The Frontstretch: Sitting in NASCAR's Victory Lane : Who Deserves to Be There? by S.D. Grady -- Tuesday May 27, 2008

Go to site navigation Go to article

Sitting in NASCAR's Victory Lane : Who Deserves to Be There?

Sitting In The Stands : A Fan's View · S.D. Grady · Tuesday May 27, 2008

 

Editor’s Note: Have you heard of our FREE Frontstretch Newsletter, delivering more NASCAR news, commentary, trivia, and more right to your inbox every morning? If not, well, it’s time to sell you on it. Today, we’re showcasing the weekly column that resident fan expert S.D. Grady wrote for today’s newsletter. If you like what you read, well, it’s time to become a newsletter subscriber by clicking here to sign up! One simple click, and you’ll be checking out S.D.‘s work in your email inbox every Tuesday; if not, who knows when you’ll see her again!

I suppose the argument could be made that none of the drivers sitting in NASCAR’s Victory Lane this weekend should have been there. Over in the Truck Series, Donny Lia managed to make a name for himself on the national grid by doing what any modified driver does best; he moved the competition over in the last lap of the race. Later on that day, Kyle Busch handily beat out his Nationwide Series competition — even though most of the NASCAR fan base out there currently believes that’s an injustice to the rest of the planet. And to top it all off Sunday night, Kasey Kahne snuck past Tony Stewart in the final laps, as Smoke added some new black stripes to the walls of Lowe’s Motor Speedway. This morning, I read several stories that all spoke of one thing — somebody else belonged in first place at the end of that one. What should have happened, didn’t… and wasn’t that a shame.

Should… should…

Hold on a second here. There’s a “should” or “deserved” in racing? Not the last time I checked. To confirm, let’s review the definition of the winner in any given race: it’s the car that passes over the Start / Finish line before any other competitor.

Now, there’s no caveats in there; it’s a black and white statement devoid of emotion and heedless of moral obligations. I will grant the possibility that NASCAR might, on the random occasion of swine gliding over Daytona, rearrange the finishing order due to some other worldly divination of the rules. But, for the most part, once those tires take the checkers, the results are set in stone.

With one bold move on the last lap at Mansfield, Donny Lia’s aggression pushed David Starr out of the way — but it also gave the rookie a Truck Series win as a reward.

Are we not satisfied with how we determine the winners? Sometimes, I hear fans grumbling that the fastest car did not win. Well, David Starr’s Truck was fast, and held off the competition for a goodly section of the race in Mansfield. However, if you can’t block the competition that’s muscling you up the track, you’re not going to win. David didn’t … but Donny Lia did. Lia took advantage of the moment, and utilized his years of racing experience to put the moves on the more seasoned Truck driver. And that’s wrong? Not in any rulebook I’ve read.

And then there’s the case of Tony Stewart’s win snatched from his hands. With five seconds between his orange No. 20 and Kahne’s No. 9 — and just a few laps left to count down on the pylon — the fans and the announcers virtually gave the win away to Stewart. The Home Depot machine was fast, and Stewart’s crew had done all the right things to get him up front. But are we supposed to cry and stomp our feet that suddenly his car door was eating concrete? Well, maybe, if he’s your driver. But the win went to the team whose car survived the entire 600 miles, not the fastest car that motored for only 595. The rules of victory have no room in them for bad luck.

Now, “should” I discuss the rightness and wrongness of Kyle Busch crossing the finish line first? Yep, he’s a snotty little kid at times. Yep, he knows how to tick off drivers and fans. Yep, he’s possibly the most amazing thing behind a wheel I’ve ever seen. But does this have anything to do with who deserves to take home the trophy? Unfortunately not.

If our world was ideal, the fastest car would always win, and the nicest person would be piloting it. However, we do not declare the winner after qualifying finishes; and the last time I checked, there is no Miss Congeniality award in NASCAR.

Thank goodness for that, because I loved the racing this weekend! Donny Lia had me jumping up and down on the couch, Kyle Busch made me snarl, and Kasey Kahne earned an “atta boy!” I was not bored… I was not disgusted… I was alive and grinning! Thank God there are still such things as desire, determination, and dumb luck. Otherwise, this sport of mine would bore me silly!

NASCAR NEWS, RIGHT TO YOUR INBOXAND IT’S FREE.
The Frontstretch Newsletter, back in 2014 gives you more of the daily news, commentary, and racing features from your favorite writers you know and love. Don’t waste another minute – click here to sign up now. We’re here to make sure you stay informed … so make sure you jump on for the ride!

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?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…
FREE NEWSLETTER! CLICK HERE TO SIGN UP

 

©2000 - 2008 S.D. Grady and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

Gordon81Wins
05/27/2008 12:44 PM
permalink

Unfortunately not, S.D? Are you suggesting that the rules should punish unpopular drivers on the track? I hope that was tongue-in-cheek!

Mike In NH
05/27/2008 02:56 PM
permalink

Two ways to answer this: one, nobody “deserves” to be in Victory Lane, they have to earn it. Or, two: the guy who deserves to be in Victory Lane is the guy who finishes first. Simple! If you didn’t get across the line first, you don’t deserve it. The “deserve it but didn’t win” mentality is for the losers that are looking for consolation.

Contact S.D. Grady