The Frontstretch: Loyalty Is One Thing, Blind Stupidity Is Another by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday October 12, 2006

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Loyalty Is One Thing, Blind Stupidity Is Another

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday October 12, 2006


Sometimes – and it only happens about 3 times a year – sometimes, something happens on the track that evokes the best and worst out of all the fans that follow NASCAR week in, week out. It usually involves one or two of the most popular drivers, and it induces opinions fed by loyalty, which, at times, one may think becomes stronger than the belief in God himself. The last lap at Talladega this past week produced just such an incident, and the reaction by fans this week has done nothing but back up the theory of extreme loyalty I just mentioned above.

Before I proceed, let me make sure my readers know exactly how I feel about the parties involved in last weekend’s “shenanigans.”

In my opinion, Jimmie Johnson isn’t a good guy. He is a very talented driver, but he has no integrity whatsoever. Dale Earnhardt, Jr., however, is OK in my book. He is not the most levelheaded guy on tour, but he has shown great strides in maturing over the years since the death of his father thrust him into the limelight of celebrity, the magnitude of which none of us will EVER completely understand. He, too, is a very talented driver. As for Brian Vickers, I honestly have no opinion. He has shown brief glimpses of being a great talent over the last couple of years, but they have been sporadic. He is too new to the top ranks of the sport to warrant anything more than "a guy to maybe keep your eye on.”

Even though I am a member of the “evil” media, (so my editors keep reminding me) I do have a favorite driver, and always will. My favorite driver is known as one of the classiest guys involved in the sport today. Although he is not often involved in such controversial issues as what happened this last Sunday, he has been in a few “interesting” on-track incidents. The one that sticks foremost in my mind happened at Bristol, (last year I believe) when this person DELIBERATELY took out a guy that made him crash earlier in the race.

As much as I like this particular driver, there was no way, after seeing it live AND watching the replays, to say that he did not mean to wreck this other driver. Now, I may lie to a cop. I may lie to my boss. I may even lie to the IRS, but I cannot and will not have such blind loyalty to a sports figure that I will lie to myself! Seeing is believing. If you cannot actually see what your eyes show you because of a certain number on the side of a car, you need to take a step back and get a grip on reality.

So, as we examine this Talladega incident, forget for a moment that the cars involved even have a number on the side of them. Imagine, if you can, that they are not even painted. The cars in question, heading down Talladega’s long back straightaway, appear to be three identical Chevrolet Monte Carlo race cars that have no distinguishing characteristics from one another. Can you do that?

Car number one (the lead car, not the actual number!) is desperately trying to stay in front of cars two and three. As all three cars are entering the turn, car number two dives to the inside of car number one. Car number two is expecting car number three to follow suit, as they both know, on this particular track, that two cars together are faster than one. Simple physics.

Car number two makes the move to blow by car number one. Car number three, however, does not follow at the exact precise time. This is where the accident starts.

Car number two, who has now made the move to the inside, does NOT have car number three exactly behind him, thus LOSING the advantage that TWO cars would have over one. Thus, as car number two attempts the move, HIS CAR IS SLOWED, EVER SO SLIGHTLY, as it pulls out from the draft of car number one. Car number three, who is still in the draft of the NOW TWO WIDE cars that are in front of him, is quickly filling the void left by car number two.

Car number three desperately wants to follow car number two because he knows, as we stated earlier, two cars together are faster than one. Car number three attempts to slide in behind car number two, but remember, since they did not make the initial move together, CAR NUMBER TWO HAS ALREADY SLOWED, BE IT EVER SO SLIGHTLY!

Car number three is now going at what may seem to you like an insignificant higher rate of speed, but at speeds of nearly 200 mph, that slight difference is all that it takes. Car number three, as it tries to fall in behind the slower car of car number two, makes the slightest of contact with the right rear. The rest is history. Everybody, no matter who they root for, seems to have seen the same thing after that! Go figure.

The above scenario is the accident that happened last Sunday, explained in a way that even my dog would say… “Yup, Jeff, I see that you are correct."

If there is ANY blame to lay, it would have to be on the Hendrick team as a whole. The No.'s 48 and 25 should have made the move TOGETHER, and that’s where the team itself had failed. Junior was just an innocent bystander, and Vickers WAS TRYING TO HELP JIMMIE WIN. There wasn't time left for Vickers to try to pass Johnson also. Unfortunately, Vickers’ eagerness and excitement to help his teammate parlayed itself into a run too fast, too quick for the No. 48 car to handle in front of him.

Don't let your bias blind you. Have the (anatomy part of your choice) call a spade a spade. Because that’s exactly what this incidents screams for you to do.

Stay off the wall,


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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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Sharon Peelman
10/13/2006 06:25 AM

I like the way you explained the whole mess of last week. It actually made sense. feel sorry for jr, tho…he was just another victim of jj.

10/13/2006 06:55 AM

This confirms what I’ve always said – it depends on who you root for how you see an ‘accident’.

10/13/2006 07:06 AM

I agree with you. (still trying to remember the accident at Bristol you mentioned lol)

10/13/2006 07:11 AM

As far as the Vickers vs. JJ,am I the only one that remembers JJ hitting Carl Edwards and causing the big one earlier in the race. Hearing JJ now seems a bit hypicritical, doesn’t it?

10/13/2006 07:23 AM

JJ Hypocritical? Naaaaw.

10/13/2006 07:35 AM

JJ never makes mistakes. Just ask him.

10/13/2006 10:43 AM

The accident I am referring to at Bristol was when Ryan Newman crashed Dale Jarrett. DJ later came back and blatantly took Newman out, coming out of turn 2

10/13/2006 11:05 AM

Jeff: The wreck analysis is spot on. But Knaus pegged it right: BV didn’t know what he was doing. So it goes. But an “Aw shucks” attitude toward being wrecked – No freakin’ way. I’d be livid after being knocked outa the Chase. PS: Watch the replays – JJ didn’t contact Cuz’ Carl.

10/13/2006 11:08 AM

Don, that’s exactly right. JJ can’t contain his anger, and Knaus says Vickers is talentless, not two hours after JJ himself caused the big one? Incredible. If JJ is wrecked every visit to Talladega for the next 10 years it won’t make up for all the carnage he himself has caused over the past 3 years.

10/13/2006 11:10 AM

DaveS… Carl didn’t get sideways on a straightaway by himself. the 48 clearly bumped him, even if Benny and Wally weren’t sure.

10/13/2006 12:35 PM

We’re still talking about this?

abe browne
10/13/2006 01:53 PM

JJ had it coming. He was the last one to hit JR. JJs fault. End of story!!!!

10/13/2006 02:39 PM

JR. handled this with class. Im not a fan of his but now Im more respectful of him.
Dale Sr. would be yelling and screaming about how racin is racin and second place is the first loser.
BV came out on top and was lucky to hold on to his car and not wreck.

10/13/2006 07:42 PM

I tell you, Dale Earnhardt Sr. would’ve been EXTREMELY proud of Brian Vickers’ hard-charging victory at Talladega. Here’s a guy who has basically been instructed, in not so many words, to kiss the butts of Jimmie Johnson and Jeff Gordon and to put aside any hopes of becoming a respected top-tier Cup driver. So what does this young man do? He stands up to Whiner Gordon, he stands up to Hypocrite Johnson (and his crew chief, Chad “The Cheater” Knaus), and powers his way to his first victory in a way that we’ve ALL seen Whiner and Hypocrite do NUMEROUS times in the past several years. Congrats to you, Brian, and condolences to you, Casey Mears—get ready to pucker up. You have NO chance of winning next year, my friend. Like The Intimidator, Vickers appears very comfortable in explaining his viewpoint on this incident—it was just racing. Jimmie, Jeff and Chad should be ashamed for acting like two-faced babies.
Act like men, for cripe sakes.

10/15/2006 08:38 PM

DJ has really turned into an idiot lately, just look at him parking in Reed Sorensons pits at Charlotte. I think the Michael Waltrip foolishness is starting to rub off on the new employee


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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