Each week, Frontstretch Staff Writer Becca Gladden looks at the prior weekend’s Nextel Cup race from a reporter’s point of view, covering the “Who, What, When, Where, Why and How” of the race, the drivers, the TV coverage… even the commercials. Check back every Wednesday for Becca’s fun and thought-provoking commentary.
Who… gets my shout-out of the race?
This week it’s none other than Tony Stewart, who not only won the Cup race at Atlanta, but took home the IROC championship (and its $1 million Crown Royal purse) the night before. The Atlanta win was Stewart’s second in seven Chase races, and the IROC title marked his sixth different major motorsports championship. The range of series Stewart has won in are as diverse as you can get: NASCAR Nextel Cup, IRL IndyCar Series, USAC National Midget, USAC National Sprint Car and the USAC Silver Crown Series.
As if those accolades weren’t enough to earn him this week’s award… Tony looked pretty spry climbing that fence! Apparently, his new training regimen is paying off.
What… is it about Mark Martin that reminds me of Charlie Brown?
Last week I watched the perennial Halloween favorite, It’s the Great Pumpkin, and there once again was poor, hapless Charlie Brown, walking along minding his own business, until Lucy cajoles him to try and kick the football for the umpteenth time. He gives it his best shot, but of course, she pulls the football out from under him just as he’s about to kick it. Fast forward to Atlanta, and there was poor, hapless Martin, driving along minding his own business, when a crash that started on the bottom of the racetrack washed up right in front of him on lap 309 of a 325-lap race. Just like Charlie Brown, it looks like Mark never will achieve the one goal that has evaded him for so many years.
When… did the trend in men’s caps become the thread-worn look?
I’ve noticed an increasing number of drivers wearing caps with worn areas, holes, and threads sticking out of them, making the hats look either very old or as though they’ve been through the washing machine a few too many times. I found an example of one at the NASCAR.com Superstore, a Kyle Busch cap featuring what it described as a “worn bill” with loose threads sticking up from various spots. The price? $22.99.
Where… did that roll-bar pad come from, anyway?
NASCAR said the review of NBC’s tape was “inconclusive,” but that they were continuing to investigate. It doesn’t seem like it would be that hard to check inside the cars and see where a chunk of padding that big came from. Jeff Burton had a valid point – if the padding was intentionally on the track by someone hoping to bring out a caution, then the offending driver should have been identified and penalized. NASCAR has been taking a lot of heat for their curiously-timed debris cautions, and perhaps this incident will result in some procedural changes – which could only be a good thing.
Why… would anyone tell his best friend to “smell” the Nextel Cup?
It’s a funny commercial for Nextel’s walkie-talkie phones, but have you ever given it much thought? One guy rings up his buddy on his walkie-talkie to say that he’s looking right at the real Nextel Cup – so his friend tells him to touch it. But he can’t, because it’s encased in glass – so his friend tells him to smell it (which he does). What does he think it’s going to smell like, anyway? And how can he smell it through the glass? And beyond that, why does he have such a loser friend?
How… could anyone think that blowing a duck call during the command was a good idea?
I understand that Bass Pro Shops sponsored the race, that they dedicated the race to all the anglers and hunters out there, and that they wanted to make their “Start Your Engines” command unique and memorable. Well, it was memorable… but not in the way that they probably hoped.