Q: Looks like Kevin Harvick is on his way to a championship, and I couldn’t be happier about that. It’s sad that most of Dale Earnhardt‘s fans became Dale Earnhardt Jr. fans instead of Harvick fans because they went with the name and missed the real driver. I’m happy for Richard Childress… but I’m even happier for Harvick and for Dale’s legacy with that team. Once he wins the championship, I think Richard should go ahead and run that car as the No. 3 next year. Harvick will deserve it, since he’s the closest thing to Dale we’ve got left. – OldCootInCharlotte
A: Well, let’s not count our chickens before they hatch. We’re one race into the Chase, and while Harvick’s run over the last two weeks is to be commended, he hasn’t locked anything up and other drivers – including Earnhardt’s old nemesis, Jeff Gordon, which I guess is fitting given the tone of your letter – might have something to say about that title before it’s all said and done. As for changing from the No. 29 to No. 3, well, I’m sure we’ll get some Earnhardt fans to write in next week over that one.
Q: I used to be kind of a Harvick fan until I saw NASCAR 360 a couple of years ago. Between him and his wife DeLana, I quickly lost interest in anything he’s associated with. It’s sad that people like him go to the top in this world while nicer people are left in their wakes. – Tug Central
A: You might argue that it’s Harvick’s sense of competition that drives him to the forefront, and that “nicer” guys aren’t as aggressive. I do agree somewhat, however, with the way the Harvicks were portrayed on 360. It wasn’t terribly flattering at times.
Q: If that jerk Harvick wins the championship, I’m just going to go ahead and (expletive) die. – Lisa Lisa
A: Hey, have you met DeLana yet? Delightful girl.
Q: I’d like to thank Aaron’s for those wonderful commercials with Darrell Waltrip lately. That was a nice thing for them to do, letting him drive the car, and then to do the commercials was even nicer. Those are definitely my favorite NASCAR commercials this year. – Sue
A: Aaron’s always seems to make solid commercials, but my favorite this year has got to be the Little Debbie commercials with Ken Schrader. Those are the funniest things I’ve seen since the old “ESPN Ride-Along” commercials with Earnhardt and Gordon.
Q: How the heck can anybody see the logic in allowing Tony Stewart in the Chase just because he was last year’s champ? For the record, Tony is not my driver, but I am not in the category of fans that hate Stewart. I was at the Richmond race and was certainly disappointed that he would not get the chance to defend his title. Show me another major professional sport, though, in which the prior year’s champion gets automatic admission into the playoffs, regardless of regular season performance. What if Stewart was currently 20th in the point standings? Would people be making the argument then? Sure, it stinks to miss the Chase by a few points and one position, but that’s how pro sports go, and that’s what keeps things interesting. – James
A: I’m not going to actively argue either way for it, but I think the way NASCAR is set up, I’d at least be open to some kind of system that allows the titleholder to defend it the following year. I’m much more concerned with getting multiple winners outside the top 10 into the Chase (with a minimum number of starts) than getting last year’s champion into the fold, though.
Q: First of all, NASCAR is not like any other professional sport, and second, show me a professional sport where a team can go winless (i.e., Jeff Burton, Mark Martin) and still have a shot at a championship. I believe a “defending champion’s” provisional if he is within so many points of 10th is logical. Give the champion a chance to defend the title; just don’t make it an automatic in, as that would allow speculation that champions don’t have to race as hard because they have an automatic in. I also feel that more points for a win would help to solve that possible champion without a win scenario. – Molly
A: Those are sound points on Stewart, but I’ll disagree on Burton and Martin. To make it analogous to baseball, you can still qualify for the playoffs without winning your division, if you’re the wild card. Once in the playoffs, you can compete for the World Series. For NASCAR, you have a similar side effect with the current points system.