The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: Hall of Fame Anomalies, Career Shifts, and High Expectations by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday May 23, 2013

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So we learned something new over the weekend. Apparently math is not a strong point in NASCAR nation. Average finishes are not to be calculated lightly, or else black helicopters will fly and fly and fly. The tinfoil hats will start crinkling, and everyone will again live on a grassy knoll. There is no escaping it; everything is a conspiracy.

So when SPEED somehow miscalculated Jimmie Johnson’s average finish after the first four segments, everyone flipped the heck out when Johnson was placed fourth instead of 11th. It was just … craziness. In fact, I’m shocked there wasn’t a riot directly outside of the racetrack or NASCAR headquarters within about 10 minutes. Hysteria, mass chaos, gnashing of teeth. There was some dark stuff going down.

No, really, sometimes you NASCAR fans completely flip your “stuff” at the drop of a hat. I can understand there being confusion, questions, and some chaos considering that we were getting two different numbers from supposedly reliable sources. I was just a little shocked at how quickly everyone jumped to NASCAR favoring Johnson rather than SPEED screwing up. I was also shocked at how angry at everyone got. I mean, really, aren’t there more important things to get upset about?

Now onto your questions:

“I saw that Danica Patrick got a section in the NASCAR Hall of Fame. Please enlighten me as to how in the name of all things racing that happened and why on earth she deserves that. Because if all it takes is a bikini shot to get me a sponsor that will send me racing, sign me up.” Brian

Something tells me you wouldn’t look that great in a bikini, Brian.

Anyway, I’m sure you’re referring to the picture that Bob Pockrass of Sporting News posted on Twitter. (Seen here: https://twitter.com/bobpockrass/status/337316489025691649/photo/1)

In all fairness, it was for her pole position at Daytona. You don’t have to like her to agree that it was an historic moment for NASCAR considering she was the first woman to ever get a pole in the Sprint Cup Series. That’s more along the lines of why there is a display there. It’s not a tribute to Danica Patrick’s career as much as it is to that one moment. Simply put, it’s meant to mark a memorable moment for the sport and not much else.

Some fans are super excited about Danica Patrick getting a spot within the NASCAR Hall of Fame! Others…not so much.

Now, could Patrick potentially have her own entire display or section in the Hall when all is said and done? Perhaps, but that’s years away (assuming she stays in the sport that long) and I would hope that she’d have to do more than win a pole and finish in the top 10 a couple times to earn that.

As far as whether or not she’s worth an actual induction … I doubt she’ll have the stats for it, but the fact that she’s the first semi-competitive female in recent memory might very well earn her that distinction. That doesn’t mean that it’s fair or that I like it, but the 2013 Daytona 500 will be remembered more for Patrick’s pole than Jimmie Johnson’s wins. Sometimes that’s all it takes.

“Summer, I’m a fan of both IndyCar and NASCAR and like watching the two series. I always find it interesting to see how drives do when they cross over, and I couldn’t help but notice A.J. Allmendinger over the weekend. Fifth fastest in Indy 500 qualifying! Heck, why doesn’t he just stay where he is? He wasn’t that great in NASCAR anyway.” Leslie

I’m not an IndyCar aficionado or anything, but the IndyCar correspondents here at The Frontstretch have lead me to believe that qualifying in IndyCar is about the same as it is in NASCAR: It’s a big deal until the green flag flies.

However, I don’t think anyone would argue that Allmendinger is a better open wheel driver than he is a stock car driver. If he does as well in the Indianapolis 500 as he has done so far in qualifying, Roger Penske just may well decide to keep him right where he is. He’s, for the most part, out of the eyes of controversy (drug test, anyone?) and he can still succeed at a high level in motorsports.

In fact, as much as I like Allmendinger, I do hope he stays where he is. He has a much better chance of winning and continuing to compete in IndyCar will be like a fresh start for him. I’ll certainly miss ‘Dinger’s pre-qualifying, rain delay, talk show interviews where he almost always seemed to make us laugh, but it’s not exactly hard to flip the channel if need be. I do sincerely wish him well.

“You know the sport is in bad shape when even the All-Star Race sucks. National anthem singers can’t sing, commercials make watching the race impossible, and the same people win every weekend. Why should I keep watching?” Ryan

Well I thought the All-Star Race was great up until the final segment, so I don’t really know what you’re talking about there.

You’re really using national anthems as a reason that the sport is going downhill? Really? Go to YouTube and type in “mangled national anthem.” I guarantee you there will be more of them than you can possibly go through in one sitting, and I guarantee you most of them ¬_won’t_ be NASCAR. Sometimes people screw up or can’t sing the National Anthem very well. It happens. But it’s not a reflection on NASCAR.

Commercials pay the bills. It’s either that or Pay-Per-View. Take your pick.

The same people win every week? We’ve had seven different winners in 11 races. Five of the first races of the year were won by five different drivers. How much more diversity do you want?

Unfortunately, you’re not alone in your thinking. I see people saying the same thing almost every day. What’s strange is that these are the same people who celebrate the days of old when there was very little diversity as to who could win a race on any given weekend and when races were won in margins of laps and not seconds (or less).

The 2013 running of The All-Star Race was going along quite well — until the No. 48 team turned the clock back to the mid 2000s and ran away in the final segment.

Sometimes I just think expectations are too high, and I don’t really understand why. In terms of sheer numbers, the sport is more competitive than it ever has been and there are usually more than just two or three teams who can win on any given weekend. Sure the tide shifts throughout a year where one team seems to hold an advantage, then another is left holding the trophy at the end of the year. But how is that evidence of non-competition? If anything, it shows that there is opportunity for several teams to succeed and you truly can’t count anyone out.

Seriously, I don’t understand the logic behind these types of comments. Some of the things you mentioned aren’t even in NASCAR’s control, and the rest of it just isn’t backed up by statistics. I don’t know if it’s lethargy or a resistance to change, but I really don’t understand why the competition is constantly criticized. Not every single lap of every single race is fun to watch, but you can’t convince me that it was any different 20 years ago.

Certainly there are things that need improved but I’d hardly argue that the sport is dying and certainly not for the reasons you listed. Common sense should prevail here, and this just isn’t it.

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JP
05/23/2013 08:36 AM
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Nascar has brought all this crap on themselves and they deserve all the scrutiny. The Chase was/is a gimmick designed to go against the NFL, fake debris cautions, constantly changing rules, the failure of the COT, harsh, ridiculous penalties….

Nascar assumes all fans are stupid and won’t be able to figure this stuff out. But not all fans are kool-aide drinkers and now we are skeptical about EVERYTHING nascar does.

Nascar brought this on themselves and until and unless there is a change in direction and leadership we’ll just have to sit and watch how low they can’t take this sport before a change HAS to be made.

Tony
05/23/2013 12:20 PM
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Of course people complaining about how the chase ruined nascar also were whining when kenseth top-10ed the field to death…

Carl D.
05/23/2013 01:00 PM
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Something doesn’t have to be wrong for it to suck. There’s nothing wrong with Johnson winning another all-star race, another Daytona 500, another championship, etc. That’s his job and he does it well. It still sucks for the rest of the drivers fans. Most of us know that it’s up to the other teams to knoch him off his perch, not Nascar.

john
05/23/2013 02:38 PM
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Lots of haters having their hate blind them. Of course she belongs in the Hall of Fame. Her “accomplishment” is literally a record, and a statistic. Just like Sara Christian and Janet Guthrie should be there for being the first woman to race NASCAR and the first to race on a Super Speedway respectively, Danica should be there for being the first to lead laps at Daytona and the first to score a top 10 at Daytona. And that’s assuming she doesn’t accomplish anything else, which I doubt.

jerseygirl
05/23/2013 04:05 PM
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Summer, why do you bother writing a column if you dislike NASCAR fans and their point of view so much? All you do is whine about the fans each time you write.

Actually math is not a strong point for NASCAR or Fox since it was Fox putting up the graphic before NASCAR could use its abacus to come up with the order for the last segment. If Fox hadn’t jumped the gun, there wouldn’t have been any controversey – get your facts straight and stop blaming the fans for everything or find something else to write about.

While NASCAR is at it, they could hire some decent engineers to fix the aeropush on the cars and some capable IT people to run their website.

Like JP I believe that NASCAR has brought all of this on themselves. They continue to create situations with various secret fines and violations. Heck, they keep penalizing teams for cars/parts that are “unapproved” that have NEVER been ON the track. I can see if they find it saying – you can’t run that, but fines and penalties.

Joe..
05/23/2013 07:13 PM
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Wow, I am really messed up today. I agree with Summer, JP, Tony, Carl D, john and jerseygirl. Everyone here today has valid points to make.