The Frontstretch: NASCAR Mailbox: Bad PR, Bad Luck, And Smoke's Bad Twig by Summer Bedgood -- Thursday October 17, 2013

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NASCAR Mailbox: Bad PR, Bad Luck, And Smoke's Bad Twig

Summer Bedgood · Thursday October 17, 2013


Times are changing in NASCAR, though not quite the way you would think. When it comes to change, you tend to think of it coming in the form of new racetracks, a new style of car, new manufacturers, or a new crop of drivers coming into the sport. Change means new rules or something different, tangible adjustments that viewers and competitors alike will have to become accustomed in the very near future.

However, we’re in 2013, and technology plays just as big of a role as any in this industry. When it comes to the way fans watch and view the race, there is no more important role than that of the TV partners. Though we already know the specifics of that change, one that will see FOX expand its role in the sport and NBC returning after a seven-year absence, racing fans will see a changing of the guard when it comes to the way they watch their favorite sport after next season.

Finally, a schedule change is coming next year, though the only major announcement is Kansas Speedway moving to a Saturday night race on Mother’s Day weekend, replacing Darlington. Because … well, actually, I don’t really understand that one either. But that’s what’s happening.

Let’s not even forget to mention how social media continues to influence the sport as a whole. NASCAR is watching everything you say, and decisions are made based on your reactions. How often in the past have we been able to say things like that?

I’m not saying all change is good change. God knows that NASCAR has done a lot of things wrong lately. But that’s not to say that there aren’t some good things that could come from these changes. NBC and FOX seem to be excited about their new deals and social media allows the fans to voice their opinion without NASCAR being able to ignore it.

Micheal Waltrip Racing’s actions at Richmond continue to spiral downward, with the loss of sponsor NAPA, the mothballing of the No. 56 team this week, and some fans questioning Micheal Waltrip being used prominently to promote the sport.

Maybe it’s the younger generation in me talking, but I’m excited about some of the new things that are happening in this sport.

Now, on to your questions:

“I think TV should not use the Welder’s as spokesman for NASCAR. They are cheaters and presents a bad image. They should follow NAPA lead and do the right thing.” Aaron

The only people I can possibly conceive you are talking about are the Waltrips, considering I mentioned them in a recent column saying that they were good spokesmen and that they tried to represent the sport well. Since they are the ones on television, I can only guess you are saying that the television networks should get rid of them.

I have to say that I wholeheartedly disagree with you. First of all, Darrell Waltrip had nothing to do with what happened at Richmond, so I see no reason he could be blamed. In fact, I’ve heard Darrell Waltrip say that NASCAR made the best decision that they could given the circumstances. It’s possible that I’ve missed something, but I can’t recall a time where I’ve seen him defending the actions of Michael Waltrip Racing on this one.

If Kurt Busch was unable to score a win with Furniture Row Racing this year, would Martin Truex, Jr. fare much better?

As far as Michael is concerned, I could see a justifiable reason for keeping him out of the booth. However, I also don’t mind him having the opportunity to continue trying to regain some respect in this sport by at least getting fans excited about racing. I think that is also how the television network (FOX) sees it. He is knowledgeable, exciting, and generally tries to make the sport look good when he’s not the one calling the shots.

Maybe, in this case he can redeem himself.

”If Martin Truex, Jr. goes to Furniture Row Racing, will he still be as competitive? I figure there is a reason Kurt Busch hasn’t won a race this year.” Jack

I think we could point to several races this year where Kurt was either the best car or one of the best. Circumstances such as pit crew failures, driver mistakes, and a barrage of other things have largely kept Busch out of Victory Lane this season.

So for Truex, I really don’t think it would be a downgrade for him to move to that team. FRR is quite obviously a race-winning organization, just without the victories in 2013 – although I wouldn’t quite call them championship caliber just yet. I would make the exact same description of Michael Waltrip Racing. I would say that the only difference between FRR and MWR is the manpower, which, if you were watching Busch this year, didn’t seem to make a huge difference.

So, if you’re a Truex fan, I wouldn’t worry about it. Though he hasn’t announced whether or not he is racing there, he has admitted interest. FRR has also expressed interest in him. Don’t at all be surprised if and when this becomes official.

“Is the infection from Stewart’s leg going to keep him out of the car longer?” Kevin

The offseason is Stewart’s best friend on this one, so no, it won’t keep him out of the car for very long. Unless he has another infection from this surgery or they figure out something else is wrong — which I doubt either will happen — the offseason will give him more than enough time to heal from the multiple surgeries he’s already undergone.

Rest assured, Stewart will be in the No. 14 car in 2014.

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Fed Up
10/17/2013 05:45 PM

Michael Waltrip does not add anything to the truck races. His false hype and babble have caused me to selectively view them. It usually doesn’t take long to get a belly full of Mikey. Let Phil and Rick do the presentations & park Mikey.

10/18/2013 01:28 PM

Fed Up, your spot on.