The Frontstretch: Did You Notice? ... Big-Name, Open-Wheel Risks, The Marcus Marketing Experiment And Speeding Towards... What? by Thomas Bowles -- Wednesday May 25, 2011

Go to site navigation Go to article

Did You Notice? … How the next wave of stock car drivers don’t come from stock car backgrounds? Danica Patrick joins Kimi Raikkonen as two highly-sought, open-wheel experts that NASCAR would love to put behind the wheel of a Sprint Cup vehicle with minimal training. Heck, all it took was just one top-15 finish in a Truck race to drop Raikkonen, the former F-1 champion into a Nationwide ride on Saturday; now, Cup rumors are spreading faster than that Lauren girl lost her voice before Tuesday’s American Idol finale.

In one sense, can you blame this sport for digging outside the box? The pool of rookies recently has dried up faster than the Arizona desert. (Last time I checked, Andy Lally was turning more heads with his MMA training than on-track performance to date.) Certainly, the addition of Patrick, who is rumored to make the NASCAR jump full-time next year and Raikkonen add a bit of star quality to their future. The problem is, in the midst of those courtships, the powers that be may not realize their short-term impatience leads to long-term consequences NASCAR’s own development series (and drivers) will suffer.

Former F-1 champ Kimi Raikkonen, after a 15th-place finish in his Truck Series debut has joined Danica Patrick on the short list of potential blockbuster signings for NASCAR this season.

For example, let’s say Raikkonen heads to Red Bull on the heels of a blockbuster deal for 2012. If Brian Vickers re-signs for the second car next season just where, exactly, does that put current RBR development driver Cole Whitt? All he’s done lately is take over the Truck Series point lead, putting together two straight top-5 finishes while knocking on the door of Victory Lane. A championship in that series should mean an automatic promotion; but in this case, a guy with F-1 credentials would steal the spot.

And so it goes, superstars from other series (Patrick, Raikkonen, Ricky Carmichael, Travis Pastrana) making the crossover into stock car racing while the sport’s local roots, its short track champions and work-hard-to-climb-the-ladder minor league system slowly dissipates. It used to be the Nationwide and Truck Series were places development drivers could go to hone their skills, auditioning for a full-time ride at NASCAR’s top level down the road. But now? Top-heavy owners either have no openings for them or are too busy flirting with the big-money prizes, armed with the knowledge they think there’s no sponsors available willing to connect with the unproven, cookie-cutter type that dominated the “young gun, Jimmie Johnson era” rise to power for the Cup Series in the early-to-mid 2000s.

If there were a mix of big names and young talent going on, well, I wouldn’t have so much of a problem with these open-wheel purges. But what sense does it make to pull other fruit from other trees, adding it to the top without watering the roots at the bottom? What’s to make of NASCAR’s Diversity program, successful drivers without stepping stones as the money available must be funneled towards landing these top-level names instead (Ask Kyle Busch… they don’t come cheap). How do the minor league owners, committed for years to developing talent and performing an integral role in the food chain compete against the rising costs associated with these money grabs? (Answer: They don’t.) What happens to aspiring short track stars who wanted to go stock car racing all their lives? (Answer: They move to another series, like UARA, USAC, or something where they can pay the bills… not waste a decade seeing their dream die on the vine.)

It’s an ugly cycle, one that turns these NASCAR reaches for talent into a matter of necessity for survival, not the icing on the cake grabbing an IRL guy like Tony Stewart was during the late 1990s. As we’ve seen with Jacques Villeneuve, Dario Franchitti and Sam Hornish, Jr. translating open-wheel talent to stock car success comes with no guarantee. And if Patrick, Raikkonen, et al start struggling they know there’s options for them to simply pack up, wave the white flag and drive elsewhere. That translates into an exceptional level of risk, NASCAR betting the farm these moves will pay off because if not? It’s a lot of wasted cash and capital while letting the rest of their rookies die on the vine.

The intriguing part is, more than ever lately wins like Regan Smith’s at Darlington and Trevor Bayne at Daytona have showcased how the little guys, homegrown minor league talent can still develop naturally in this sport. But when the owners get on a kick, they get on a kick and at the moment that concept appears to be kicked to the curb in a Silly Season quickly getting defined by two schools of thought: Re-sign who you have (Biffle, Burton, soon-to-be Earnhardt and Edwards) or make a splash only if the driver’s a proven A-Level superstar… from somewhere outside the sport.

Did You Notice? … These “would you have guessed” moments eleven races into 2011:

- Jeff Burton has yet to score a top-10 finish, but Trevor Bayne has one – and that came packaged with a Daytona 500 trophy. – Jeff Gordon is fourth-best out of four Hendrick drivers in the current standings… while Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is fourth in points. – Matt Kenseth has as many or more Sprint Cup wins than any other driver on the circuit (two). And he hasn’t even changed a crew chief yet. – Tony Stewart has as many top-5 finishes as David Gilliland (one). – Carl Edwards has led double the number of laps in the Nationwide Series compared to the Cup side (619 to 307), continuing to run a full-time schedule there despite leading the Sprint Cup points, scoring nine top-10 finishes and winning a race in Las Vegas.

Did You Notice? … How basic marketing still can have an affect on our ADD, smartphone and Facebook-addicted society these days? Charlotte Motor Speedway President Marcus Smith did a masterful job of selling the All-Star Race this month, clearly utilizing the Kevin Harvick – Kyle Busch spat to his advantage. From billboards indicating both men would “have at it” to offering to pay the fines of either driver (or anyone, for that matter) who played the revenge card during racing Saturday night, it was like Humpy Wheeler briefly came out of retirement. And sure enough, his local audience reacted to the wild possibilities with their wallet; attendance rose 5,000 from their 2010 numbers at the turnstiles. Sure, there’s a big new flat screen but I don’t think paying to watch the race on TV was what people came to see at CMS.

Now here’s where it gets interesting for Smith; through no fault of his own, a false product was advertised for the All-Star Race. With the final ten laps run caution-free, a dominant late-race surge by Carl Edwards and struggles with the dreaded aero push, this NASCAR exhibition may have been the worst since Jeff Gordon’s infamous T-Rex “I’ll stomp the field until running out of gas” episode in 1998. For the next seven days, Charlotte has little to no real “action” to advertise for a fan base that, more than ever these days makes their ticket-buying decisions at the last minute. Does that mean Sunday’s Coca-Cola 600 crowd will disappear?

The answer, either way will tell us a lot about the state of the sport. If a less-than-thrilling race leaves NASCAR with no margin for error, causing attendance to dip significantly from last season’s 140,000 for their Memorial Weekend Classic it means the quality of racing is clearly affecting sales. If it doesn’t, well… then maybe the sport is experiencing a renaissance in certain markets after all? And maybe we’re a little off on just how bad some of these races have been from the bleacher seats?

It’s a question, and topic worth following; there’s no other tracks on the schedule where we can see this type of week-to-week cause-and-effect experiment play out.

Did You Notice? … Some quick hits before we take off:

- So Kyle Busch was caught speeding, going 128 in a 45 this week. In other news, race car drivers like to go fast.

Wherever Kyle Busch was going Tuesday, the probably wishes he’d walked instead; an officer caught the veteran in his car and cited him for speeding. Busch was going 128 miles an hour inside a 45 MPH zone.

What… you’re telling me I’m supposed to care? Don’t make this out to be Bad Boy Busch breaking the law like he’s some sort of disrespectful shell of a human, as I’m sure some people will make this out to be. The guy was only doing what most blood-pumping, twentysomething males naturally do on a deserted suburban road with a brand new sports car to play with – they “test it out.” It’s not like Busch was driving like a madman through downtown Charlotte, playing some reality version of “Grand Theft Auto” while giving the middle finger to frantic pedestrians fleeing for their lives. He went out in the sticks, tried out his new toy and made a mistake in judgment; it just wasn’t rural and desolate enough, as in there was a speed limit on this road and he got caught.

Now am I going to stand up and say it’s OK to speed? No, absolutely not. But going fast is this man’s chosen profession; for some reason, I trust him more at 128 than you, the reader, hustling down the same street at 55. It should be noted that Busch didn’t resist arrest, cause a stink, anything like that… he immediately took responsibility for this incident.

Shouldn’t that be enough? Always asking perfection in our athletes is a bit hypocritical when we’re far from perfect ourselves.

- Kimi Raikkonen reportedly tested Tuesday in a Robby Gordon Motorsports Dodge at Virginia International Raceway. Like NEMCO on the Nationwide side, Gordon could use a little extra financial infusion so don’t be surprised if they get involved in the Raikkonen sweepstakes for seat time. You’d have to think, though, that Gordon will pull out a second car at the road courses considering it’s one of two opportunities a year he has to win a race; if not, well, then you really know this guy’s days in Sprint Cup are numbered.

- Daydream with me for a minute. IndyCar is working on a new chassis design for 2012, a major adjustment most people agree will make or break the sport over the long-term. The two owners reported to be at the forefront of those chassis designs, becoming an integral part of their forward vision are the duo that’s dominated IndyCar racing in recent years: Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske.

But of course, making a brand new chassis doesn’t mean you snap your fingers and it appears out of thin air. You need engineers, feedback, overtime, and focus when the future of an entire sport you love is involved. And with a gun pointed to both men’s heads, there’s no argument they’d pick the Indy 500, their first love although stock car racing is clearly a close second.

So let’s turn around and look at the NASCAR side. Who are the two teams struggling the most in Sprint Cup as of late? Earnhardt Ganassi Racing and Penske Racing. Let’s also not forget Kurt Busch, in recent weeks, has openly complained about a disconnect amongst Penske engineers.

Just something that makes you go hmm. Are certain owners spending too much time and money trying to revive something else?

- Brian France did a whole lot of talking this past week, between the “State of The Sport” speech and his NASCAR Hall of Fame appearance Monday night. So why is it, mere days later I can’t remember a single word he said?

Maybe that’s ‘cause he didn’t say anything A) we don’t already know or B) worth remembering. And for a speech supposed to stir the NASCAR fan base to its feet, well … that’s not good.

Connect with Tom!

Contact Tom Bowles

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 Thomas Bowles and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!

RickP
05/25/2011 07:49 AM
permalink

Danica and superstar in the same sentence? Now that’s funny right there.

She’s moving to NASCAR because idiots here still think she can drive. The bloom is off the rose in IRL so it’s time for her to move on to something else where she can maintain the limelight for a while longer.

With the guys in the booth being told to constantly talk about her and the cameras always trained on the car regardless where it’s at in the field, watching Nationwide races will be even tougher.

Carl D.
05/25/2011 08:35 AM
permalink

Tom…

First of all, I don’t think the Truck series was initially intended as a training series for future stars; in the early days it was more like golf’s senior tour, where guys like Mike Skinner, Ted Musgrave, and Johnny Benson went to finish out their careers. Only recently has the series been used as a development series. It’s a minor point, yes, but a valid one.

The real issue is the cost to run a competitive cup team and the declining interest in Nascar over the last few years. This means fewer sponsors, fewer teams, and fewer opportunities for proven young drivers to move up into a decent cup ride. There doesn’t appear to be many rides available to due to attrition either, as the cup ranks are full of drivers still in their prime or yet to peak. When you factor in a few open-wheel stars like Danica and Kimi who (supposedly) bring star power to Nascar, and the cold hard truth is that guys like Cole Whitt will have a hard time moving up to the Cup level for the foreseeable future. That’s just a sad fact of life in today’s Nascar.

Stephen HOOD
05/25/2011 09:06 AM
permalink

Isn’t Cole Whitt going to be in the Nationwide race this weekend just like Kimi? Where is the missed opportunity? Kimi is a F1 champion, so it seems to me he’s paid his racing dues. The same holds true for Hornish and Dario. Ricky Carmichael is slugging it out in the truck series trying to make a go of it. He brought money with him but so did Logano and Ragan. What about Childress’s grandsons? Yeah, they’ve come up through the ranks, but in the best equipment available.

My sense is there is no longer NASCAR purity. The route to a ride is varied, and bringing money from whichever direction you come, will open doors. Raw talent alone is probably not going to get you to the top. A marque name, a rich daddy, or a legacy seems far more important than paying your dues at the short track.

Carl D.
05/25/2011 10:32 AM
permalink

S-HOOD

I think you’re right, and that begs the question… Would a guy like Bill Elliott, from a podunk town like Dawsonville, GA, with no real money and no initial marketability, have a shot in today’s Nascar?

Scott
05/25/2011 10:56 AM
permalink

My belief on one of the main reasons for the lack of young talent coming into Cup is due to all of the Cup stars running in the NW Series.

Used to, you had drivers iin the Busch (now NW)Sseries getting out there and winning races aas well as making a big name of themselves. They did not have the disadvantage of having a large number of cup drivers running every single race, while they aare running back in the pack. Until NASCAR does something to address this, this problem will continue.

RamblinWreck
05/25/2011 11:12 AM
permalink

Danica needs NASCAR more than NASCAR needs Danica. Some new girl is beating her over in IndyCar.

pepper
05/25/2011 11:20 AM
permalink

Your defense of KyB’s driving at 128mph in a 45mph zone is sickening. Since he and his brother obviously had little or no parenting, he desperately needs a tour in Afghanistan to give him some direction. As a matter of fact the same tour might be beneficial to you too.

You say many of us might think he is some disrespectful shell of a human. We don’t have to think about it at all. He proves his disrespect every week on and off the track.

The media and broadcast booth have coddled this kid making him feel he is above rules or laws. He has acted accordingly He is seldom if ever been held accountable for his actions and is a disgrace to Nascar. As long as the media upholds his behavior they are as much to blame for his actions as he is.

Ed
05/25/2011 11:53 AM
permalink

Amen RickP Amen. Although it may not be “idiots here may think she can still drive.” It is more likely “idiots here will take the money and run all day to prop up someone that has a lot of sponsorship cash.” I am only guessing that Go Daddy is getting it’s money’s worth in exposure with the Michael-Jackson-type marketing machine of Danica Patrick. Otherwise with one fuel win in IndyCar why in the world would anyone hang on to a marginal driver? Aw, it’s that “woman in a man’s sport thing.” yea, got it. “Empowering” as the intelligentsia says. She is not that pretty and not that talented—at least as much as the commercials, makeup and press releases state. Sooner or later you gotta produce.

I have always said she is Kyle Busch in drag with 100 less wins (started saying it when he had 50 just a few months ago). She has his arrogance and bitchieness and immaturity but he has about 99 more wins and is actually a dam great racer where she is a good driver. I hope that is enough for all these folks that are going to blow her horn and tout this is just what NASCAR needs—oh, another overexposed idol that can’t win. And I am Dale Jr. fan. But unfortunately he has about 5 more wins left in him before his career is over.

SHOEMAN
05/25/2011 12:33 PM
permalink

RickP I have to agree with you finding it funny thinking Danica is a superstar. Unlike you, I will continue to watch the Nationwide races to see her make a fool out of herself. ED I think you might be on to something. Danica does talk the talk but she can’t walk the walk. And as for Jr., he will have to hurry to get those next 5 wins. As I see Danica getting 5 wins before he does.

Steve
05/25/2011 12:49 PM
permalink

Ed said: Otherwise with one fuel win in IndyCar why in the world would anyone hang on to a marginal driver?

Wait Ed. You mention you’re a Dale Jr fan and you dare go there with this comment? Wasn’t Jr’s last win over 2 years ago a fuel mileage win? Fans have been asking the same question about your driver, but most know the answer and its money. Dale jr brings it in and so does Danica. Kinda hypocritical to be blasting Danica for the same thing isn’t it?

KyCupFan
05/25/2011 01:09 PM
permalink

Lighten up people! Its a speeding ticket. Most of you are just jealous your cars are not capable of doing 128mph!

I think Tom is spot on!

NOTE: I am not a Kyle Busch fan!

@Pepper: From everything I read, he didnt act like he was above the law, he took responsibility for his actions. I guess you have never exceeded the speed limit in your life?

Ed
05/25/2011 01:35 PM
permalink

Steve no not really. Dale Jr. has a Daytona 500 win and many other Daytona and Talladega wins. He has won at Richmond and has won at uber fast tracks like Texas. So Dale Jr. does belong in this series and can win and is not trying to take his cash on to another series to “conquer” before he conquers the one his is at. He has had a bit of a rough go and not to make excuses but the family thing blew up and Lance was marginal, good guy but marginal. And frankly Dale has lost his mojo—his confidence. But I will let others and psychologists and arm-chair psychiatrists tell us what’s wrong with Dale Jr. Jeff Burton has the same thing so did Matt kennseth until Jimmy Fening came along. Carl Edwards had it for a whie so did Jeff Gordon and Kevin Harvick. Biffle has hit on many nor has Ryan Newman. Kurt Busch has stopped winning and countless others have had a dry spell in this sport. Mark Martin had a long dry spell before 2009. The only guy winning was Jimmy Johnson and a few others in odd years, like a Denny Hamlin (look at him now can’t get out of his own way) and Carl Edwards in 2010 after having a great 2008 or 2009.

So bottom line is this: a dry spell in Cup ain’t that uncommon for many many of the sport’s top drivers but Dale Jr. gets the most attention because he is the most popular and a lot of people expect a lot of him. Personally I think the guy can drive the heck out of a race car but a Kyle Busch Jimmie Johnson or Jeff Gordon he ain’t.

Honestly though o compare that to Danica Patrick’s situation is like comparing a large lake Norman wave to the tsunami in Japan. Steve man Danica doesn’t win. What she does do is bitch. What she does do is blame others for her troubles. And what she does do is flout her “brand.” And by the way flouting her brand is not a bad thing…you go girl I say. But she thinks in terms of “branding” instead of racing. Her handlers have talked her into believing her press releases. The kid needs to just win. That’s all. Hey I would shut up…ram it down my throat I say. Nothing quiets a naysayer like results. She just hasn’t put up the numbers—any numbers—that warrant all this fuss and fal da ra and fiddle dee dee. For all the chatter and push and marketing hoopla she just isn’t that good. Like a Sarah Palin I say. Cheucked being a governor 18 months or less in because she wanted to conquer greener—literally—pastures. Go do it I say but don’t expect me to think you are a good leader ready for prime time and the worldwide stage just because you can see Russia from her house. She actually has to deal with Russia for me even to begin to respect her. Same goes with Danica. Win baby win and all this claptrap will go away.

A famous sports-biz writer wrote last year a sentence that just stays with me about today’s sports market—not just racing but sports market all around: “it is the value of their deals instead of anything they have done on the court that seems to matter today…” that’s the jist and it is true. It’s the value of Danica’s deal rather than did she earn it that is the talk of the day. And at some point those chics gotta come home to roost. Hey Steve at least Dale Earnhardt Jr. has nearly 20 wins at the elite level to fall back on. So for me it’s Dale 20 Danica 1. The numbers, not me, speaks volumes about the issue.

JerseyGirl24
05/25/2011 01:59 PM
permalink

Sorry, I’m with Pepper on this one — I read in one of the articles (and I don’t know if it is correct or not) but there were school buses on this rural road that is indeed twisting, winding and I’m sure lots of fun to drive a sports car on — of course, there are those pesky OTHER people out there driving on that same road who might – as you stated – not have as much car control as Kylie. If he wants to road race in a sports car, take it to a track — on the public streets, exceeding the posted speed limit by more than double is stupid!

As for Danica – happiness is watching Silvestri beat her butt in Indy cars. I won’t root for her in NASCAR – the queen of hype.

Kevin
05/25/2011 02:21 PM
permalink

Congratulations to Danica Patrick, Dale Jr, Paul Menard, the Dillon Boys, Carmichael et al.
Good for you for taking advantage of all of your gifts and putting your best foot forward in an attempt to be successful.
I suspect that many people are jealous of your gifts, abilities and situations, and perhaps ashamed they were unable to have/create circumstances that fall in their favour and that is the reason for the ill will towards you.
I admire anyone who has the courage to use everything at their disposal to acheive their dreams and I wish nothing but success for you all.

Carl D.
05/25/2011 02:38 PM
permalink

Had a deer run out in front of KB on that rural road, we’d be reading his obituary and not about his speeding ticket. Yeah, young people like to go fast in sports cars and most of us have done it, myself included. Still, it’s dangerous. Given Busch’s notoriety and the watchful eye of the public, he will no doubt pay a hefty fine and suffer pretty much the same legal penalties that the rest of us would. I suspect he will also have to endure the wrath of Joe Gibbs, who I’m sure doesn’t like seeing one of his star drivers take stupid, unneccesary risks.

mkrcr
05/25/2011 02:58 PM
permalink

Ramblin’, there are actually a couple of them and they’re better looking. Kinda adds salt to Danica’s wounds, driving for an over extended team who can’t provide quality equipment for any of their drivers.

Matt
05/25/2011 03:10 PM
permalink

The All-Star race is always overhyped. It’s one of the most boring races of the season. The drivers rarely drive much differently than they would in a regular race, especially for the first 90 laps. Additionally, it’s only the biggest name drivers, as in, only the people who are always in contention for the win. What’s exciting about that? In terms of non-points races, the Shootout and the Duels are all better races.

Earner
05/25/2011 03:26 PM
permalink

Can’t believe your veiws on the speed in a 45 zone. I Have lost some respect for your common sense. A kid on that road (or any one else) would probably not expect something coming down on them @ that speed….& No suspensions or such from JGR or Nascar needed ….But A 100,000 dollar donation to a local charity would do all some good

Bobby O
05/25/2011 04:04 PM
permalink

DannyKar is so over hyped and over Exposed in so many ways. She really cannot drive in races, but I guess she could be ok as a test driver.

The word from fans at Indy is only the media followed her around, and NO fans cheered for her.

Go figure.

Don Mei
05/25/2011 04:07 PM
permalink

I continue to be completely fascinated that so many of you sit there and demean one driver after another for one reason or another. Danica’s looks, Dale Jr’s desire, etc etc. I’m no Danica Patrick fan but I suspect there’s not a one of you who could keep her in sight on a racetrack. Matter of fact, I wonder how many of the complainers have ever had the b**** to compete in any kind of motorsport event. Talk is so cheap.

Overra88ted
05/25/2011 06:33 PM
permalink

Steve man, Dale Jr.doesn’t win. What he does do is bitch. What he does do is blame others for his troubles. And what he does do is flout his “brand.” And by the way flouting his brand is a bad thing…what a Loser I say. But he thinks in terms of “branding” instead of racing. his handlers and fans have talked him into believing his press releases. The kid needs to quit.

Chris
05/25/2011 07:08 PM
permalink

I think you missed it on the Busch driving issue.

It wasn’t just speeding. It was careless and reckless which is a Class 2 misdemeanor in NC. It’s the same as carrying a concealed weapon, resisting arrest, or simple assault.

Fortunately he didn’t hit anyone or the “twenty-something” would be “testing it out” with his cellmate Bubba!!

DoninAjax
05/25/2011 08:38 PM
permalink

I guess Kimi is another open wheel racer who expects (or is expected) to set the stock car world on fire. He might, but I wouldn’t count on it. He will be another one left thinking this ain’t as easy as it looks.

Bobby O
05/26/2011 09:25 AM
permalink

Don Mei,
We are bench racing here!
That is what it is about, discussion, talking about a sport we like.
So remember, in your own words, “talk is cheap”.

And DannyKar is not a racer.

Don Mei
05/26/2011 11:55 AM
permalink

Bobby O

I love bench racing, but we seem to disagree about what constitutes bench racing. To me, bench racing is talking about the racing, the equipment, setups, the politics of Nascar,driver personalities, etc, etc. Comments like “some idiots here think she can drive” isnt bench racing, its a derisive comment by someone who would probably wet his pants going around Daytona.

Bobby O
05/26/2011 03:00 PM
permalink

Don Mei,

I do agree with you about the “idiots” comment.
And I agree with you about bench racing.
But I think you saying that someone would “wet there pants” is leaning a bit towards the same thing as calling them an idiot.
So maybe just tone it down a bit!

Ed
05/27/2011 10:43 AM
permalink

Oh and “Don Mei” I have been in a race car at speed with Kurt Busch no less as a rookie the last year I did the CMS media tour. It was FAB U LASS. Three laps at speed. So I did have the stones to do it. And let me tell you another thing Big Boy, I might even be afraid of a snake or a spider, but I ain’t afraid of going 200 mph I can guarantee that. I spent a lot of my life wanting to get in a race car but it just never happened. Made my way and money in public affairs. But I can tellya that I was a softe drink vendor at 15 watching Ralph Earnhardt tear up the dirt at Greenville-Pickens and I can teel ya that I worked my butt of when James Hylton was till finishing second in the championship points when a guy named Cliff Champion was an up and comer and so was Joey Knuckels and Brian France was a kid getting the crap knocked outof him for sneaking in someone at Daytona. And I can tell you that I swept floors at Race Hill Farm over by the old Douglass airport when Ron Boucahrd was their driver and moved my way up to work on the race car and worked 36 hours non-stop one time to help put a race car together when I guy named Mike Beam was an up and comer. I can tell you that I just happened to be walking by when a mini-water tank exploded and killed Randy Owens at Talladega. You remember Randy don’t you? And I can tell you that I had lunch with the movie star Jackie Cooper at Talladega’s infield in Bobby Allison’s Winnebego during race week, and I can tell you that I was on Ron Bouchard’s Sportsman—ney Nationwide—team when he won Darlington and went to Victory Circle. And I can tell you I saw Hal Nedham once wear a bra outside his shirt in a garage area that I can’t remember where it was. But you remember Hal Nedham don’t you? And I can tell you that during a World 600 that was held in the old days during the hot of the day was spilled on me 125 octane Pure Oil racing fuel back in the day when there was no catch can man and they just spilled the fuel on the ground and that I was on the pit all day long and got home that evening and I was blistered by the fuel and heat and didn’t even know it till then. I can tell you 100 more stories about my time in the Cup garage off and on from 1971-2001. So don’t tell me about stones cause I wanted in that cockpit badly but it just didn’t work out. If I won the Powerball lottery today I would race myself full time at CMS and Darlington at least a 500 miler a week.

Don Mei
05/27/2011 01:40 PM
permalink

Well good for you Ed. So riding around with Kyle gives you license to denigrate someone else right? Glad you explained that to me. And dont give me that “I wanted in the cockpit badly but it just didnt work out” crap…it tells me you simply didnt want it badly enough. I’ll repeat it again.. if you really have all that experience then you should know better to insult another driver and the fans she may have as “idiots” or concur with someone who does. Happy sweeping. You watch, Ill drive.

 

Contact Tom Bowles

Recent articles from Tom Bowles:

Did You Notice? ... Breaking Down A Sprint Cup Season Eight Races In
Did You Notice? ... Drivers Still Make A Difference... But Silly Cautions Don't
Did You Notice? ... NASCAR's Free Agent Lynchpin, Uncomfortable Reality And Gambling
Did You Notice? ... Toyota Trouble, Limping Into Action And Testing The Waters
Did You Notice? ... Keep On Asking, And You Will Receive A Qualifying Sigh Of Relief

If you want to know more about Tom Bowles or to view all of his articles here at the Frontstretch, check out his archive and bio page.

Want even more Tom Bowles? Check out Tom's archive at SI.com.