing myself practically every minute of every day. I never expected to win a Pulitzer prize. I did receive the National Presswoman's Annual Award for Commentary once and that was the high point of my writing career such as it was, but I never followed it up with anything spectacular.
For Jimmie and Tom, no trophy or championship is ever "good enough". If they had a championship ring on every finger, they'd still want another....and another.
Even their best isn't good enough. They always want to be better.
And that's why I root for them.