Restrictor Plates, Or Restricted Fun? · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday July 5, 2006
Q: Can plate races get any more boring than that one? No big wreck, no Junior in it at the end, race ends under caution. NASCAR needs to figure out what we want to watch, and that wasn't it. Boggs
A: I don't think NASCAR can automatically send Junior to the front just because the fans want it, and I think it would be a little unscrupulous for, say, the flagman to throw a box of tacks down onto the track to trigger the "Big One." But the last caution was a little pointless. The race wasn't boring to me - the drama surrounding Bobby Labonte's rise and fall alone was enough to make this one exciting - but the one glaring flaw was that it was too short. I realize this race has been 400 miles forever, but I believe the time has come to raise it to a 500-mile event.
Q: I'm sure glad we all got to see Bobby Labonte's wreck when it happened - oh wait, we didn't. We got to watch two more commercials and then check in while the cars were already coming down pit lane. Thanks, Fox! Bring on NBC! Debbie Dee
A: If I was NASCAR, I would make it mandatory in any future television contract to cut back to live action in the event of a crash. Surely, such a requirement wouldn't cost too much. Fox's coverage of this race bordered on unacceptable.
Q: Jimmie Johnson is terrible. I wish NASCAR would develop some way to write “traffic tickets” to guys who start wrecks or just plain can't drive. You get enough tickets, you go to the garage area for a few laps. Bobby Labonte and Mark Martin are good guys and they've both been victimized by that punk on plate tracks. Do you not have to pass a driving test of some sort to race at Daytona and Talladega? (Expletive)! Russ
A: Johnson is an enigma. He's obviously very good or he wouldn't be leading the points this year and for much of last year, too. But he's one of four or five guys I wouldn't want to be around on a plate track. On the one hand, he's pretty fast at those tracks because when he wrecked Labonte, Johnson was running fourth. On the other hand, he doesn't seem to have great car control…he's kind of taken over from Hermie Sadler as the guy not to be around at Daytona and Talladega. I like your ticket idea, though. And so does the next guyâ€¦
Q: When I cause wrecks, I get points on my driver's license. When Jimmie Johnson causes wrecks, he gives out some lilly-whitewashed apology and collects a big check. Bud II
A: He also gets to enjoy the company of gorgeous women and get all the home improvement gear he wants for free. I wish I wrecked as much.
Q: A couple of "road courses" you didn't mention that might very well end up on the Cup circuit eventually - Mexico City and Montreal. I mean, isn't that the purpose of running Busch races at these venues, to prep them for eventually getting Cup races? BB6
A: Not necessarily. First of all, NASCAR does have the potential of drawing a fan backlash if they start giving Cup races to foreign countries. That might seem silly or backwards, but remember that NASCAR's fan base has its own quirks and personality. The other issue is finding a race on the current schedule to drop, if we assume the schedule will not grow beyond its current limits. The only date I see in danger at the moment is one of the two dates at Pocono. And if that one goes, it will probably go to an existing track (most likely Las Vegas). The big question in my mind is what happens if NASCAR adds a track in New York or the Great Northwest.
Q: Let's hear it for Boris Said. Two Top 10 finishes in two weeks. It must be the hair! Dr. Frankenfurter
A: I'll never complain about bed head again.
Think Jimmie Johnson is getting a bad rap? Did you make a 1.3 mile road course in your neighbor’s backyard and find yourself campaigning for a Cup date? Send jess the info at email@example.com … or tell him what other racing thoughts are on your mind, and you may end up in this very column next week!
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