The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: FS1, Replacement Drivers, And Unhappy Race Fans by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday August 8, 2013

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NASCAR Mailbox: FS1, Replacement Drivers, And Unhappy Race Fans

Summer Bedgood · Thursday August 8, 2013


It’s been a tough year for the racing community, hasn’t it?

Losing Jason Leffler and Kramer Williamson in a little over the month was difficult enough, then we were hit in the face with the news that Tony Stewart will sit out of the race this weekend in Watkins Glen because of a broken leg sustained in a sprint car race on Monday night. Stewart is expected to miss several weeks while he recovers from his broken right leg.

A few other tragedies this season have also laced the headlines on many racing websites this season, though certainly not with the publicity that the last few stories have had.

The one thing that they all have in common, is sprint car racing. Most of the racing tragedies, especially the most heartbreaking, ones we can think of this season happened in sprint car racing and has spurred a request for change this season.

The fact of the matter is that there is no sanctioning body or driver in the entire world that wants to see this kind of thing happen. There is no fan who actually wants to see drivers dying. There is no one in the entire racing industry that is okay with tragedy in their series.

Yet it happens. And while initiatives will be taken and more safety implementations will be carried out in all forms of motorsports as long as racing exists, there will always be tragedy. There will always be heartbreak and there will always be injuries if not fatalities. It’s not a glittering reality that we sometimes like to see the world of racing in, but it is the truth.

So what do we do about that?

Aside from working to increase the safety in the sport to the best of our ability, we do what we always do: stick together. Through the sadness, the racing community always seems to rally around each other and unite in a way that is inspirational every time it happens. Remember how everyone stepped up for Leffler’s son, Charlie Dean, after Leffler passed away in a crash? Similarly, Stewart has already expressed gratitude for the outpouring of support he has received since the crash.

Those within the racing community are the best for a reason: they stick together. So instead of criticizing sprint car racing for the fact that they haven’t spent the millions of dollars on safety initiatives that NASCAR has, allow them to make the changes that they see as fit. In the end they will do the right thing. For all of us, it’s a chance to unite and be there for one another. Isn’t that the best policy anyway?

Now onto your questions:

Now I know why DW has his head up Busch’s ass all the time — they are going to sponsor him! Poor decision I do believe. I know there isn’t a single driver that would please everyone unless it might be Schrader, but l also know of one in particular that will piss off the majority. And they chose him. SMH. Reba

Technically they were sponsoring Joey Coulter, Kyle Busch’s driver in the Camping World Truck Series. But I know where you are coming from.

However, I don’t think that it “pissed off” the majority. In fact, I didn’t really get the sense that anyone cared that it was Kyle Busch’s truck that they sponsored. They just aren’t happy about FOX Sports 1.

You mentioned Ken Schrader as a universally loved individual that they might have gotten away with sponsoring without aggravating people. I think that even then, people would have still been aggravated because they were using a beloved racing figure to promote a cause that is largely unpopular with race fans.

Thanks, but we kind of liked the old one.

I talk to race fans every single day, and haven’t heard one person who is actually excited to see SPEED changing to FOX Sports 1. Actually, now that I think about it, I can’t think of any race fans I’ve talked to who are anything but upset or angry about it. They hate that they are losing quality racing programming like SPEED Center and Wind Tunnel, and instead are being replaced with UFC fights, soccer, and sub-par original programming.

So FOX Sports 1 sponsorship endeavors was not upsetting because it was Kyle Busch’s truck. It was upsetting because to many race fans, it was like rubbing salt into a fresh wound.

“What was the point of putting Max Papis in the car, other than that he’s a road ringer? What’s the connection to Stewart?” Roger

I could answer that question myself, but instead let me pull it straight from the press release from Stewart Haas Racing:

“Papis tested the #14 Chevrolet on July 30 at Road Atlanta in Braselton, GA.”

So, in other words, Papis has already worked closely with this team before. Couple that with your own admission that he’s a road ringer and I don’t think it takes a genius to see why he was pulled in to drive this weekend. Now, as to who will drive the car after this week, that wasn’t specified. The only thing the team released was that Papis will drive the car this weekend and Stewart will need more surgery.

Otherwise, we don’t know any more than you do at this time.

“Why do you talk about Jimmie Johnson so much? Seriously, we’re tired of it already. Get over your love affair with him and talk about someone who matters.” William

If you don’t care, then why did you bring him up?

It’s not that you don’t care, William. It’s that you’re tired of seeing him succeed, for whatever reason. I’m tired of speculating about why people don’t like it, other than it’s predictable, because honestly it doesn’t matter. The fact that people don’t like Johnson’s domination is not reason enough to demonize him.

Also, I happen to be a media member. Being a media member, it is my job to talk about, discuss, and “bring up” whoever and whatever is relevant. If you don’t think Johnson, the current points leader, winner of four races and, oh yeah, five time champion is relevant, than you clearly don’t have the brain cells to continue watching.

Breaking News: El Cajon Man Hated for Being Good at His Job.

I don’t cheer for Jimmie Johnson. I couldn’t care less if he wins the next five championships or never wins a race again. I don’t care that you hate him or that you wish he would just go away. But, by covering NASCAR and analyzing what is going on in the sport, I am obligated to talk about the one person who is heads and shoulders above everyone else from a competition standpoint.

You may not like Jimmie Johnson, but it’s not my fault he’s doing as well as he is.

My suggestion? If you really don’t care, don’t talk about him. I don’t care if it’s positive or negative. If you don’t want to hear or talk about Jimmie Johnson, then don’t say anything. Quit clicking the links, quit commenting on articles, and quit sending nasty e-mails to people who are doing their job. If we see that our pieces about Jimmie Johnson are getting 0 hits, I can promise you we won’t talk about him anymore unless he wins a race or does something headline worthy. Our opinions don’t matter if you don’t respond to them.

Instead, all you just did was open up an opportunity to discuss Johnson’s legacy even more. And I know that, as a result, there are plenty of you already typing away at your keyboards “pissed off” at me for doing so.

If you don’t like it, there is either one of two things that needs to happen. Either your driver needs to pick up the pace and beat them or you need to quit caring. But stop blaming me or anyone else in the media for doing our job.

Connect with Summer!

Contact Summer Bedgood

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
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Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
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08/08/2013 08:19 AM

We, the fans, want to see SOMEONE in the Nascar media ask the hard questions about the seemingly favorable treatment of Hendrick and the 48.

What’s up with the inspections? The cautions that come out when a Hendrick driver is about to go a lap down? I could go on and on….and you damn well know it.

Instead we get a media that asks softball questions and get baby pablum for answers.

“So Chad tells Jimmie to hit the wall if he wins the race? Hey, that’s just fun’n around ya know. Nothing fishy about that.”

Yeah, and they laughed in the beginning when people started talking about “phony debris cautions”. Now it’s just accepted.

08/08/2013 08:51 AM

When the whole debris cautions thing first started up, many drivers, like the fans, were speaking up about it. Nascar’s responded by calling a meeting and basically telling the drivers “Hey don’t rock the boat. We’ve got a nice gravy train going here and everyone’s making money”.

I bet if there wasn’t so much money being made there would be drivers and teams speaking up about all the questionable things that constantly surround the 48 and Hendrick.

There is so much money involved that a driver can race…and NEVER win…and still come out a multi-millonaire. What a life! And if they feel they’re on the hot seat? Well, just step it up a notch and win a race to stay in the game. (Hello Newman, Logano?)

Carl D.
08/08/2013 10:05 AM

@William: Stop your whining about Summer’s Johnson infatuation. It could be worse; she could be writing about Danica Patrick.

Old Fan Bill
08/08/2013 10:53 AM

I guess this late in the game Tony didn’t have much of a choice. Papis may be ok in a sports car, but he like a bull in a china shop in the trucks, NW or Cup cars. He has aways seemed a little phoney to me.

As far as Speed becoming Fox Sports,it like the old saying,you can put lipstick on a pig ,but it still a pig. It will still be the MWR channel as long as the brothers are in the booth. You will just have to pay a little more to watch them.

Carl D.
08/08/2013 12:44 PM

Old Fan Bill…

Trust me… If I have to pay one penny more to DirecTV for Fox Sports 1 than I’m paying already, I’ll watch reruns of World’s Dumbest instead.

08/08/2013 02:14 PM

Well said, JP! Too much brownnosing from the media, not enough real reporting. IMO they talk about the “easy” stuff all the time.

Foxsports1 – well, I’m another race fan not excited about it, but then again, except for a few programs – the ones that you named – RaceHub, Speed Center and Wind Tunnel – Speed has been overwhelmed with forgettable lifestyle programming for far too long. I know that Foxsports will be covering a lot of the races on this channel beginning next year, but I’m still considering dropping the tier. The poor coverage by Fox and it’s merry band of Waltrips and Myer isn’t worth the money to pay for it. I’ll get a lot more pleasure out of listening to the races on the radio than wasting my money with Fox.

Vicki Williams
08/08/2013 04:03 PM

Summer – and you forgot to add how gleeful it makes us JJ fans to know how worked up the haters get!

08/08/2013 04:37 PM

The Chase, the 48, the “competition cautions”, and everything else the Nascar Overlords have done…..isn’t keeping the Nascar boat from taking water.

Must be a lot of “haters” out there!

If BSPN really wanted Nascar, they would have gotten it.

Speed used to be pretty cool to watch…until they started filling time with B.S. shows.

08/08/2013 10:39 PM

I upgraded my cable package years ago to get SPEED for the sole reason to watch Inside Winston Cup. It was the only show I watched on that channel. SPEED took that off the air and then starting showing reality shows. The only time I watch SPEED now is for CWTS, Race Day and such.

I’m OK with Jimmie Johnson being talked about. It has done my heart good that he has won five championships in brian france’s little chase. And he thought the old points system was bad when Matt Kenseth won with only one race win?

@Sal, I’m am very happy that BSPN isn’t doing the races anymore after 2014. No more channel roulette and delays for NW races. The only sad part for me is, where will AB, DJ & AP go?

I think Max will do fine on Sunday. I did find it ironic that he tested Tony’s car in July. I hope Tony recovers quickly, but he doesn’t push himself too soon.

@Summer, I enjoyed your column.

08/09/2013 01:14 AM

Me thinks Miss Summer is infatuated with Jimmie and Denny, just an meaningless observation..boy is she pissed in this column. that we have your attention, you seem to make the arguement because Jimmie is in the news you need to “report” his success or failure, true for the most part. IF you were doing the job you claim to be doing you would cease with the general media fluff ball questions and accepted answers to anyone remotely associated with HMS. Your adoration (and others in the media) is not news, and should never be. You seem to confuse the two. Ask hard questions Summer ask!

08/09/2013 08:12 AM

I liked Speed when it was brand new and used to show all types of different racing. They’ve deviated from that with some lame shows over time but I’ve still hung in there with them and purchased the cable package to include them. I don’t need another friggin’ soccer channel to watch a third world sport nor more UFC thuggery so I might need to drop the coverage when FS1 fails to deliver. And there’s not doubt, it will fail to deliver.

Summer is a JJ fan but that doesn’t matter much to me until she starts lobbying for lesser penalties for the same infractions as other teams. But I do like seeing JJ kick Jr’s rear all of the time and therefore keeps Jr.‘s fans twisted. Keep it up Jimmy.

@CarlD – I agree completely, there is enough coverage now especially during the airing of the races regarding the no-talent Danican’t.