The Frontstretch: Where, Oh Where Has the Underdog Gone? by Amy Henderson -- Thursday November 19, 2009

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Where, Oh Where Has the Underdog Gone?

Holding A Pretty Wheel · Amy Henderson · Thursday November 19, 2009


I thought it was the racing. There’s always something when the love affair is going south. So, I thought it was the racing. After all, that’s what everyone is saying, isn’t it? That the quality of racing just isn’t as good as it used to be. Whether it’s the cars, or the tracks, it’s just not as fun anymore, right? It had to be the racing.

Except, it’s not the racing.

Or at least not exactly. If you take drivers, numbers, and the car style away, you’re left with just racing-and it’s really not that much worse than I remember it being a decade ago. But the new car, you say-the new car has ruined racing, because nobody can pass and the leader just drives away. But wait, I say. The old car had a terrible aero push at some tracks-drivers might catch a guy, but passing was difficult at best at some venues, and I remember a lot of races with margins of victory well over five seconds in that car. I remember races with three or four lead changes. I remember wishing they would just fix these cars so these guys could pass. And whether the diehard CoT haters want to acknowledge it or not, there have been some very good races with this car-at tracks that produce that type of racing. Cookie cutters race like cookie cutters raced ten years ago. There were races in the not-too-distant past where fewer than five drivers finished on the lead lap, and that wasn’t a rare occurrence, either.

So, it’s the Chase, you say-the Chase has changed the way teams race-stroke to get in, race for points but without taking risks, and cruise at Homestead to protect a lead. But wait, I say. Points racing isn’t new either. Under the “old” modern era points system, championships were won on points racing-racing for consistency over wins was certainly going on-winning involves risk, and points racing involves less risk. Guys won titles before on settling for top fives and tens. I’m not saying it’s right, but it’s not new, either. Back in the day, racers could cherry-pick their best tracks and win a championship that way-not good at Talladega? Race Wednesday at a short track instead. Again, they worked within the system they had. The Chase is an ill-conceived gimmick, but it’s not the reason it’s not as much fun either.

Well, then, it must be the drivers. Jimmie Johnson is boring, Kyle Busch is a whiney brat, and Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is a no-talent SOB (just ask Tony Stewart). And I say-now you’re onto something. It is the drivers, but not because of their personalities or their commercial images. It’s not because one is boring, one whines, and another drives like your grandmother. It’s because, in a day when the sport supposedly has more parity than ever, there’s no place for the underdog in this game anymore.

On paper, wins this season have been meted out over fourteen different drivers. That’s a good number. A decade ago, the 1999 season saw just twelve different winners-yet when I look at the races in the late nineties, I don’t remember ever feeling like many fans today seem to feel-like a driver not with one of the top teams could never win a race. Back then, there was at least the illusion that there was a chance.

Here’s what I mean. Of the fourteen winners in 2009, three (Jimmie Johnson, Mark Martin, Jeff Gordon) drive for Hendrick Motorsports. Three others drive for Joe Gibbs (Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Joey Logano). Two more (Matt Kenseth, Jamie McMurray) enjoy the benefits of driving for Roush Fenway Racing. Kurt Busch races for Penske racing-a second tier team; hardly an underdog. Both Brad Keselowski and Tony Stewart race for teams who were heavily supplied by Hendrick. Kasey Kahne also runs for a second-tier team-Richard Petty Motorsports, but that team is hardly underfunded and Kahne should be expected to win a couple. That leaves Brian Vickers and David Reutimann as the only two winners not driving for teams you expect to see in Victory Lane. Throw in that Vickers’ Team Red Bull cars are heavily factory backed from Toyota’s deep pockets and that Reutimann’s win came due more to luck than anything-a rainstorm sealed his victory, and there aren’t many compelling stories to be had.

1999, on the other hand, did have a couple of surprises, and a couple of near-misses. In a season where there were several races with little excitement in the racing itself, there were races that were compelling for other reasons. Robert Yates Racing was the powerhouse team in 1999, winning the championship with driver Dale Jarrett. And among the race winners were some stories-real, compelling stories that made you want to watch next week, just to see what would happen. John Andretti won for Petty Enterprises, a team in the twilight of a storied history as long as NASCAR’s own. It would be the team’s last time basking in the glow of victory.

And then there came a pair of first wins as summer turned to fall-promising rookie Tony Stewart got his first win in Richmond-but it should, by rights, have come sooner.Strewart had had nearly a full lap lead at Loudon but was a few laps short on fuel. They probably had time to pit for a splash of gas and keep the lead, but opted for the gamble-and ran dry. Next in line was Andretti, but he ran out as well. That opened the door for Jeff Burton to win his third straight summer race at Loudon, but it was almost perpetual underdog Kenny Wallace taking the checkers, finishing short of Burton as Burton finished on fumes. Sure, in the end, the powerhouse team prevailed-but for a while you thought it would be, could be the rookie, the King’s man, the younger brother of the champion who never really had a chance to prove himself. It could have been.

Once upon a time in NASCAR, it seemed possible that underdogs like Joe Nemechek could win races.

Joe Nemechek also won his first Cup race in 1999 racing for owner Felix Sabates-Sabates’ last win as a full owner, as it turns out. Another compelling almost-win came in Darlington, at the Southern 500, where Jeff Burton beat older brother Ward to the line, but not without protest on Ward’s part in the form of racing his brother as hard as a man can race and still stay clean. Ward drove for second-tier Bill Davis Racing, Jeff for top-rated Roush.

Years ago, you could believe in miracles. There was, if not a concrete reality, the illusion that this week, anything could happen. A driver could win a first race, and a veteran could win his last. It could happen, you could see it, feel it. Today…that feeling is gone. It stirs every once in a while-during Vickers’ win, or hard-luck Elliott Sadler losing the Daytona 500 by 30 seconds of dry weather, but mostly, sleeping underdogs just lie-dormant, perhaps dreaming of better times, days when there was at least the illusion of impending glory-smoke and mirrors, perhaps, but it at least felt real.

Races today are too predictable-not because of the new car , or even the racing itself-that’s pretty much the same-some good ones, some terrible ones, a few point strokers, and some plain mediocrity. But there’s no real hope anymore-no illusion that this week’s winner might just be John Andretti, or Kenny Wallace, or Ken Schrader. It might have been owner-driver Ricky Rudd or underfunded Ricky Craven.

No, those days are past. Now, if the winner doesn’t come from one of the Big Three, he’ll come from close by, or from a heavily funded factory team. He won’t come from the independent ranks, or those of the underfunded. The underdog is gone in NASCAR. And at least from where I sit, that may be the biggest loss of the 21st Century era-and NASCAR’s biggest problem. I don’t want the love affair to end. I want to think it can be good again. I miss the illusion.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
A Swan’s Broken Wings Equal NASCAR’s Next Concern?
Thinkin’ Out Loud – The Off Week Season Review
Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
Sprint Cup Series Facilities Can Build Upon Fan Experience by Looking to Their Roots


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11/19/2009 11:27 PM

I absolutely agree. The racing this year has been just as good or better than it ever has. Think about it, drivers used to regularly win by 10 seconds or even lead every single lap in a race. The problem is that the possibility of a single car or low budget team winning is zero now. The demise of Petty Enterprises and Bill Davis Racing have signaled that the future will be just a few major teams. It really is sad seeing capable drivers like Dave Blaney and Mike Bliss being relegated to start and park roles.

11/20/2009 07:07 AM

My husband and I had a conversation last night..I told him I almost felt sorry for Johnson…here he is on the verge of his fourth in a row..and over 50% of the fans really don’t care. I am not a fan of JJ’s..and I realize it’s a big deal for JJ…but I still can’t wait for Sunday to be over so maybe I can quiet the accolades of the 48 ringing in my ears and stifle the visions of the 48 crossing the checkers first. My husband then pointed out this is normal for NASCAR..and in ALL sports. He went on to say..“do you think the non fans of the Cowboys or the Yankees or even Tiger Woods enjoy seeing the super forces winning over and over and over? “ It’s not good for ANY sport…from a fans point of view. The problem magnifies itself in NASCAR because we have ALL 43 teams on the track at once..and the media has chose to magnify the coverage on the 48…ignore the other 42 teams..(unless they are running around the 48 or crash)..thus frustrating the fans who are waiting to see or hear how their favorite driver is doing..whether in 1st or 43rd. With the exception of golf a fan is going to see and hear about his team all during the event. Maybe NASCAR and the media could take a few notes from this and try and cover the season alittle more by the end of the season the fans won’t be “over” whoever the champs turns out to be before he receives the trophy. But in the meantime JJ..sorry…but I have heard your name and seen your car more in this past season then I have my own while you’re off celebrating your four in a row I think I will go out and see if I still remember what my own children look like!

Bill B
11/20/2009 08:03 AM

The underdogs still have a chance of winning at the restrictor plate races. After all they are crap-shoots. Of course if you look at the field, the underdogs are basically the start and parker cars. It’s hard to win when your not on the track.

the Turnip!
11/20/2009 08:15 AM

Well, trying to make lemonade out of a lemons is not going to work when discussing NA$CRAP!

You make it sound like the “poor racing” is all in our collective minds!

Well, the facts are, THE STANDS ARE EMPTY!


Cased closed! As far as I am concerned!

Make sure you put lots of sugar in your lemonade, cause nothing will disguise the bad taste NA$CRAP leaves in one’s mouth!

The Turtle
11/20/2009 08:37 AM

Once again Amy you show that not only do you know nothing about racing, it is obvious you don’t watch the races either.
This year was the freaking worst year ever, in fact it makes the year of the 5X5 rule look Great.
And who cares that Jimmy is going for 4 in a row?
It is the chase format, you can not compare it to any of the other past championships that were based on an entire years performance. This just a made up Championship that is totally meaningless and has ruined racing. Why even race 36 races any more? Just have 10 races for the year. Brian Farce can choose the 10 people who he wants to race for those 10 races. Then he can manipulate them via cautions and rule changes so Jimmy can win 5.
That way he will only need 10 sponsors for the cars and 10 sponsors for his tracks.
And we won’t have to suffer for 8 months of BS.
Heck he can just scrap the racing all together and just crown Jimmy next year at a big celebration in Feb at Daytona. Hell just think of the money he’ll save the Owners.
My Christmas wish for this year is for Tom and Matt to make this particular Friday column go away.

Don Mei
11/20/2009 09:24 AM

I disagree. Its the car to a large degree. What we now have is a spec car and rules that allow very little latitude in how the car is set up. That scenario favors the large , well funded teams at the expense of the smaller teams because it stifles innovation and creativity and rewards microscopic and relentless attention to detail.Loosen up the rules a bit so that there can be some variation in how different teams approach different race tracks and it might be fun again to watch. For example, make the rear spoiler adjustable so that team A can choose more downforce to help handling and team B can go for less angle thereby increasing speed but making the car more difficult to handle. That might showcase drivers who are really good at dealing with variations in handling during a race. I could go on and on but as we get closer and closer to the cars all being completely interchangable its all going to get worse.

11/20/2009 09:28 AM

Go to the Bristol Speedway website and see tix available. 10 years ago you could not find tix at a fair price now you can’t give them away. Enough said.

Brian from Indiana
11/20/2009 09:57 AM

NASCAR engineered the small teams right out of NASCAR. The Chase Stinks, the cars are nothing more than stickers and we have to listen to the shills of broadcasting like Larry McReynolds, Darryl Whinebag (oops, I mean Waltrip, Jeff Hammond and the rest who are NASCARs premier Spin Doctors who try to tell us everything is just fine. The cars are UGLY! PERIOD AND END OF STORY! Does your head even give a second look at a Camry or an Impala, or do you notice every Challenger and or Mustang? If you say the Camry or Impala, please check for testicular fortitude. I drool over the look of the old racecars (up to the late 80’s. NASCAR and the Titanic have one thing in common, they both thought the end would never come!

11/20/2009 10:14 AM

Amy, I hope that during the off season, brian farce finds another job for you. The nascrap propaganda coming from you is getting old on FS!! Just plain don’t care about your company line anymore!!

Josh Corder
11/20/2009 10:22 AM

Fabulous article and I agree entirely. It’s not so much the vanilla drivers or the car was it is the BIG POWERHOUSE owners. Anyone think Paul Menard will contend for a race? I think not.

11/20/2009 12:44 PM

@wcfan – I once heard the hardest tickets to get for ANY venue was The Masters. The second hardest was Bristol. Now look our current climate. Yes sir, enough said!

11/20/2009 01:12 PM

People saying that the racing is better because more cars are finishing on the lead lap don’t understand. The field is bunched up constantly by caution flags. I beleive someone on this site wrote an article about the number of caution flags being up this year.

If we never had phony cautions for debris or the like, you can bet these races would end with the leader at least 1 lap ahead of the field in some cases.

Its the phony cautions that are making it look like the racing is better. If the racing is better why do we need nascar to throw phony cautions with 20 laps to go every week the race gets boring towards the end?

Kevin from PA
11/20/2009 01:12 PM

I was originally going to spend a lot of time ranting but instead:

Two reasons why there are no more underdogs:

1) # of owners: In late 90’s (even up to around 2002), most teams were 2 cars. So 43 / 2 = + 20 owners. Much easier to be a small AND THRIVING team if no one controls more than 5% of the pie.

2) Costs: I knew the small teams were over the first time I heard the phrase “5 post shaker” (and then had to read a 10 paragraph story so that it could be explained to a non-Engineer).

So basically asking why there are no more “underdogs” is like asking why I only see Wal-Marts, Macy’s, and Target when I go shopping.

11/20/2009 01:24 PM

Huh. I started reading before seeing who wrote the article then I said, “I bet Amy wrote this”. And I was right.

“So basically asking why there are no more “underdogs” is like asking why I only see Wal-Marts, Macy’s, and Target when I go shopping.”


And if I had to put a dollar in the bank every time Amy mentioned her hatred for Kyle, I could pay off my truck.

11/20/2009 01:27 PM

I’m sorry, but the racing, or lack thereof, speaks very loudly for itself. Other then good safety features (thank God) this car is a piece of crapola. As far as the tracks go how can you compare 1 1/2 mile cooker cutter tracks (Kansas, Chicago, Texas, etc.) with some of the older tracks nas$crap got ride of (The Rock, North Wilkesboro). Most of the drivers have the personality of a fencepost. Or at least that’s what they’re allowed to show. As for underdogs, not allowed. Just ask Carl Long. Look how the list of start and parkers has spread to the other two series’. In the mean time the rich get richer in Hendricks Cup. Deny that one. I think the fans have spoken very loudly with the empty grandstands and lousy tv ratings.. You and other nas$crap apologists need to come out of the bubble you’re living in and look at the real state of the game. If I offend you and other shills so be it. I’ve been a fan for 25+ years and have watched the downward spiral from the eyes of a fan. Get real.

11/20/2009 02:03 PM

Geeezzz Amy , all the way back to the beginning of NASCAR, 1999 . Or at least thats the begining of NASCAR where the Frontstretch writers are concerned . It would be pointless to mention the names Moore , Marcus , or Donlevy because they raced back before the Y2K .
The independents have been run out of racing by NASCAR for the last 30 years . Not necessarily on purpose , just simply because NASCAR began to write the rules and conduct the races in such a way to entice the very wealthy sponsors and owners . NASCAR was aware that the independents were dropping by the wayside , but big money was far more important to them than the small teams . Some independents , like Richard Childress managed to hang on and prosper .
There are certainly still underdogs left . Kevin Buckler comes to mind , although Kevin is a very wealthy man with a small team . Thats not really an independent . The RPM team is another example of that .
Thankfully not everyone has forgotten the true struggling independents . Tony Stewart and Kevin Harvick contribute parts and money to help keep Morgan Shepard on the track .

Kevin from PA
11/20/2009 02:06 PM

Sorry – I have to sneak in (opinion) #3:

C) No sponsors. I truly will forever wonder how many small teams could have been saved if sponsors were forced to sponsor teams instead of being the official XXXX of NASCAR. (No, I am not stupid – I know you gets the money in this case – another reason why NASCAR needs someone to watch over it that doesn’t have a financial vested interest)

To me this is a 2-problem problem:

1) Obviouslly a small team driving around in a white car will not last as long as a small team with a sponsor.

2) I think fans really don’t associate with the official XXX of NASCAR as compared to “hey that company support my driver therefore I will buy their stuff”. Which means sponsor X sees little bang for the buck and decides to return is not worth the investment and then pulls out.

11/20/2009 02:42 PM

I guess the media will not give up on writing the racing wasn’t any better in the old days (and the “old days” started way before 1999)…who cares? Things are not the same in “these days”…heck..I thought we were supposed to be way ahead in technology…and maybe we are..but besides the great improvements in safety..there is not much else to report good with the COT. I don’t know why the media and NASCAR insists on putting up such a struggle against the fans when it comes to their satisfaction with the racing. WE pay their bills..yeah I know they have sponsors..but WHO do they think pay the sponsors bills? THE FANS! I would think NASCAR and the media would welcome our input..what we like and dislike..sure it will be all over the place..but it can be condensed into some organized good information. No we aren’t engineers…but we do know what we like..what holds our interest…and right now it’s not working for us. AND guess what..if it’s not working for us fans..eventually it won’t be working for NASCAR. And the drivers should have more input..hey they drive the darn things..I bet alot of them have some really good input as to what would help with the cars, the races, the season, the tracks, the rules, and their jobs in general. I don’t think we are fighting against NASCAR..I think it’s more the opposite…the fans have always been there for the sport..but has the sport always been there for us..the people who in reality sign their checks?

11/20/2009 03:28 PM

There are many reasons Nascar is in serious decline. There is no way to pin it on a peticular issue, because there are so many issues.

Here are my issues.

1) Small teams have no chance.

2) The COT. Yea, it’s safer, but it does not look like a Ford, Chevy,or Dodge.

3) Toyota, this is an American sport. Need I say more.

4) Cookie cutter tracks

5) Drivers that are pretty boy coporate sponsors 24/7. Michael Waltrip. What a joke he is

5) Digger on Fox. How annoying.

6)The absolutly HORRIBLE coverage of ESPN.

7) Broadcasters talking about themselves all the time instead of the race. See above.

8) The economy.

9) Boring races on tv. Been to many in person. There is a lot more the tv could cover.

10) The 48 car. Not the driver, not the crew chief. But the absolute obsession from the media about the Jimmy syndron. Yea, it’s a disease entrenched in the media.

11) The Chase. Fans don’t like it. Simple as that.

12) Nascar banned/restricted testing. Only to replace it with 26 weeks of testing on live tv on Sunday afternoons so we get to watch a blowout every year of the Chase.

I’ll clear point 12 up a little. Why do fans want to pay and go see 26 weeks of testing? Or watch that testing on the tv. That is all the Chase has accomplished.

Oh, did I mention the TV coverage? Yea, I think I did. But at the end of the day, Nascar hired them.

It’s not one issue. Nascar has done SO MUCH wrong, the seats are now empty, and the ratings are way down. The overnight ratings for Phoenix were down 17.6% Thats huge. Nascar gets results from the decisions they make. They have not made very many good ones lately.

11/20/2009 03:52 PM

Hey all-I never said this was the only thing wrong with racing-I simply said it’s what I miss the most. And yes, I’m aware that racing started long before 1999-I love watching the old races when they’re on. I compared those two years because I’m too young to remember the racing in the 1960’s and 1970’s-I can’t really compare to races I wasn’t around for! I remember the late 1990’s well, and fondly.

I see a lot of the same issues with the actual racing as I did then-there were a LOT of times when one car dominated, cars could not pass, and the margin of victory was over five seconds. If you’re a regular reader, you know I’m very vocal about the lack of tracks like Rockingham and Darlington. The COT? It needs work, but the old car has serious problems too-lots of times you couldn’t pass because of aero issues. The cars have been a problem for 15 or 20 years-they just traded one set of problems for another, IMO.

I’m a lifelong Red Sox fan-I guess I’ve always loved rooting for the underdog. And I miss the days when I thought one had a chance.

Some people seem to be reading more into this than is there. I find it sad that because I still love racing, that I’m “toeing the comany line.” Again, if you read my columns, I am perfectly willing to criticize NASCAR or anyone else who deserves it. In my eyes, it’s not all doom and gloom-there are still reasons I watch. It seems like a whole lot is being read into a column that is really just a simple lament for days that I remember well but are gone-the days of a true underdog having some kind of a shot-or the illusion of that, even though it didn’t happen very often. I really miss that.

Finally-I haven’t forgotten the struggling independents, and that was the point of this column. Heck, I work with the driver of one of those small teams in the Nationwide Series on his FS diary, and one of our new diaries for 2010 will also feature an independent. Once upon a time, those teams had a real shot at a decent finish-but now it’s a great race when Morgan finishes 13th. Fifteen years ago, he might have had a shot at better. Now, we’re happy with 13th because there was never any hope, real or imagined, that he might get a top five. THAT is what this column meant to say. Nothing more, nothing less.

Carl D.
11/20/2009 04:04 PM

I don’t think the racing is just as good as it used to be, but I agree with you about the underdog factor.

I remember the first year after Alan Kulwicki lost the Zerex sponsorship, he raced a few races with no sponsor. He ended up winning a race (Pocono? I forget) with no sponsor on the hood. It wasn’t long after that Hooters decided to sponsor Kulwicki, and the rest, as they say, is history.

That would never ver happen today. With no sponsor, you can’t even buy yourself the opportunity to start and park.

11/20/2009 05:04 PM

Johnson on the pole, you can be assured I won’t watch a single lap.

11/20/2009 05:39 PM

Aahh Brent..there is a very small bit of hope..JJ has Scott Speed beside him..but alas…Mark Martin is behind Scott will probably take HIM out!!!!

11/20/2009 05:49 PM

Amy…I don’t think we were ignoring what you were actually writing about..but if you haven’t guessed…the fans are just generally rapidly getting “over” NASCAR..and really don’t want we try any outlet to be heard..if you had written about the ministry services at the racetrack you probably would have gotten the same responses as above! No disrespect to you..but the media is one of our outlets and a way to try and let NASCAR know how we feel. So far it doesn’t seem not going to races and not watching the races on TV has helped…NASCAR just keeps insisting its the economy..well yes it is..but trust me..if I was as happy with the racing as I was 6-20 years ago..I would still try my hardest and spend my hard to come by money to go to a couple of races a year. AND TV ratings…hey most everyone has a are not watching the races because of the racing..not the economy or football. It is frustrating..and only NASCAR can fix it. long as there are columnists and the fans will continue to write our opinions about a sport we love..and don’t want to lose.

the Turnip!
11/20/2009 06:16 PM

Hey John P, right on about us fans being asked to buy tickets to Sunday afternoon development sessions for the POS!

I stated this last year, the POS is still under development, why pay to watch in essence, what turns out to be a practice session!

Cause it sure ain’t racin!

Nice analogy!

And you can tell this writer is running out of things to say, this article is really reaching!

11/20/2009 07:16 PM

I think you’re mistaken about the sequence of events that led to Alan’s pairing with Hooters. Alan lost Zerex at the end of 1990. That left the future of the team he owned very much in doubt. Junior Johnson tried to recruit Quickie to come drive his second car. Alan felt he had Maxwell House in hand as a 1991 sponsor, but what Junior knew but could not tell him was that Maxwell House had signed with that second team of Juniors.
Thus Alan started the 1991 season with no sponsor. The First Gulf war was raging, so Winston took five unsponsored drivers and had paid them to run the colors of the five branches of the US military service. Alan ran the Army colors at that year’s Daytona 500 and finished 8th.

The fourth race of that season, Atlanta, Alan won the pole. Hooter’s driver Mark Stahl failed to qualify for the race so Hooters put their decals on Alan’s car. Again Quickie finished eighth. After the race Hooters decided to hitch their wagon to Alan’s 7 team, and the rest as they say is history.

As a footnote Alan was never really comfortable runnning the Hooters sponsorship. A devout Catholic he was uncomfortable doing promo gigs with Hooters Girls all but falling out of thier uniforms. But it paid the bills. A lot of neat stuff happened in this sport prior to 1999.

Kevin in SoCal
11/20/2009 11:20 PM

I’ve learned over the last year or two of reading this website, that if you dont write an article saying the Chase sucks, the drivers are bland, the car sucks, Brian France sucks, the tracks suck, or some combination of the above, the fans and readers of your column will take you to task and call you a NASCAR apologist and accuse you of drinking the kool-aid. Aint this fun?
I rarely agree with Amy’s opinions, but I too can still make lemonade out of the rotten lemons NASCAR has given us lately. And I’m not an optimist, really.

Carl D.
11/21/2009 03:34 PM


Thanks for the correction. It’s been so many years and so many races, and unfortunately, my memory ain’t what it used to be.

You’re right, it was a pole, not a win, that got Alan some notice and the sponsorship from Hooters. I got an opportunity to meet Alan in 1992 at the Hooters in Columbia. It wasn’t much, just a hello, an autograph and a photo op, but I still have ‘em both and would never part with either of them.

11/24/2009 02:43 PM

nascar has to even out the playing field. one way might be you have to actually race to make the “ race”. in other words no “automatics” to make the race. while lower teams are setting up for qualifying, other teams are “ working” on race set ups. also give points for qualifying positions so if you want to be in the race, you actually have to race to get there


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