The Frontstretch: Four Burning Questions: Media Snobs, Duel Strategies, and ... Twitter! by Summer Bedgood -- Friday June 8, 2012

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Why do drivers feel entitled to tell the media how to do their job?

How ironic that the driver who advocates for the media to focus only on the racing side of the sport does everything in his power to guarantee otherwise. Kurt Busch once again managed to shoot himself in the foot with rather unnecessary comments to Sporting News journalist Bob Pockrass, who was asking him about a topic that Busch himself had just mentioned minutes prior on national television.

This topic was Busch’s probation and how it affected his on-track racing with fellow competitor Justin Allgaier in the Nationwide Series. Busch responded by saying that probation was the only thing that kept Busch from “beating the s—- out of [Pockrass]”.

But the soap opera doesn’t end there. Media darling Tony Stewart days later commended Busch for his comments, and continued to call out Pockrass for being a “tabloid journalist. ‘

Again, it’s ironic that a driver who claims to think racing should be the only thing being discussed intentionally makes comments he knows will stir things up. I can only come to one conclusion: They don’t mind other racing storylines, as long as it isn’t negative towards them.

Here’s the thing. The media’s job is not to ask questions that will appease the drivers, nor is it to focus only on the on-track action. The fact is, there is much more going on behind the scenes, and stories such as those aren’t just written about and broadcast on television for the heck of it. It’s because fans are interested and curious about storylines such as these. If they weren’t, the stories wouldn’t be written. Period.

Simply put, the media’s job is to write the news. Positive, negative, or somewhere in between, that’s what the media is there for. Just because Busch, Stewart, and other drivers who somehow think they are entitled enough to decide the news don’t like the headlines doesn’t mean it isn’t a topic worth discussing or hearing about. Or that the fans want to hear. If they can’t handle it, maybe they should go back to running their local short track, where they won’t have to deal with the media at all.

Kasey Kahne scored one of the three wins Hendrick Motorsports has posted in the last month of Cup competition.

Hendrick vs. Roush: Which approach will prevail?

Though it took longer than most expected, Hendrick Motorsports has shot out of a cannon and finally gotten two of their four drivers to Victory Lane. My guess is they’ll have all four in the winner’s circle before the end of the year, but that’s a different topic for a different time.

On the flip side, the Roush Fenway Racing duo of Greg Biffle and Matt Kenseth has one win apiece but are sitting at the top of the standings. While the fact that HMS is not closer to RFR can be attributed to their slow start, the two different seasons is certainly telling.

If you rewind to last season, you’ll remember that there was a similar battle: the consistent Carl Edwards vs. the victorious Stewart. In fact, the only thing that gave Stewart that championship was those wins, but consistency alone kept Edwards in contention.

While a lot can and will change between now and November, it looks like in the battle between consistency and wins, so far it’s pretty evenly matched.

*How much will the new Twitter page really do for NASCAR? *

I’m pretty active on Twitter and enjoy the interaction with fans and people in the industry, so I was excited to hear Twitter and NASCAR were teaming up for an even better experience. However, when I heard about the new page, I had mixed feelings. Now that I have seen it for myself at www.twitter.com/#NASCAR, I’m even less enthusiastic.

The page itself is really neat, and the premise behind it is fantastic. Basically, Twitter selects the best NASCAR-related tweets from drivers, crew members, family, etc. and posts them on the page for everyone to see. Again, it’s a great idea on paper and one I think race fans will for the most part enjoy.

However, the one flaw I see in it is that it lacks the one thing that I think Twitter is best at: interaction. For those who don’t know, the “#NASCAR” is a “hashtag” that Twitter users utilize to “tag” their tweets with specific topics. Before this page launched, when a Twitter user clicked on this tag, it would take them to a list of the most recent tweets that had the hashtag in it. Now, it only takes them to that specific page.

Maybe others will disagree, but I think the best part about Twitter is being able to interact with other race fans. If you are just being fed tweets from industry regulars, that interaction disappears. Heck, fans already pick and choose who they follow and whose tweets they read, and really don’t necessarily need a page to tell them who that should be.

I’ll keep an eye on the page on race day, but for the most part I’m going to stick with what I already have.

Can the repave improve public opinion of Pocono?

For the most part, the test sessions at Pocono Raceway have been met with positive reviews and the drivers seem to like it. In fact, they have even promised fans excitement at a track that is known for its snooze-inducing races and long drawn out green flag runs.

For me it’s an “I’ll see it when I believe it” moment. After all, Pocono might have a new surface, but it’s still a gigantic racetrack with wide racing grooves and not a lot of room for beating and banging. For a season that hasn’t seen a lot of action in many events, it’s going to be hard to win the fans over to Pocono when expectations are already so low.

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Lydia
06/08/2012 09:34 AM
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It’s good to see racing is a true reflection of other entertainment venues! Ha! In the Hollywood world it’s stars vs media..and it seems we have the same “versus” in NASCAR world! Instead of fighting it..and taking sides..why don’t we all agree to disagree and get on with it. There’s NEVER going to be a winner here…just alot of “he said” “they said”…and it’s getting very tedious and child like. So..drivers get on with your jobs…reporters get on with yours….play nice … and BOTH sides remember you each have a job to do…and it benefits BOTH sides to be cordial even if it bites! (NOT literally!)

Don Mei
06/08/2012 12:15 PM
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“Simply put, the media’s job is to write the news.” What planet are you on; in contemporary America, the media’s job is to CREATE the news, and if they have to inject themselves into the story, well that all right too! Of course the drivers have the right to say, um sorry, Ive got something important to do, like feed my dog but we all now how important it is to stand there and talk about The Leos Lard Toyota and how well it was running and how good the crew was, suit zippered up showing the logo on the collar, matching the one on the hat. Kinda makes you want to shake your head or just go somewhere and throw up after a while. You want to ask stupid questions of people on an emotional high, be prepared to suffer the consequences.

Joe..
06/08/2012 02:23 PM
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Spot on Don Mei.

Steve
06/08/2012 03:46 PM
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Summer, did you cut and paste the first section from Jeff Meyer? You both used “media darling” in your articles. Maybe some original thought might help next time. What’s next Matt running the same story? We know Matt can’t pass up a chance to take a shot at Tony.

It appears Tony hit a nerve on this website. Keep telling it like it is Smoke.

Kate
06/08/2012 06:08 PM
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Why do drivers feel entitled to tell media how to do their jobs? Maybe the same reason the media members feel entitled to tell drivers how to do their job?