If I ruled the NASCAR world, I would be a benevolent dictator, issuing edicts for the good of all who reside in my racing realm.
These would be my decrees for the week of October 23 – October 30, 2005:
The Dictator’s Decrees:
- If I ever remarry, I want a bridal shower just like the one in that funny shopping commercial, where all the betrothed receives is NASCAR merchandise.
- I would ensure that it is always as bright and sunny at future Martinsville races as it was on Sunday. After the dreary weekend weather, it was a welcome change.
- If I ever got the opportunity to turn some laps at Martinsville, remind me to take my Dramamine.
- The Palace Praise:
- To Tony Stewart, for keeping things interesting with his comments just minutes into the pre-race show. Stewart said that he felt like he was preparing for war, explaining, “They want war, they’ve got it. We’ve been listening to Chad Knaus trash-talk all day yesterday, so I thought it was pretty funny – it sounded like a junior high kid out there. So you know, if he wants war, he’s got it today.” Here’s to a Stewart-Johnson rivalry.
- To NBC, for a tasteful tribute to the victims of the Hendrick plane crash which occurred one year ago at this race. The segment was appropriate in both length and content.
- To Rusty Wallace, for being able to admit that he has cries more now than in his younger days, when he always tried to maintain a certain level of tough-guy bravado.
- To Casey Mears, for confidently showing the world that real men do wear – and drive – pink. And for a good cause, too.
- To Kyle Busch and Ken Schrader, starting side-by-side in Row 12. Schrader started racing in the Cup series in 1984 – the year before Kyle Busch was born.
- To Bill Weber, for being the first to say exactly what I was thinking about Chad Knaus’ plan to rattle Tony Stewart before the race. Said Weber, “I’m not sure I’d want to do anything to motivate Tony Stewart to a higher degree than he already starts the race in.”
- To Denny Hamlin, for two top-10’s in just three Cup starts this year.
- To Mark Martin, for reminding his crew to use their heads: “You don’t want me to start thinking for you!” Martin warned.
- To Greg Biffle, for reminding us why he is widely regarded as one of the best at saving a sideways car.
The Official Inquiries:
- I wonder how Jack Roush reacted to the Greg Biffle comment, “Company wide, all the Roush cars are slow” at Martinsville.
- Anyone care to speculate who Rusty Wallace meant when he said that there are a lot of drivers, “with no personalities, and the fans don’t pull for them?” Could it be the heir-apparent to his own ride?
- Am I the only one who has trouble understanding what some of the drivers mean in their pre-race interviews? Example from Sunday: “At this time last year, Jimmie Johnson was about half the points more than what we are right now.” – Jeremy Mayfield.
- Didn’t that the pro wrestler who hoisted Marty Snider over his head look like he might need a truss as a result?
- Why was Jamie O’Neal, this week’s national anthem singer, wearing a Greg Biffle team jacket?
The Royal Reprimands:
- To Bill Weber, for picking Rusty Wallace as the driver most likely to win the race, based on his seven prior victories at Martinsville. Six of those occurred in 1996 or earlier; since then, Wallace has had just one win in 19 Martinsville appearances, and he’s the only driver in the Chase who hasn’t won a race this year. I’m all for rooting for the sentimental favorite, but let’s keep the facts in mind.
- To the 2 and 12 teams, for still being unable to communicate with each other, despite the fact that it would be mutually beneficial to do so. Apparently, Roger Penske went back and forth between the two teams before the race, attempting to orchestrate some pit road cooperation between his two drivers, who had adjacent pit stalls.
- To the 48 and the 5, for contact on pit road. It never looks good when there’s contact between teammates.
- To Kurt Busch, for unnecessary roughness in punting the 15.
- To the NASCAR official who threw the green flag at Lap 296 with Hermie Sadler’s car clearly stalled on the frontstretch. That was incredibly dangerous and completely avoidable.
Commissioner Appointment of the Week: A Commissioner of Clichés, to track the number of times that trite phrases are repeated by the broadcast crew, and to issue warnings and reprimands as indicated. During Sunday’s race, Bill Weber referred to the 20 car as “the class of the field” at least four times and possibly more. Bill, it’s time to change up the vocabulary a little.
Magic 8-Ball Question of the Week:
Question: Will NBC ever stop displaying those completely irrelevant graphics that show the points standings in the middle of the race?
The Magic 8-Ball says: Better not tell you now.
“Lucky Dork” Award of the Week: To Marty Snider, for referring to Martinsville as the site of Rusty Wallace’s “last win.” With four races to go before he retires, a better choice of words would have been “most recent win.” I’m willing to bet Rusty hopes that the April 2004 victory at Martinsville won’t be his last.
And finally … When the 19th caution came out Sunday, it marked the fourth race in a row to see a record number of cautions, counting both the Busch and Cup races over the past two weekends. 113 of 500 total laps were run under caution in the Cup race at Martinsville, and that’s way too many. With NASCAR mandating ever closer parity between cars, and with some drivers taking an all-too-cavalier approach to turning their competitors, the situation is unlikely to remedy itself. Each week the interval of real racing seems to get shorter, while that of yellow flag laps and commercials gets longer. If the balance continues to shift, soon there simply won’t be enough uninterrupted green-flag racing to keep the viewers interested. This trend is troubling, and I hope that the executives at NASCAR and at the network have a plan to combat the situation.
Until next week, I remain your Benevolent Dictator … Rebecca
©2000 - 2008 Becca Gladden and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!