Summer Bedgood · Thursday May 30, 2013
So, do you have satellite or … cable?
NASCAR spectators have not had a great year considering that we’ve now had two races where fans had to go to the hospital because of something that happened on track. This time, a cable (or, more specifically, a rope) fell onto a speedway and into the grandstands, where it was whipped around like a lasso before the caution flag came out for repairs. In that 30 seconds, the wire injured 10 fans, sending three of them to the hospital.
While everyone turned out OK, it was instantly archived as one of those races we’ll look back on at the season-ending banquet and go, “Hey, remember THAT?”
In all seriousness, I’m glad everyone turned out to be alright. After watching the video from the point of view of the fans in the grandstands, I realized how bad it could have been. I still stand by my original assessment, though that I believe it to be a freak accident and that FOX doesn’t deserve some of the criticism they’ve gotten. I’d still like to see the camera back in action next season when FOX returns to the broadcast booth. For now, I just hope they find some answers as to what happened very soon.
Now, on to your questions:
Why doesn’t every racetrack use the Air Titan? I thought the new system was supposed to be in use across the board, but they didn’t use it in Charlotte during the All-Star Race and I didn’t see it there at all over the last couple of weeks. – Lynne
Each individual track has to pay for the Air Titan, and Brian France said in a press conference that many tracks have decided not to use it because of the cost associated. It is a Catch-22 situation for NASCAR, because tracks won’t use it because they’ve never seen it in action yet they’ve never seen it in action because no one wants to pay for it. The general consensus is that the Air Titan did its job well during the 24 hours of Talladega a few weeks ago, but it appears that still wasn’t enough of an audition for owners to overrule the old fashioned way of using the jet dryers. It’s cheaper.
So I think it’s going to be a slow, steady integration of the Air Titan going forward. Sometimes you’ll see it, sometimes you won’t unless NASCAR pays for it to be a part of every track they race on. Not the best answer, but I’m sure we can all be thankful that we don’t have anyone old-fashioned enough to drag some tires behind a truck in hopes of drying a weather-worn oval.
Then again, let’s not give Bruton Smith anymore zany ideas.
Did I really read that Richard Childress Racing re-signed Paul Menard on for three more years? Why not give that ride to someone with REAL talent? – Ryan
Technically it was Menards, Paul Menard’s sponsor (and father’s company) that signed on for three more years, but that’s as good as a contract as anything for Menard.
As far as your second question, anyone with built-in sponsorship is all but guaranteed a ride at this point. Though there are exceptions that we’ve seen in recent years — John Wes Townley and Steve Wallace, to name a couple — Menard is actually not a terrible investment considering he actually doesn’t tear up equipment.
Stop laughing, I’m serious. Let’s go back to Townley and Wallace. If you’re like me and like to chat with other race fans during the race, either on social media or in Internet chatrooms, there was usually some sort of over/under bet that was placed on when, not if, either one of them would cause a caution.
You don’t have that dynamic with Menard. While he’s obviously far from the most talented driver in the field, he’s usually pretty good about finishing the races unscathed. In 12 races, he hasn’t had one DNF and has finished on the lead lap in 10 of them.
Last year, he had only one DNF in the entire season and finished on the lead lap in 24 of the 36 events.
I agree with the fact that Menard isn’t the most talented racecar driver, but RCR isn’t losing any money on him, either. As long as Menards is willing to shell out the dough for him to be on the racetrack, Childress should continue providing the opportunity. In fact, you could argue that the consistency of Menard being in good equipment for as long as he has makes him a better driver.
I’m not saying I wouldn’t like to see someone more talented in the car; the Dillon brothers are waiting in the wings. But, you play with the cards your dealt, and the extra cash could help Childress with his grandsons over the long-term. I’d say Menard has been dealt a pretty good hand, done the best he could with it, and because of that there’s no reason for anyone to change things.
I seriously just saw a headline that talked about the ride home with “Stenica”……. I mean, really??? What’s next, a play by play on how they kiss? Nobody cares!!! Please pass this on to your fellow media members. I’m sick of hearing about their relationship. It won’t last anyway. – Trish
I share this sentiment, but the numbers of clicks these stories get do not. They wouldn’t be written up and posted if that weren’t the case. The common misconception is that the media drives the conversation, but that’s not true. The conversation drives the media, and for some reason people care about this “power couple.”
I know it’s a part of our culture to watch celebrity couples and keep up with the, er, ups and downs of the relationship. It’s not a pastime I’ve enjoyed and I don’t read smuck magazines because I simply don’t care.
I never thought, though, that something like this relationship would ever seep into my area of coverage. I mean, sure, eventually wives and girlfriends of drivers would make it into special feature stories on drivers’ personal lives, but it was never to the point of tabloid fodder. Nobody talked about the silent rides home, the fights behind the motor coaches or, really, anything. It was only a story if someone, usually the drivers decided to make it a story, and the only time that happened was with a wedding or a baby. That, to me is the way it should be.
However, this stuff is mind-numbing. It’s not just the occasional playful stories that might be somewhat enjoyable. This stuff is the personal, National Enquirer-type headlines that talk about the negative, nasty parts that piece together every single relationship in existence.
Yes, I understand why it’s a story and I understand the fascination with competitors dating off the track. At the same time, I don’t understand the desire to consume news about every little thing about this couple – or any celebrity couple for that matter. I hate having to even pay attention as a media member. It’s a part of our culture that I just cannot stand and wish it would simply go away.
Sadly, they’re just into the early dating stages and this story has only begun to tell itself. Oh, boy I can’t wait…
Now … my question to the readers: Do you care about the personal lives of the drivers or do you agree with Trish’s point of view?
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