Kids Will Be Kids · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday May 3, 2006
Q: I’ve been a Mark Martin fan for years. I never thought he’d be competitive in 2006, at least not a threat to win the title. But he is, and that makes me very happy. Having said that, I’m so mad right now I can’t see straight. Every time Mark goes to a plate track, it seems like people just aim for him. Can’t something be done to these young drivers who keep causing wrecks? At least NASCAR had the guts to park Denny Hamlin for a lap later in the race. I’d like to see Kyle Busch suspended a week for taking out Mark. Gary
A: I’ve watched that wreck probably 20 times now, Gary, and if you really want to assign blame for it to one particular person, it would have to be either Brian Vickers or Carl Edwards. However, I’d like to assign it to all five of those guys for being dumb enough to run five-wide on Lap 9. Ryan Newman wasn’t really the cause of it, but he should have known better. If you have to let off the gas in a plate race, it’s a given you’ll fall back "" but on Lap 9, does that matter? Either Vickers "" who drives over his head way too much "" or Edwards gets my blame for this one, but all five of those guys should have to stay after driving school and write 100 times on the blackboard, "I will not drive like I was at the Krazy Kart track down at the beach."
Q: Is it any surprise Carl Edwards was in the middle of a wreck again? OVERRATED! K.O.punch
A: Carl will get better. His greatest fault was that he was anointed the Golden Boy by the media too early, instead of being allowed to develop. The guy I can’t believe is still out there is Hermie Sadler. He made that early wreck a lot worse than it should have been by not slowing down quickly enough.
Q: What’s wrong with Greg Biffle? How much longer until Jack Roush shuffles his team, too? Will Marone
A: That’s a good question, because if Roush does intend to make changes on that team, he has a problem: Biffle and crew chief Doug Richert have been branded together by sponsor Subway. He can’t just indiscriminately separate them the way he did Jamie McMurray and Jimmy Fennig, or Carl Edwards and Bob Osborne. As for Biffle, he still hasn’t learned the ideal balance between driving wide open and driving with finesse. He’s got a ton of talent but I don’t think his head has opened up enough yet.
Q: (In response to comments on Dale Earnhardt and Robby Gordon in this column last week): Ah, the cult of Earnhardt strikes again. As if NASCAR has not made it abundantly clear throughout its history that drivers are nothing but drivers and that those drivers who buck the system too hard can go play somewhere else. King Richard and the drivers’ union didn’t make a dent in NASCAR and Big E, while he was alive, was no greater in people’s eye than the King in his heyday. The mystic aura his memory has acquired since his death is nothing but a silly delusion. Big E was a great driver and a smart team owner. But he was not the all-knowing, all-powerful god of racing that so many now make him out to be. The only thing likely to be different about NASCAR if Big E had lived to be making his retirement tour would be that we’d probably have lost several more drivers before the safety measure we now take for granted were put in place. M.B. Voelker
A: To tell you the truth, I was never a big Earnhardt Sr. fan and I’m still not, because he was too aggressive for my tastes. But he did hold greater clout than the other drivers, for better or worse. He couldn’t have gotten away with intentionally taking out 42 other drivers every race, but do you think he would have gotten a lap penalty for cussing out NASCAR on the radio? I don’t.
Q: What’s wrong with BAM racing? They were pretty good last year with Ken Schrader, and Schrader may be good but he wasn’t that good. Is it just Brent Sherman? Mopar Maniac
A: The majority of it is Sherman, in my opinion. I wouldn’t be surprised to know he’s still reeling from his experience at Bristol. It would have shaken my confidence, I can tell you that. Look for a change in that car soon; Mike Wallace is apparently going to drive it this week and I’ll bet that has a good chance at being a permanent solution. BAM’s other problem, of course, that no driver can help them overcome is being a one-car independent team.
Q: I went to Talladega Sunday, and I sat there through the rain and (deleted) and I had to work Monday and I couldn’t come back. Don’t Formula 1 run in the rain? Or how about putting a roof over some of these tracks, maybe in the turns. Us fans don’t deserve this. Ox
A: Assuming you’re being serious, there’s one part of that I could agree with, somewhat. When the cars go to Watkins Glen (I would say Sonoma, too, except I don’t think it’s rained in Sonoma, Calif., since probably 1813 or so), they should run rain tires if the track is damp. However, if you’re talking about running rain tires at Talladega on a wet track"¦hoo boy. You’d have the "Big One" on the parade lap. As for putting a roof over a racetrack, I’ll just say this much "" your ears must be made of steel. I can’t hear a nuclear bomb go off at a track as it is, and if you put a roof over one, the noise and the fumes would kill us all.
Hey race fans, don’t forget…if you’re an angry Earnhardt, Sr. fan or can’t stand the fact NASCAR didn’t run in the snow at Bristol, send you rant to firstname.lastname@example.org. You know what, email Jess about any racing question or comment. You might appear in this very space next week!
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