NASCAR Fan Q & A · Jess Nicholas · Wednesday August 30, 2006
Q: Here in Pennsylvania, I get to hear all this talk about how Pocono is such a boring race, and how Bristol is so exciting. Well, Bristol this year has been a overrated piece of crap. Saturday night's race - there was nothing good about it, it wasn't exciting at all. The only thing that happened was Mark Martin's Chase hopes got hurt, and that wasn't good. And every time I see crowd shots of Bristol, it makes me want deodorant. Stop talking about Pocono and start talking about fixing Bristol so it's not a one-line garbage can. SteelerNealer
A: Well, I think you managed to offend just about everyone south of Maryland and east of Texas with one letter…congrats. As to the subject at hand, that wasn't the best Bristol race of all time but it wasn't the worst. I guess the race has to be a crashfest before it's “good,” which seems to be a stigma attached to Bristol and Martinsville. As for Pocono, I don't know about anyone else but watching one guy in one dominant car, Denny Hamlin, run around the place this year, isn't exactly my idea of compelling racing.
Q: Why isn't this race in the Chase? Gregor7
A: Best I can tell, NASCAR imposed the Chase over its last 10 races of the season the first time they did it, without regard to how difficult it might be to change those dates in the future. Just wait until they try to take a track out of the Chase; you can sit back, relax, and watch those lawsuits fly. If it had been up to me, Loudon would never have been in it to begin with, and Bristol could have swapped with that slot.
Q: Is there anything that can be done about opening up Bristol a little more? Nothing against that place, because I've been there before for a race and loved it, but the only way you can pass is to knock someone out of the way or for their car to be junk. How hard would it be to get a second groove going? Jim Davis
A: You're asking me an engineering question that, regrettably, I don't have an answer for. And, with Bristol's tight spaces and limited real estate in the infield, I can't come up with a way to redesign the track without robbing it of some of its character. My first inclination would be to adjust the surface of the upper groove in some way - grippy asphalt, perhaps? - to encourage people to run up there, but I don't know that it'd work.
Q: Jeremy Mayfield to Bill Davis Racing. Wow, that's a great move there for Bill. Was Buckshot Jones not available? TheDudeAbides
A: Mayfield isn't a great driver, but he's a competent driver, which is more than I can say for some who are getting rides in this sport these days. And despite his flaws in judgment away from the track, Mayfield protects his stuff fairly well, and I can't recall too many times he's been a danger to others around him. His racing style and Dave Blaney's should complement each other. I doubt they'll be contenders, but Davis has given himself a chance at keeping both cars in the Top 35 in owner points next year.
Q: What's the deal with Erin Crocker? Is she going to lose her ride because Mayfield outed her and Ray Evernham? Spkrgrl
A: I doubt it. She's got some talent, but she's a couple of years away from being ready to even attempt Cup races. I don't agree with how Mayfield brought this out in public but if some good is going to come from it, it may lead to Evernham removing Crocker from the spotlight and keeping her in Trucks and Busch for a while. That's actually the best thing for her, as she needs additional seasoning.
Q: Is there anyone from Busch that can step up for Yates? David Gilliland obviously isn't ready. Chuck
A: I keep stumping for Kenny Wallace to get a quality ride (the 78 doesn't fall under the category of "quality") AND he’s driven for Yates before, back in 1994; but he's apparently content to run the Busch Series and with his current team in Cup. Kevin Lepage deserves better than the ride he’s got now, and ditto David Green; but neither is a young guy anymore, and sponsors want a sex symbol first and a driver second. Jon Wood is already spoken for with his family's team. So, that leaves…Jason Leffler? Well, what I'm going to say may upset some people, but I hope Jason Leffler doesn't get another shot in Cup, at least not until he proves he can drive at that level. Todd Kluever doesn't look ready, either, but Burney Lamar might be. A name that you don't hear mentioned a lot is Stacy Compton, but he's done a good job getting his career on solid footing, and if I were interviewing, he'd at least get a look.
Think the third time in Cup would be the charm for Leffler? Have a feeling Erin Crocker will be working for Betty Crocker because she’s out of a job in racing sooner rather than later? Email firstname.lastname@example.org and let him know how you feel…or just send a different type of racing related question or comment, and you may end up in this very column next week!
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