The Frontstretch: With The Season Over, I Leave You With a Few Parting Thoughts and Shots by Jeff Meyer -- Friday November 21, 2008

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With The Season Over, I Leave You With a Few Parting Thoughts and Shots

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Friday November 21, 2008


Let’s start with Jimmie Johnson.

While I refuse to compare Jimmie to Cale Yarborough, for the two are uncomparable, it is at this time that I formally congratulate Jimmie Johnson for winning three Cups in a row…

Sprint Cups that is, not Winston Cups, for they too are uncomparable.

Recently, at a meeting of some highly trained minds bent on saving NASCAR as we know it — one that included Mark Dyer, CEO of Motorsports Authentics and others — Dyer shed a little light about Jimmie Johnson and his connection to Winston Cups.

“We went how many years with Winston as the title sponsor?” said Dyer. “Jimmie Johnson told me that he didn’t know Winston was a cigarette; he just thought it was the name of the series.”

And you still say Johnson ain’t “vanilla?” Didn’t know Winston was a cigarette?! Unbelievable!

As I read my local paper today, I discovered the answer to NASCAR’s mystery of why there were so many empty seats in the stands this year.

The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that in the last 11 months of the fiscal year, Americans drove 90 billion fewer miles. No, that was not a typo. 90 BILLION!

I bet they stayed home and watched TV instead. Unfortunately, not only did they not attend NASCAR races, according to this year’s ratings, they watched something else as well. Thank you, Brian France. But hey, I don’t want to be negative here. Perhaps Brian can hold a press conference tying together the fewer miles driven and the empty seats, proclaiming that NASCAR is making great strides in reducing auto emissions — thus saving the entire planet!

With all the talk of mergers in the garage this year, there is one thing that I think has been overlooked… and it is a very sad thing at that.

NASCAR racing will be without a Petty behind the wheel full-time in 2009.

No matter what happens, the Petty influence and association with NASCAR is coming to an end. It amazes me that a Petty does not even have controlling interest in Petty Enterprises anymore; instead, the company is now controlled by Boston Ventures, a bunch of investors. And not only do the Pettys not have control of the company, it is looking more and more like the new owners do not even want a Petty around — meaning the always outspoken Kyle is getting the boot.

While Kyle never did light the NASCAR world on fire, it was still strangely comforting just having him around. Yet as far as I know, Kyle’s actual involvement with the team next year appears to be nil. The last report I saw has him working on plans to run full-time in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, a move Kyle describes as a “step over.” Still, it is sad, sad, sad.

In closing out this column for the year, I am going to go on the record and say, although I do not like Kyle Busch one iota, the punk kid can definitely drive a race car or truck! Hey, I’ve been called many a thing over the past year by many a reader, but stupid ain’t usually one of them. Even I can recognize talent, even if I don’t like it!

So, as usual, ‘til next year, I will try to silence the voices in my head that drive this column. Thank you each and every one for reading. Now, you know what to do…

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Did You Notice? … Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Beyond the Cockpit: Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. on Growing Up Racing and Owner Loyalties
The Frontstretch Five: Flaws Exposed In the New Chase So Far
NASCAR Writer Power Rankings: Top 15 After Darlington
NASCAR Mailbox: Past Winners Aren’t Winning …. Yet
Open Wheel Wednesday: How Can IndyCar Stand Out?


©2000 - 2008 Jeff Meyer and Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

11/21/2008 07:11 AM

PLEASE, don’t ask B. France for another new conference. I read (tired to at least) the transcripts from his last 2 news conferences. I had a hard time just figuring out if he was using real English half the time. He is a buffoon and the worst possible person on earth to be in charge of NA$CAR right now. I can only hope someone with half a brain figures that out and gets that man out of the driver’s seat…..literally.

11/21/2008 08:37 AM

2009 “VANILLA” vs. “PUNK

May the “PUNK” win this time! (or at least make it once again interesting such as this year)

We need excitement!

And I still have a WINSTON CUP racing jacket hanging in my closet!

Shayne Flaherty
11/21/2008 08:53 AM

A big Friday morning “thank you” goes out to Mark, for warning me not to waste my time reading anything Brian France has to say. Jimmie Johnson, What can I say? Hockey has the Stanley Cup. NASCAR had the Winston Cup. Jimmie, here’s your history lessson. Alfred Mortimer Winston III was a Palm Beach elitist that fancied auotmobile racing. Although Alfred was a terrible driver, he was an outstanding minor league baseball catcher. Mr. Winston was involved in a race around Palm Beach (the island) with his archrival, Horatio “Bubba” Phillip Morris, a known moonshiner from North Carolina. Naturally, Bubba won the race and Alfred was devastated. Bubba got out of his car and climbed up on the roof. He bowed down at Alfred and began counting, on his fingers, the number of races he had won. The count ended with eight. Alfred looked for anything to throw at Bubba. He opened his baseball equipment bag. Alfred found his protective cup and hurled it at Bubba. Bubba returned to North Carolina with his cup, Alfred Mortimer Winston III’s cup, the Winston Cup.The rest, Mr. Jimmie Johnson, is history.

Dans Mom
11/21/2008 10:36 AM

Sorry Mr. Meyer, but Jimmie didn’t win 3 Sprint Cups, he won 2 Sprint Cups and a Nextel Cup. Unless of course you factor in the official NASCAR policy making all sponsorship changes to the series retroactive when discussing Cup Championships. In that case, both Jimme and Cale won 3 consecutive Sprint Cups… which to me sounds like the exact same accomplishment.

11/21/2008 10:54 AM

I keep reading, (& writing) variations on the theme. Brian just doesn’t get it. Something finally became clear to me. Namely, When you’re a Billionaire, through no effort of you’re own. YOU DON’T HAVE TO GET IT! You can continue to suck the life out of your series, by signing exclusive marketing agreements, that drive sponsors out of the series, when owners desperately need them. You can suck even more money out by taking sponsors who had their names on cars who are now the “official whatever, of NA$CAR. You can do all this. helping to drive many of your,“independent contractors” into bankruptcy, & guess what? YOU’RE STILL A BILLIONARE! To quote Yakov Smirinov, “ Is this a great country, or what?

11/21/2008 03:24 PM

It will always be Winston Cup, Sorry, I should have said, the money cup, or is NA$CAR MONEYCAR, ASSCARE, perhaps BRYCAR, it sure as hell not racing

Kevin in SoCal
11/21/2008 03:56 PM

Dans Mom: 2006 and 2007 were Nextel Cup. 2008 was the first year for Sprint Cup. Jimmie Johnson won two Nextel Cups and one Sprint Cup.

Jeff Meyer
11/21/2008 04:11 PM

Sorry I didn’t split enough hairs. A Nextel or Sprint Cup, to me are the same thing, seeing as how Sprint bought Nextel and BOTH names are still associated with the series.
At any rate, Jimmie’s 3 are all ‘Chase’ Cups which you to ‘catch up’ to the points leader through no effort of your own.
Cale had no such ‘points’ just given to him.
Had Jimmie been under the same points system as Cale, Jimmie would be a ‘One Peat’

Kevin in SoCal
11/22/2008 01:59 AM

That’s assuming Jimmie and everyone else would have raced the exact same way if there was no Chase. You cannot say they would because nobody knows.

Jeff Meyer
11/22/2008 03:11 AM


Race…..I defy anyone to explain to me how to RACE without the goal of winning.
“Would have raced differently”? NO, Cale would not have raced differently.
If you are racing, the goal is to finish first!
Kyle Busch, (whom I dislike very very much) RACED this year.
Carl Edwards is a RACER. More along the lines of Busch.
All JJ is, is a coniving SOB that has figured, with the help of Chad, to work the ‘system’.
You dont ‘race’ to come in second.

Go back and listen to how many time Carl said, “it sucks to be 2nd”

How many times have you heard JJ say that?

One is a racer (Ky. B included), JJ is a system worker.

Kevin in SoCal
11/22/2008 10:31 PM

Would Tony Stewart have won four races at the end of 2006 if he made the Chase? No. He went for the win only because he was out of the Chase and had no chance of being Champion.

Would Jimmie Johnson win four races in a row at the end of 2007 if Jeff Gordon had a 300 point lead without the Chase? No. He went for the win only because Jeff had a small lead and Jimmie needed maximum points to get ahead of him.

Would Carl Edwards have won three out of the last four races in 2008 if he wasnt trying to catch back up to Jimmie? Well maybe, since the points would have been closer without the Chase.

That’s what I meant by them not racing the exact same way. It was said that Jimmie Johnson would have won the 2003 Championship if there was a Chase, but I feel that cannot be said because Kenseth would have raced differently instead of cruising with his 300 point lead.

11/27/2008 08:59 PM

I agree with jeff meyer !!!
what a joke, to say J.J won three championships!!he got, three, exactlyas jeff states, but not won. How do they go on that stage and accept,all that money, and know how they, got it, is unbelieable!!!I ,for, one will not be watching, the freak show. Did, not watch, the last two award show ,either.!!


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
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Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.