Wednesday, September 29, 2010

NASCAR: The Fix is In

NASCAR upheld its own penalty assessed to Richard Childress/Clint Bowyer's Cup Car. Gee, what a surprise. And for a brief moment I thought they might actually have the guts to admit they had made a stupid mistake/assessment.

They've done a lot of in-credible things in the past, but this might just top them all. Good thing we have NFL Sunday football to watch--at least that's usually pretty competitive!!!

Monday, September 27, 2010

NASCAR Has Finally “Jumped the Shark” with Penalty to Bowyer/Childress

NASCAR is really in-credible. As in totally not credible any more. If anyone had doubts before, the sanctioning body led by Helton, Darby and cohorts’ antics in penalizing Clint Bowyer’s race-winning Cup car THREE DAYS after the New Hampshire race should firmly set those doubts to rest. Just when you think the folks that run this racing series can’t do anything more ludicrous, they absolutely top themselves. The #33 car that Bowyer drives, owned by Richard Childress, was inspected, as are all cars competing, before the weekend activities started, before qualifying inspection, before the race, and also AFTER THE RACE in post-race inspection. According to NASCAR officials, it passed inspection every time. Then, inexplicably, when the car was transported by NASCAR to be re-examined at the NASCAR R&D headquarters in Concord, NC it was deemed to have been ‘illegal’ because of less than 1/16th of an inch—roughly the thickness of a quarter—in the height of the rear panel, according to NASCAR’s templates. Never mind that the car had been pushed from the back by a wrecker, hit in the bumper by other drivers congratulating Bowyer on the win, and examined on the spot in New Hampshire, post-race. I guess if you keep examining something, determined to find a fault, sooner or later you will. Who did this benefit? That’s the question that needs to be addressed.

There are a multitude of problems with this entire scenario and the sudden interest by NASCAR in penalizing Bowyer’s team right after the very first “Chase” race. The prime issue, though, is the challenge to Richard Childress’ integrity and the integrity of his organization. Richard Childress is one of, if not THE most respected owners in racing. Along with Richard Petty and Joe Gibbs, he has a stellar reputation and has sustained this through his entire career in racing. Definitely an opposite to NASCAR’s favored Rick Hendrick, whose felony bribery conviction during the Honda bribery scandals of the late 1980’s have been subject to revisionist history in attempts to sweep the information under the rug and keep newer fans unaware of Hendrick’s illegal doings. If you can find a copy of the book, Arrogance and Accords: Inside the Honda Bribery Scandals, you will undoubtedly receive an eye-opening education about the vast sums of money involved (over $250 million back then—a vast sum now and an even vaster sum in the economy of that decade). It’s almost as though NASCAR has suddenly decided to sling mud at Childress in order to sully his stellar reputation. Childress’ storied career as a car owner and close friend of his driver, Dale Earnhardt is the stuff of racing history. The very best of racing history. For NASCAR to try and slime Childress in this manner is truly troubling, particularly when there is so little in NASCAR Cup racing to get excited about anymore. Fans are staying away in droves and many of us never thought you’d be able to walk up to the ticket window at Bristol on race day and get a good seat for that event. But, you can.

One thing that NASCAR has yet to explain is what possible ‘cheating’ advantage could have been gained by having the rear of the car off by 1/60,000.” Perhaps that is because there simply is no advantage whatsoever in this.

When one looks at all the empty grandstand seats, race after race, it has to beg the question as to Why are fans staying away and no longer avidly interested in the sport? We know NASCAR has been trying to figure this out by way of establishing their “fan council” – years ago, NASCAR was never worried about what the fans thought of their doings because every race was sold out a year or more in advance. And, the folks that run NASCAR just won’t admit that a vast majority of race fans do not like, support or have regard for the Hendrick drivers, particularly Jimmie Johnson. Johnson has never shown himself to be fan-friendly, and while he is a competent driver, his success is seen as a result of a combination of obscene amounts of money spent on cars and equipment, NASCAR’s sanctioning of his crew chief who has been penalized repeatedly over the years for many cheating infractions, and a “keep out of his way” dictate by NASCAR –particularly when it comes to the final countdown races in the Chase.

This is the perception of a wide majority of fans—and former fans who no longer pay prime dollars to buy tickets in a racing series which still seems to pander to the mega-rich. Particularly when they are worrying about how to buy groceries, pay the rent or buy schoolbooks for their kids while NASCAR crew chiefs, driver and owners are tooling around Lake Norman and building their multi-million dollar homes, buying planes and all the trappings of having ‘moved on up’ to the East Side. Just let a poor independent like a Jeremy Mayfield or a Carl Long who is hanging on by their shoelaces because they love the sport and want to race run afoul of NASCAR and they are unceremoniously booted out of the sport.

So, what’s behind this penalty? Figure it out. And when that trophy is handed to Johnson at Las Vegas, with his name likely already engraved on it as of September 2010, NASCAR will still be wondering why there are yet more empty seats next season. I call it the Earnhardt effect. Fans of Dale’s tried to stay interested but have gradually faded away because there is no one in the sport who can spark their passion and imagination like Dale did. At one time, Tony Stewart might have picked up the torch, but his alliance with Rick Hendrick has taken the luster off of that notion. As far as Dale Junior—from the moment he left his father’s company to go ride around in a race car for the one team owner that Dale Senior’s fans could not abide—his impact has lessened to the point where he is just another mediocre driver who happens to have a famous family name. It’s a shame, really. Hendrick lured Junior away under the pretext of helping him win championships. Only problem is, there can only be one champion each season, and Junior had to get in line behind Gordon and Johnson. By the time those two finally decide to hang it up, Junior’s time will have been long gone. One wonders who really convinced Dale Junior that he was better off away from DEI. It’s as if someone wanted to attempt to tear down Dale Senior’s legacy and keep DEI from succeeding.

No one likes a sport that is perceived to be weighted or ‘fixed’—and that perception has been tainting NASCAR’s top racing level for the past several years.

The only way NASCAR can remove the egg it has spread on its own face after this ‘penalty’ was imposed is to overturn it. And, sadly, even that might not be enough to put the credible back into the way they are running this sport.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Where are all these Keselowski Apologists Coming From?

Did anyone see the race at Talladega last year, when Brad Keselowski sent Carl Edwards' car up into the fence, injuring a fan? Did anyone see the first race Keselowski 'won' when he wrecked the leaders to get the victory? Or the second race he 'won' when he did the same thing? Does anyone else ever notice these things?

And now, because Carl Edwards is racing Keselowski the same way the Keselowski is racing him--suddenly there is an outraged hue and cry about Edwards' driving and wrecking Keselowski in the Nationwide race last Saturday night at Gateway. Do all these media folk even watch the races? Did they not see Keselowski try to wreck Edwards on the previous lap? Some of the articles online are ludicrous. One guy in Florida goes as far as to say park Edwards before he kills someone. Really? Are you that worried about that happening or just looking for a way to get readership?

It can't be both ways. Keselowski has a long, ugly record and reputation for dirty driving--which apparently is hereditary--and when a driver tries to take you out repeatedly for the win, you have two choices--stand up for yourself or roll over and let the bully win. I'm not a fan of Carl Edwards, but I like that he doesn't take it from a dirty driver like Keselowski.

I've been amazed at all the TV and race writers who have jumped on the Keselowski bandwagon. Where were they last year, when Keselowski was getting away with wrecking everyone around him? Carl managed to save his car when Brad tried to wreck him. Brad just didn't have the talent to save his own car when he got a wee bit of payback.

And Bob Keselowski--Brad's father--should have his NASCAR hardcard pulled for the comments he made on television after the wreck. So, he wants to get his driver suit on and go out on the track and take out Carl. What's wrong with this scenario? Complain about someone wrecking your son and how he drives, then go out and do the same to him in revenge? Yeah, Bob, that's mature. Joey Logano's father had his hardcard pulled last year for getting involved in an argument after the race--Keselowski's dad should have his card pulled for the remarks he made on national TV.

Saturday, July 10, 2010

Johnson and Bonus Points Make Mockery of Chase for the Cup

It's very simple. Bonus points are going to affect the way the top 12 drivers line up for the Chase for the Cup once that field is set, and as it stands, Jimmie Johnson will be ranked first regardless of which position he is in because of the bonus point system. Yet another reason fans are disgusted with the Chase format.

We all know Hendrick's 48 team is trying to lie low and play possum til the chase starts. Otherwise, there would be even LESS viewership and even LESS seats sold at the no longer sell-out tracks.

Did anyone doubt that Dale Jr. was going to win at Daytona in the #3 Wrangler car? I could have made a fortune if I could find anyone dumb enough to bet against that one. Diecast sales HAVE been in a bad slump.

A little parity in the sport would have done wonders. Now, anything NASCAR does is just going to be more of the same -- too little, too late.

Monday, April 19, 2010

What is Jamie McMurray Doing in a Hendrick Car?

One has to suppose that gluttonous multi-team millionaire owner Rick Hendrick is trying to figure out if Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing has any info he needs, since Jamie McMurray has accepted a Nationwide Series ride in the JR Motorsports (run by Rick Hendrick) car. What are Chip Ganassi and Teresa Earnhardt thinking??? It's highly suspect to have one of their Cup drivers desert their organization to take a Nationwide ride for Dale Junior's team. After all, there obviously isn't much love lost between the parties involved....Inquiring minds wonder what's going on.....

Sunday, March 7, 2010

Keselowski Got What He Had Coming

You know, you have to be certified blind or a total fool if you don't think Brad Keselowski deserves a bit of payback for repeatedly wrecking other, better drivers. Keselowski pushed his way into Cup by aggressive driving and it's amazing that Roger Penske actually hired him to drive the 12 car to start with. So maybe Carl Edwards paid Keselowski back this afternoon. A lot of other drivers owe Keselowski a punt, as well. NASCAR claims they're going to let the drivers police themselves. Yeah, right. That lie has already been thrown out with the trash. Keselowski whined after his car wrecked at Atlanta--what's that old saying about the 'pot calling the kettle black'? If NASCAR won't stop him before he seriously injures another driver, then the other drivers have no choice but to let this immature, untalented bully know that his style of 'driving' is not acceptable.