NASCAR Forgets What's Important · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday April 26, 2006
Q: My wife and I have been NASCAR fans for several years, and I usually agree with NASCAR rule changes, but I think they are getting too big for their britches with some of their decisions. For example, things that do not happen on the track costing points and money, and then all of this hoopla about bump and running being rough driving. I think the line in Days of Thunder says it all "" rubbing is racing. If NASCAR wants to eliminate bumping, then why don’t they just have the drivers go out and do a few laps by themselves, then calculate the race result and place each driver according to his time. It sure looks as though NASCAR is castrating the sport. IT’S ALL ABOUT THE MONEY, not the love of racing, it’s not about the fans, JUST MONEY. Thanks for listening. Tim W.
A: You make some good points. I’m not a huge fan of bumping, but at the same time, I grew up with open-wheel racing, and if you bump in open-wheel racing you’re usually going to eat some fence. However, what’s rude and what’s illegal are two different things. In the case of short track racing, bumping is fairly accepted because a lot of it simply can’t be helped. It’s different at Talladega, where a mistimed bump can put 15 people out of the race. I like what NASCAR is doing about the bumpers this week, though "" that should help smooth things out and keep things under control. As to the larger issue "" NASCAR and money "" I agree with you. It’s cost us some great tracks (Rockingham, North Wilkesboro) at the expense of some bad ones that just happen to make more money. It’s also cost the sport some character.
Q: The reason why Na$car treats Robby Gordon so bad is because he doesn’t conform to their modern, "everything is great" driver. Sounds a little like Dale Sr., doesn’t it? David
A: The difference, of course, is that if NASCAR had gone to loggerheads with Dale Earnhardt, Earnhardt would probably have won the battle. Robby Gordon, in addition to not having Earnhardt’s resume in stock cars, also lacks something that made Dale Earnhardt great: Earnhardt could get really mad, but control his anger absolutely, until it was time to unleash it. Gordon is more like the Busch brothers; he often acts before he’s thought it over. When the clutch in your brain keeps slipping, your actions are going to bite you in the butt sooner rather than later.
Q: With Talladega next up, I’ve got a question. I don’t want to know who you think is gonna win. Who do you think is going to cause "the Big One?" Hammerhead
A: The conventional wisdom says to look at a rookie first, particularly one without a lot of restrictor plate experience. If Brent Sherman makes this race, I wouldn’t get within a straightaway of him. I also get nervous watching both Jimmie Johnson and Brian Vickers drive this track. And Scott Riggs is always a threat to shuffle the deck at some point.
Q: I’m going to be coming in for my first NASCAR race this Saturday, and I’m really looking forward to it. What do you suggest I do to prepare for my first Talladega experience? Roy Wright
A: My first suggestion is that you should have left for the track last Tuesday. Talladega is worse than Charlotte for access (I spent three hours in Charlotte once after a race and moved about 50 feet) and probably rivals Pocono (although I haven’t been up there yet, I’ve just heard the horror stories). Besides that, all I can tell you is bring lots of sunscreen, don’t insult anyone’s hairdos, kick back, and enjoy the show. You’ll love it.
Q: Is GM really considering pulling out of NASCAR? GrandFunk
A: I’m sure it’s been talked about there, at Ford and at Dodge, all three. The chance of it actually happening? Pretty close to zero. But U.S. automakers aren’t in a great spot now by any means. These are tough times, financially, for all of them. I wouldn’t look for any of the domestic names to fall out, though, because of the marketing edge it gives them. If Nissan and Honda join up in the future (which I think will happen within the next 10 years, tops), you might see someone drop out.
Q: Do you think the Busch boys are happy to get out of Phoenix? HA! CutTheBusch
A: I think you answered your own question there, CTB.
Still stuck in traffic after last year’s race at Pocono and want to give Jess an early traffic report? Have some inside info on whether GM is really pulling out of a sport they’ve been a part of for decades? Well then, email firstname.lastname@example.org, and you may appear in this very same space next week!
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