John Potts · Thursday May 3, 2012
First, an apology for missing last week. Had an awful boo-boo. On Sunday afternoon I was rolling my cart out of my handicapped van, when my jacket sleeve apparently caught on the platform release. The platform started down before I got the rear wheels on it, and then went all the way down. Ouch.
I landed on my back on the pavement and apparently bruised or cracked some ribs. Third time I’ve had rib injuries. Folks, I played three years of service football back in the late ’50s, I’ve been hit by race cars, and I’ve dove over fences to miss race cars. Never had anything that hurts like rib injuries. The only comfortable place is in a recliner, and then you don’t dare watch anything funny on TV because it hurts to laugh. Oh well, much better this week, so here we go…
Michael in SoCal, in response to one of our Mirror Driving sessions, asks, “Regarding the boring races, would having Goodyear bring hard and soft tires to a race help? He adds, “What about a point system where half of your points earned are based on where you finish, and the other half of your points is based on your average running position during the race?
I’m not sure how the hard/soft tire deal would work out, Michael. This is similar to what they do in IndyCar and in Formula 1, I think. Based on our experience during the “tire war” between Hoosier and Goodyear, some teams might push those softer compounds too far, and the result could be bad. At Talladega or Daytona, they could be catastrophic. I also have to admit not being sure how that kind of point system would work out. My initial reaction to any suggestion about changing NASCAR’s point system is usually, “First, get rid of the bleeping Chase and then work on it.”
One of the best point systems I’ve seen used was the one USAC’s Dick Jordan came up with for the old Thursday night regional midget system at the Indianapolis Speedrome. My memory doesn’t quite recall exactly how the points per finishing position worked out, but the races were started inverted according to points, and a driver got one point for each car he or she passed during the feature.
Billy G. in Sioux City wants to know how I feel about Travis Pastrana’s comment in regard to finishing behind “…the two girls” in last week’s Nationwide race.
My esteemed colleague S.D. Grady did a great job of commenting on this situation in her column earlier this week, but I’ll add my two cents. First, I figured the NASCAR Drive for Diversity people would probably have a little talk with Travis about this. Then I remembered that controversy isn’t always bad. If people are talking about it, it can be a good thing. Maybe they’ll watch next week to see what Travis says.
I can recall one night at Indianapolis Raceway Park when Dale Earnhardt, Sr. was introduced before a Busch race (sorry, I’m a throwback on both counts). There was some booing, and I glanced at Dale. He said, “They paid for that privilege, and that’s the important thing. If they don’t pay you to get in, you can’t pay us.”
As far as Pastrana’s disparaging comment in regard to the gender of his opponents, it’s not the first time I’ve heard something like that. In an IndyCar race once, a couple of years before Danica arrived on the scene, Sarah Fisher went around Eliseo Salazar during the late laps. The TV people had the radio feed from Salazar’s team on the air at the time. His car owner, A.J. Foyt (one of my favorite people, incidentally), said, “You just got passed by a girl.”
If I’m not mistaken, he later explained to Sarah that he was simply trying to light a fire under his driver. I don’t know if she bought that, or whether it was enough. Sarah is now a car owner, and with all due respect to the current princess, I wish she had been much more successful in her driving career and had risen higher.
Why? I never saw Danica in a midget or on dirt; I’m looking forward to the Prelude to the Dream.
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