The Frontstretch: Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Amp Energy 500 by Matt McLaughlin -- Monday October 6, 2008

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Matt McLaughlin's Thinkin' Out Loud: Amp Energy 500

Matt McLaughlin · Monday October 6, 2008


The Key Moment: The race was decided in NASCAR’s control room almost a minute after the event itself ended.

In a Nutshell: Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Apparently, sometimes it’s not over even when it is over.

Dramatic Moment: With fifteen laps to go, Carl Edwards got Greg Biffle’s car sideways and set off a field-decimating wreck that may have doomed a lot of contender’s chances at a championship.

What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week

Yes, there’s a rule that states a driver may not advance his position at the plate tracks by passing under the yellow line. There’s also a rule that states a driver may not force another driver “out of bounds.” But more than once, NASCAR has stated a de facto “anything goes” policy on the last lap of the plate races. Should Stewart have been penalized? Should Smith have been given the win? If Smith had lifted out of the gas to let Stewart back by and drifted back up the track, it might have set off another huge wreck and we’d have likely seen only one car finish the race (the 20). After the Daytona Truck Series race last February, a NASCAR spokesperson defended Johnny Benson’s “below the line” pass to take second by saying, “if you can see the checkered flag on the last lap, anything goes.” Anything but passing the driver of the “Official Home Improvement Center of NASCAR,” it would seem…

Jimmie Johnson himself stated that the drivers were told at their pre-race meeting on Sunday that with the checkers in sight, “anything goes.” I can’t help but feel Regan Smith got robbed. Being demoted to the last driver to finish on the lead lap (at least, that’s how the results read as this is being written) just rubs salt in that wound.

After messes like Sunday’s race, I’ll get a ton of emails asking me why NASCAR’s rulebook isn’t available to fans so they can figure out whether what happened was fair or not. The reason seems to be that Brian France is only half done coloring the rulebook in. His favorite color, to paraphrase my old pal Jerry, is a Touch of Gray. Whistle through your teeth and spit, but it’s all right.

All right, so you needed any more evidence of the contrived stupidity of plate racing and the validity of the Chase? Sunday provided it. Jimmie Johnson sounded like he’d browned his shorts avoiding the big wreck. With his two primary championship contenders sidelined, Johnson made it clear he wasn’t interested in mixing it up any more going for the win, and would be content to ride safely to the best finish he could manage instead. That’s not what race fans pay their hard-earned dollars to see.

With DEI having been placed on the most studied “death list” since General Francisco Franco, the finish at Talladega had to convince some the doors there will still be open next year.

Read my lips: “No More Plate Races!” Stop the madness before someone else gets killed.

Did it seem like an awful lot of teams were actually working on their cars during the final red flag period?

I’m not sure what was up with the tires this weekend. Given Goodyear’s unenviable record this season (Remember Indy… or better yet, don’t.) It would be easy to toss them under the bus, but the fact remains that the Hoosier tires used in Saturday’s ARCA race were blowing out as well. You’ve got to feel it must have something to do with the new track surface at Talladega.

Wow! All season, the Top 10 finishers have tended to be a “Who’s Who” of the racing elite driving for the four power-teams. Sunday’s finishing order was a “Who’s That?” result.

You’ve got to guess the folks at the Home Depot had to be delighted watching Stewart finally win a race running the Subway colors.

Greg Biffle caught fire in the first three races of the Chase but was seeing sparks of a different kind at Talladega after getting hit by teammate Carl Edwards.

There’s never been any love lost between Matt Kenseth and teammate Carl Edwards, but my guess is Edwards officially fell off Kenseth’s Christmas card list on Sunday.

What the devil happened to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s right rear tire during the second practice session? That thing exploded so violently it looked like Al Qaeda had been involved. Stunned by the video evidence before them, two of Goodyear’s chief cheerleaders, Larry McReynolds and Jeff Hammond, actually took several moments to announce Junior had to have run over something because there’s no way Goodyear could manufacture a defective tire that failed with less than fifteen laps on it. Hey, guys, remember Indy?

Is this “temporary” restrictor plate rule implemented two decades ago in the aftermath of Bobby Allison’s horrific crash into the catchfence about over yet? NASCAR did indeed say the measure was “temporary” until they could find a way to slow the cars down. Oh, right. We were told the Car of Sorrow was going to eliminate the need for the plates. Whoops. Just another failure for the new car. As it stands written in the Book of Bruce, “Is a dream a lie if it don’t come true, or is it something worse.” (Or for you more traditional types, as it stands written in the Book of Ecclesiastes: “It’s all madness, toil, and chasing the wind.”)

While the man is dead and gone, a victim of plate racing, some track promoters surely aren’t shy about using the image of Dale Earnhardt to sell race tickets to upcoming events. Here’s a hint: Earnhardt won’t be there. Bill France killed him.

I know some drivers have bizarre pre-race rituals, but someone please explain to me why Carl Edwards was dumping a bottle of cold water into his lap prior to the start of the race. My only theory is he’s trying to camouflage any embarrassing lapses of personal hygiene during the race.

Oh, good! ABC/ESPN analyst Brad Daugherty announced this week that his fledgling NASCAR team has signed a deal with Michael Waltrip Racing for next year. That’s just what the fans need, another supposedly unbiased journalist with strong ties to a manufacturer, a team, and sponsor out there on the track it’s in his best interest to promote. Waltrip already has his brother Darrell in his corner during race broadcasts, and it seems half the broadcast teams for both networks owe some level of allegiance to Toyota. Well here in the real world, journalists are supposed to avoid conflict of interest in the arenas they cover, and any implication that they are beholden to a dog in the fight is enough to end a career. But this isn’t the real world — this is NASCAR.

It looks like former Formula One driver Scott Speed all but has the ARCA title wrapped up going into the season finale, with an 85-point lead over Roush’s Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. Speed had a chance to wrap up the title at Talladega after Stenhouse wrecked heavily, but then Speed wrecked as well.

On a related ARCA note, when the smoke and carnage cleared after the Talladega ARCA event it was Justin Allgaier in a family team car who took the win. Allgaier’s now won at a dirt track, a speedway, and a superspeedway this season en route to third in the championship standings. If those in the know would stop writing love sonnets to Joey Logano as the “Next Big Thing,” they might want to have a look at Allgaier as a potential NASCAR star. This kid can flat out drive, and Roger Penske has recently signed Justin to run in some Nationwide Series races next year. Keep an eye on him.

Seven years ago Saturday, Blaise Alexander died in a tragic last lap crash at Charlotte while battling with Kerry Earnhardt for the win. Like Dale Earnhardt, Alexander died after his brain stem was torn from his brain, the same cause of death that claimed Adam Petty, Kenny Irwin, and Tony Roper. It seemed that Alexander’s death was the tipping point that finally forced NASCAR to mandate head and neck restraints. The sanctioning body also finally sucked it up and decided maybe those SAFER barriers weren’t such a pipe dream after all. Though Alexander died in an ARCA race, in death he has probably spared many NASCAR stars their lives. Please don’t tell me Dale Earnhardt’s death spurred NASCAR into action. Alexander died almost eight months after the tragedy at Daytona. The HANS device was already on the market, available and being used in other series prior to that dark day in February, 2001. On a side note, nobody is really sure who won that ARCA race. I believe official records show Kerry Earnhardt took the win; but he refused the trophy, saying Alexander had won, and had it shipped to his family.

I’m a huge fan of Helio Castroneves, but his biggest battle now isn’t in the IRL, it’s with the IRS. Look for him to debut soon in Dancing Behind Bars. In today’s world with the hugely unpopular Wall Street bailout, the case of a multi-millionaire who might have tried to dodge paying his fair share of taxes is going to be a slam dunk conviction. A note to Castroneves – climbing the fence for practice at a federal prison is going to draw gunfire.

You need any more proof green race cars are bad luck?

The Hindenburg Award For Foul Fortune

Let me put it simply: Regan Smith got robbed.

Denny Hamlin was far from the only driver to wreck hard at Talladega, but he was the only one carted to the hospital in a meat-wagon after his wreck. That was the sort of hit that often leaves a driver groggy for several weeks after the fact. On a brighter note, in the era before the HANS device and SAFER barriers, that was the sort of wreck that often saw drivers arrive home in a hearse.

Jeff Gordon suffered the twin indignities of getting caught up in a crash that wasn’t his fault and having an engine meltdown. Sometimes, it just isn’t your day.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. looked to have a race-contending car, but found himself caught up in the big wreck — leaving a mass of humanity headed for the Talladega exits with their heads hung low.

At the plate tracks, other drivers’ bad decisions are going to cost the PIVs (poor innocent victims) around them a good a finish and a bad wreck. But for Matt Kenseth and Greg Biffle to be eliminated by a teammate has to sting that much more.

Ryan Newman didn’t even have to get caught up in a boneheaded wreck to finish dead last with terminal engine problems.

Juan Montoya’s strongest run in recent memory was all for naught after he got swept up in the Big One.

The “Seven Come Fore Eleven” Award For Fine Fortune

Jimmie Johnson dodged both big wrecks and a tire carcass slamming the front of his car to go on and finish the race… however chicken-heartedly. Talladega didn’t hand the title to Johnson; but going forward, it’s his to lose.

Jeff Burton has never been a fan of plate racing, but his fourth place finish at Talladega renews his title hopes for 2008.

For fans of the embattled Petty organization and Bobby Labonte, a sixth place finish had to be a shot in the arm.

As badly as his day went, his 15th place finish (first survivor) was actually Kyle Busch’s best result in the Chase.

Mark Martin was lucky enough to have the common sense not to compete in this farce of a race.

Worth Noting

  • Tony Stewart “won” for the first time since Watkins Glen last year. Prior to Sunday’s “win,” he had finished second at Talladega six times. And to the eye of reason, he did so again on Sunday.
  • Paul Menard (second) posted his best career Cup finish and the first Top 5 result of his career.
  • David Ragan’s third place finish matches his previous Cup career best. (Ragan also finished third at Michigan earlier this year and at Richmond last year.)
  • Jeff Burton (fourth) has now managed five straight Top 10 finishes.
  • Clint Bowyer (fifth) managed his first Top 5 finish since Sonoma.
  • Bobby Labonte (sixth) earned his best finish since Martinsville in the Fall of 2006.
  • Scott Riggs (seventh) matched his best career finish since the Homestead season finale in 2006.
  • “Rut-roh” Joe Nemechek’s eleventh place finish was easily his best of the season and his best Cup result since last year’s Daytona 500. He’s got to get a Scooby Snack for that.
  • Kenny Wallace’s twelfth place finish was his best Cup result since Bristol in 2003. Thank goodness for TV work to keep the lights on at Casa Kenny, huh?
  • Aric Almirola’s thirteenth place finish was the second best of his Cup career. Vanna, I’d like to buy a vowel and change my name to “Eric.”
  • Jiminy Cricket! Ryan Newman suffered his fourth engine meltdown of 2008.
  • The Top 10 finishers at Talladega drove a Toyota, a Ford, five Chevys, and three Dodges. Toyotas won three of this year’s four plate races.
  • Regan Smith is credited with an eighteenth place finish, the best by any Rookie of the Year contender at Talladega. Yeah, that’s some small compensation, isn’t it?
  • Robby Gordon finished eleventh or better in all four Cup plate races this season.

What’s the Points?

Jimmie Johnson remains in the points lead and is now a formidable 72 ahead of Carl Edwards and 77 ahead of third place Greg Biffle. Jeff Burton is fourth, a more manageable 99 points out of the lead.

Clint Bowyer moves up two spots in the standings to fifth. Race-winner Tony Stewart leap-frogged four places into seventh, a sobering 207 points behind Johnson. Kyle Busch moved up a spot to eleventh in the standings.

Denny Hamlin takes over the “cellar-dweller” position in the Chase. Dale Earnhardt Jr. fell two spots to tenth and Simon and Garfunkel are ready to write a reprise to “Mrs. Robinson” about him. Kevin Harvick fell one spot to sixth in the standings and hates that even more than gunky engine buildup.

David Ragan, who would like to remind you all he’s not Regan Smith, now looks to have a lock on the 13th place position just outside the Chase. He’s now 117 points ahead of 14th place Kasey Kahne.

Overall Rating (On a scale of one to six beer cans, with one being a stinker and a six pack an instant classic) — I feel guilty for watching this stupidity. It’s sort of like a former girlfriend dropping by on Saturday night and catching you watching COPS in sweatpants. I guess I’ll give it three cans, mainly because nobody got seriously hurt and we’ll all be talking about this one awhile.

Next Up: It’s back off to Charlotte for next week’s Saturday night event…if anyone can find the gas to get there. Ain’t it funny how the night moves, with autumn moving in?

Contact Matt McLaughlin

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
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10/06/2008 01:40 AM

Gee, I guess Matt’s a big Tony Stewart fan, huh?

Dale Jarrett said it best after the race: NASCAR cannot have one rule for all but the last lap & another for that last lap. Smith broke the no passing under the yellow line rule & got busted for it, pure & simple. If he’d been given the “win” for breaking a rule, then there’d have been a travesty. It was reported during the race—long before the illegal pass—that this rule had specifically been addressed during the drivers meeting.

Stewart won the race; get over it & move on.

10/06/2008 05:40 AM

jaymatt, I think most would agree with you that there shouldn’t be a special set of rules on the last lap. But Regan was forced below the yellow line. He got jobbed big time by the NASCAR random-rule-generator this week.

The fact that a lot of drivers apparently believed that making a yellow-line move was legal on the last lap is worrisome too. Who is telling them this?

10/06/2008 06:35 AM

Matt , dry your eyes , calm your indignation , and pay attention to what we all know are the facts . The rule very clearly states that a driver cannot make a pass of another driver by going below the yellow line . Smith could have ridden right along side of Tony and finished second . The very first this rule was used in fact was at the July Daytona race in 2001 . So its been around long enough for drivers , even Mensa member Johnson ( rumours swirling around the garage area , oh brother ! ) , to be well aware of it .What Poston or Hunter said or didn’t say about it doesn’t make the slightest difference . Those two are not responsible for rules administration . And NASCAR has stated no such thing as anything goes on the last lap . EVER . So whether or not Smith was forced out of bounds was never the issue . In bounds or out of bounds , a driver cannot pass another driver below the yellow line .
So lets worry about two real issues . The fist is the Goodyear situation . Technology exists to make tires that don’t blow out . The weak link in auto racing has been Goodyear for decades . Its time to design and build race tires that WORK . We’ve heard all of their excuses , its time to come up with a race tire that works .
And all of you Jimmy Johnson fans should write to Hendrick and get a refund on the Talladega tickets you bought . Why should you pay that kind of money to watch your driver intentionally ride around near the back in the closing laps to “ play it safe and get maximum points “ ?

Bill B
10/06/2008 07:23 AM

Hmmm. I watched the truck race on Saturday and I thought I heard them say something about anything goes, including going below the yellow line, on the last lap. I know the things they say aren’t gospel but wonder why they would make something like that up. That whole yellow line rule just gives NASCAR another gray area in which to play god. My personal opinion is that Smith got robbed.

10/06/2008 07:41 AM


While the man is dead and gone, a victim of plate racing, some track promoters surely aren’t shy about using the image of Dale Earnhardt to sell race tickets to upcoming events. Here’s a hint: Earnhardt won’t be there. Bill France killed him.

thank you….i’m sick and tired of still seeing dale being used as the selling point to fill seats. i wonder how much teresa gets from this?! enough to keep tei going?

i’m glad you mentioned Blaise. Everyone seems to forget Blaise. And yes, Kerry won the race, but shipped the trophy to Blaise’s family. Kerry has never really gotten over 2001.

10/06/2008 08:03 AM

I just can’t make myself watch a plate race anymore. It’s almost scripted. There will a a bad wreck during the last 20 laps. A red flag will be thrown… You know the drill. It’s the dumbest so-called racing in the world.

10/06/2008 08:10 AM

Quit your whining Matt. Tony Stewart won that race. Regan Smith broke the rules. Simple as that. He wasn’t even forced down there. yes Tony blocked Regan but Regan wasn’t blocked to the point that he HAD to go below the yellow line.

10/06/2008 08:40 AM

Do all of you Stewart fans realize that if Smith did what you say “he was supposed to do”, Tony would have been in the wall.

This was pure and simple another case of NASCAR once again arbitrarily enforcing and arbitrary rule. Here’s a simple solution, if you don’t want people driving on it, don’t pave it.

10/06/2008 08:46 AM

The reason the fans don’t have a “rule book” is because they don’t exist. The rules aren’t written in a book, they are written on an etch-a-sketch…….makes it easier that way if you know what I mean.

10/06/2008 08:47 AM

Regan Smith won this race, it is just that Brian France found an opportunity to make sure that one of the big name drivers won instead of him. Regan had two choices: he could either back off and place second or he could have wrecked Tony after Tony forced him below the yellow line. It is the last lap of the race, you name any driver who will willingly back out of the gas to finish second. If he had wrecked Tony, then everyone would have been bad-mouthing him this morning. NASCAR needs to apply the rules the same way every time.

One other thing that I noticed was the two “debris cautions” that allowed Jimmy Johnson to get his lap back after that stupid strategy of his. Apparently, on the first one Robby Gordon did not cooperate with NASCAR and he jumped ahead and got the Lucky Dog, so they had to do it again. I just wish that ESPN/ABC would do like Fox did and make it a point to show us the debris that they are calling the caution for.

Carl D.
10/06/2008 08:48 AM

Yes, the rules seem to be inconsistently enforced. Personally, I knew who the winner would be when they crossed the line: whichever driver Nascar wanted to get the win. On the other hand, had Nascar given the win to Smith, there would always be the criticism that he won it dirty.

In the end, it was a race where no one was seriously injured, and that’s all that really matters at Talledega and Daytona.

10/06/2008 08:56 AM

Smith won the race if nothing else on precedent. This has happened at three other races in recent memory and no penalty was given because it was the last lap. This is bullshit, pure and simple.

10/06/2008 09:03 AM

Take that NA$CRAP fans and shove it! If one wonders why I continually rag on how inept NA$CRAP is, I hope you watched the fiasco called Talladega!

1. GOODYEAR TIRES! Need any more be said?

2. ABC sports, and their cover-up of GOODYEAR!

Oh, he must have “cut a tire down”! Oh, he must have ran over something!

Sounds like the track at Talladega had as much debris on it as I-94 in downtown Detroit!

Oh, and all the debris was only on the right side of the car! (with one exception)

3. In the drivers meeting, as verified by JJ & others, on the last lap “anything” goes! Well, that really depends on “who” I guess!

4. Also CLEARLY STATED in the drivers meeting, as they always say: “bump drafting is not allowed in the corners”!

So? Just who bump-drafted in EVERY corner of almost every LAP?

Why! None other than “Golden Boy” Jr. himself! Of course it must also be mentioned that it was at this track that Jr. was awarded a win simply because NA$CRAP did not want a riot on their hands if they did the right thing and take the win away from Jr.! The fans have spoken! Win by popularity!

5. Restrictor plates! How sick and outdated is this theory of making races “safer”!

7. The CoC, err, I mean the CoT, “not the car-of-crap”! Maybe NA$CRAP could hold bathtub races! Be about the same, less money for sure!

BUT!! The good news is, I am becoming a NA$CRAP convert at these restrictor plate races! And you say “WHAT”???

Sure, since this is what NA$CRAP wants, I simply watched this thing to see how many cars could be turned into junk at the same time!!

OH! OH! A nine (9) car pileup! WOW!! Too bad it wasn’t 15!

OH! OH! An eleven (11) car pileup! WOW! Too bad it wasn’t 20!

Come on NA$CRAP! I want to see the ultimate 30 car pile up!

See, I am a NA$CAR convert!

Bring it on drivers!

Flying thru the air, smoke, fire, body parts (car parts that is, up to now anyway), slamming the wall at 200MPH!

WOW! How exciting, how very exciting!

As it turns out, the smartest fan was th one that did not buy a ticket to see this thing live, did you see ALL the empty grandstand seats! Must have been 40,000 EMPTY seats! Folks are learning for sure!

10/06/2008 09:09 AM

Note: Sorry for the mixed print! Not exactly sure how this happened, but I am like NA$CAR, I make the rule as i go!


I will try to do better, sorry again!

Not a problem Douglas, that happens if you leave a space at the front of the sentence. Easy fix from this side -- Ren

10/06/2008 09:32 AM

The same rule that states Drivers may not go below the yellow line and pass (unless forced) also states Drivers may not willfully force others below the yellow line.

Smith should turn Tony Stewart into a wall the first chance he gets next week and take him out of the Chase run for good. He would win the respect of millions for not taking this in the cheeks.

I am no Smith fan, I am a racing fan, and that move yesterday was pure horseshit.

No wonder NA$CAR leadership does not have e-mails posted anywhere on their site. Their server would be swamped.

10/06/2008 09:32 AM

Oh! And “In a Nutshell: Yogi Berra once said, “It ain’t over until it’s over.” Apparently, sometimes it’s not over even when it is over”.

It apparently ain’t over until NA$CAR re-writes the rules! On-the-spot!

10/06/2008 09:38 AM

Once again I agree with you one hundred percent Douglas! I only watched the last 50 laps, the rest was a bore as I read it.

10/06/2008 09:58 AM

You know what would have really been interesting to watch? What would have happened if it was Jr. in Smith’s position… now that would have been fun to watch NA$CAR wiggle that one around. They are just hokey!

10/06/2008 10:16 AM

I agree with Mark. If it was Jr. in Smith’s place Jr. would have been awarded the win. Can’t wait for that to happen and see what NA$CAR says.

10/06/2008 10:36 AM

Scott , very observant ! Debris : a French word meaning our poster driver needs help to catch up . If you had been listening to NASCAR control when they threw the first caution , you would have heard loud swearing and anguished cries when they discovered they had helped Robbie Gordon by mistake . No problem though . Wait a few laps so its not quite so obvious and try again . Again folks , Smith made a mistake . No matter who said what at some mythical race in the past , or during the truck race the day before , A driver cannot pass under the yellow line !!! Driving down under the yellow line was not Smiths infraction . Passing another car while below the yellow line was his infraction . That rule has been in the books for many years , and other drivers have been caught before including Tony Stewart .

Robert Eastman
10/06/2008 11:08 AM

STAR POWER! NASCAR Lives and Breathes on Star Power! Most people know that if the roles were reverse, (if it was Tony in second behind Regan Smith) and Tony was forced below the yellow line coming to the checker and he passed Smith, Tony would still get the win. Why? Because Regan Smith doesn’t have a large fan base, sells very few tickets and little merchandise.
Tony was right when he said that NASCAR is like “pro wrestling.” Fortunetly for him, this time it worked in his favour because it wasn’t Jr. who made the pass for the win!

10/06/2008 11:30 AM

I agree with Dennis 100%. Tony should have been put in the wall yesterday because of that blocking, and he should have been black-flagged for forcing below the line. This is the 1st and last race in the chase I am going to watch. No more NASCAR for me this year.

And generally I like Tony Stewart, but you can’t race like that and not expect to end up in the hospital with your team-mate, what an idiot. You can’t block across a track that has 5 to 6 lanes on it. BLACK FLAG, and give the penalty for passing, and the win to MENARD.

And how does NASCAR expect a person to watch the event for 5 1/2 hours – which was 1 to 6:30pm. Take some hints from the NFL. 3 hours max. Why do I want to keep tuning into football year after year? I am not sure exactly why I like it so much? How many Dega races can I watch and hear the same one or two liners from the announcers – let’s ask Junior about the mental toll the event takes on the driver – I have only heard that described 20 times in the last 10 years, how exciting. And football is the same, too, as it was 10 years ago, but I don’t keep hearing the EXACT same crap, over and over and over. Dale Jarret just brings more of the same to the booth. And boy was he rooting for Stewart after the checkered, defending him for the fine job of blocking!!!


10/06/2008 11:52 AM

you know, i think na$car knew stewart would have thrown the mother of all hissy fits if they hadn’t given him the win. when tv was showing stewart in the car just as they cross start finish line, stewart knew he was 2nd. he started tossing his gloves in digust. i turned it off after that. i also agree with dennis…sure seemed like a long race.

i also voted with my $$ yesterday and stayed away from the track. all weekend long those seats were empty. i’ve never seen cup race with as many empty seats as was there yesterday. at least ‘dega didn’t try to camouflage the empty seats with advertising banners.

Jeff G
10/06/2008 11:54 AM

I rarely agree with most of what you say, but this time you hit it on the head.

NASCAR really has become WWE. They have no “cut and dry” rule book. They really make it up as they go. A “spokesperson” represents his employer, right?? I can accept any rule, but at LEAST inforce it equally.. We all read about what happened last year at the Daytona truck race, and what a “spokesperson” had to say about Johnny Bensons pass.

OK, I’m a 55 year old fan that ATTENDED my first NASCAR race when I was 8 years old. I saw a lot of the great races over the years in person…

It even seems to me that all todays drivers are only puppets to NASCAR. (I guess if you get paid 10 to 20 million a year you can be anything)

Yesterday’s race made me finally feel sad.. It was a joke. I mean a flat out JOKE!! From the TV commentators, to the pre-race activities, to the comments from the poor (RICH) little puppets (DRIVERS).

The “good old day’s” are long gone…..

I didn’t care who won, but it was the WORST thing I EVER saw to be called a race. Just a bunch of guys running in a big pack waiting for someone to wreck half the field. NO skill as a driver needed at all.

I love it when they actually used their “skill” to race each other…

Oh well, days gone by.. never to return..

10/06/2008 12:50 PM

Thanks Jeff G! And well stated!

And for the record, I am over 55 and also have seen “great racing”, and more importantly, like you, know what “great racing” really is!

Not today’s crap!

10/06/2008 01:02 PM

Jeff G, so you think these drivers have no skill? I think it take more skill to drive now a days! Give me a close race like this anyday! I’m 50, I liked the old days but I do like races like this at Talladega. Throw away the 1 1/2 mile tracks.

Kevin in SoCal
10/06/2008 01:32 PM

For those that say take away the plates, just what would you propose to use in place of them? Huge sails on the roof? The bigger COT did allow NASCAR to open up the plate a little bit, you know. But with today’s technology, I dont know what else to do to slow the cars down. Running 43 cars at 220 MPH isnt the answer, no matter what you think.

Bill B
10/06/2008 01:45 PM

Put a chicane in the tri-oval. That would slow them down.

Remove the banking. Or better yet, make it negative banking. That would also slow them down.

10/06/2008 02:08 PM

What a joke. A few years ago when junior was awarded the win, because Kenseth forced him down, the irony is Kenseth actually left jr the bottom lane, jr had room and still chose to dive below the yellow advancing his position under the line. Nascar didn’t hesitate for a second saying Kenseth forced him down. There was no difference in the two events, except Kenseth left jr room, Stewart left Smith none. Nascar chose the winners in both of these events. Two almost identical incidents, two different rulings

Phil B
10/06/2008 02:12 PM

Smaller engines

10/06/2008 03:17 PM

I also thought the cot or pos was supposed to do away with the plates ,if nothing else put a smaller carb on them and let them run 210 or 220 as much as they harp about how safe the new cars are 10 to 20 more mph shouldnt hurt.I live less than 2 hrs away from dega and didnt go.I have been a fan for 20+ years and have only missed a few degas in between but no more for me.

Jeff G
10/06/2008 04:57 PM

You may notice I said I like races when the drivers actually “used” their skill..

All they need at ‘Dega is “Nerve”..

BTW, looks like JJ decided he didn’t have the “nerve”…

10/06/2008 05:55 PM

You forgot the exception to The Yellow Line Rule: Unless it is Junior!

10/06/2008 09:19 PM

Douglas, I agree with you on the state of NASCAR. But, sometimes, the stupidest things come out of your keyboard. It seems Jr is the blame for everything. It seems to me that you thought you had a pretty good deal in drag racing, but never fully succeeded, so now you are jealous of Jr’s celebrity. Now, before you jump on me, that probably is not the case, but you seem to have a lot of pent up anger you are unleashing at NASCAR and at Junior.

10/06/2008 10:06 PM

After watching my Seahawks getting their A** handed to them, I left the game in the second quarter to watch the race. I thought it couldn’t be any worse. Boy, was I wrong.
In my bottom line Stewart forced Smith below the line. That is a violation of the second part of the “Yellow Line Rule”.
Also, am I wrong in remembering a time when superspeedway tires with an inner liner usually just went flat, even after “debris”? Every tire failure was a grenade and even had Waltrip using a hammer inside beating out the damage to his roof after hitting another skin. Funny how a controversial finish overshadows a far more important fact in the race. Another Goodyear failure. I thought it was very evident that, after Vicker’s right front failure, most drivers pulled a JJ. Lap times dropped in anticipation of another Goodyear bomb. Had it not been for a second big one, caused by Cranial/Rectal Inversion, it would have been even more evident.
And Edwards? What an IDIOT! Loved what Kenseth had to say postrace.

10/07/2008 08:52 PM

scott, like you. I would have like to have seen. the debrie, that helped, the cheaters! what a joke, nascar has become!!!