Summer Bedgood · Thursday October 24, 2013
As we inch ever closer to Halloween and the championship race for all three of NASCAR’s series, the calendar is still set squarely on October. For some, October brings thoughts of ghouls, goblins, hot chocolate, and the colors of fall. For many others, it brings to light an issue that almost all of us have been touched by in some way — Breast Cancer.
I’m sure that if you’ve never had it yourself, you know someone who has. You’ve seen how it can impact someone’s life and you know how damaging it can be.
If you’re a NASCAR fan, you also know how much the industry cares about it. You would be hard-pressed to not find at least one pink car on the track in any Sprint Cup, Nationwide, or Camping World Truck Series race during any event during the month of October, let alone some sort of charitable donation or recognition of those who have been impacted by the disease. Just look at Kyle Busch, his wife Samantha, and Kyle Busch Motorsports in Charlotte for a striking, tearful, lump-in-your-throat example of that.
This weekend in Martinsville will be no different. Just yesterday, Roush Fenway Racing announced that Ricky Stenhouse, Jr. and Greg Biffle would be running pink paint schemes this weekend in Martinsville to benefit the National Breast Cancer Foundation. I’m not a big fan of pink myself, but I do think it is nice of the community to rally around together for this one cause.
No smart aleck comments on this one. It’s a great cause with good intentions behind it. I’m glad to see this continue in NASCAR every year.
Now, on to your questions:
“Why is it that, every week a crew member is getting nailed for drugs??? I would KILL to have their jobs and I sure as hell wouldn’t be screwing it up with drugs!!” Robert
I’m with you, Robert. I sigh every time I get a message in my inbox that says, “_____ Has Been Suspended for Violating NASCAR’s Substance Abuse Policy.”
I don’t have the desire to be a crew member simply because I know I would never shape up to what I would need to be one. I’m not a car person, and I don’t understand even the basic physics of it. I know the basic names of certain car parts, but I couldn’t identify or put them together, let alone know how to adjust them to make the car competitive.
However, I know there are a lot of people reading this column who would love to be in that position and believe they have what it takes to do so. At the very least, they believe they could learn. So when they hear that other crew members are doing drugs when they know it jeopardizes their job, it infuriates them.
The only area of caution I would offer is one of judgment. Todd Parrott is the rare exception where we actually hear somewhat of a story on what happened. Most crew members have a name, and that’s it. We don’t know if they keep their jobs, what the drug was, if it’s a real problem or an isolated incident. Sometimes, crap happens and we make split-second decisions that change our lives. I’m not saying that makes it any better, but don’t assume things just from a press release.
As for Parrott, he’ll be entering NASCAR’s Road To Recovery Program after explaining to Eli Gold, on MRN’s radio show Tuesday “he made a mistake.” The 49-year-old, who has won a Cup Series championship as head wrench with Dale Jarrett expects to be reinstated and hopefully back in the sport for the 2014 Daytona 500.
“I have seen several news outlets talking about some changes that could be coming to the sport next year, especially when it comes to the actual cars and the aerodynamics. Is this meant to make the racing better or is it more about the actual rules?” Madison
Actually, it’s about both. NASCAR has done both wind tunnel and on-track tests to work on improving the aerodynamics of the cars in order to, putting it simply, race better. I’m sure it’s not news to you that track position is king, and very rarely are cars able to make up position from back in the field regardless of newer tires. Pit road has become more important because that’s one of the few places where it is possible to make up several positions at once.
In terms of rules changes, they are talking about eliminating the minimum height rule and making the spoiler larger. Those represent areas that a crew member might be more apt to describe, but essentially the way I understand it is that it’s one way to help teams with ballooning costs.
However, anything NASCAR does is with the goal of enhancing the final product. Rest assured, they know that the racing is unacceptable at certain tracks. There has been some good competition this year, but it’s frustrating to watch the first few laps of a restart and feel like that’s the race at certain intermediates.
NASCAR knows what they are doing, contrary to what some may think and they will fix the problem. If they are able to figure this out before Daytona next year, 2014 will be a great season.
“I saw that GoDaddy.com is leaving Hinchcliffe in IndyCar but is sticking with Danica in NASCAR!!! What gives??? Hinchcliffe has more wins in this one season than she had in her entire career!!” Tucker
Oh, Tucker, you know business doesn’t work that way. Obviously, Hinchcliffe is a great driver in IndyCar and has an equally great personality. I’m not an avid IndyCar enthusiast, but I always enjoy seeing Hinchcliffe on television.
With that said, Patrick is marketable, recognizable, and profitable. Those are things that Hinchcliffe and, to a higher extent, IndyCar is not. I’m sure Hinchcliffe has his share of fans, but IndyCar has struggled in the ratings and attendance department for a long time. They make NASCAR’s issues look tiny, and CEO Blake Irving basically said as much when the announcement was made.
Here’s the bottom line: when you say the name “Danica Patrick” to any random person you meet, they will know who she is. If you say “James Hinchcliffe,” they’ll just look at you funny. It’s a shame, considering that he’s a great personality and a good driver, but IndyCar doesn’t have the same reach and Hinchcliffe, despite his success, just isn’t as recognizable. It all comes down to dollars and sense, and there isn’t the same profit in open-wheel racing as there used to be.
There is a silver lining to this story, though. At Fontana, Andretti Autosport announced tech company United Fiber and Data will now step up to sponsor Hinchcliffe. That’ll keep the driver in the same ride and in position to challenge for wins and a championship in 2014.
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