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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Fanning the Flames: Kurt Busch Delivers, Herman is Saved, & A Season Finale At…Bristol?

In this very column two weeks ago, I gave Kurt Busch a pretty hard time. His Pocono Victory Lane celebration, with its scripted victory speech and fake beer swigging, was not only pre-meditated, it was downright fake. So to be fair, I must acknowledge that Kurt’s straight-up rundown of the last 100 laps and compulsory ‘Thank Yous’ at Michigan were well done.

In short: You drove one helluva race, Kurt, and – by ditching the forced pitchman routine – you scored mucho points with the casual fan by simply being yourself. And the fact that you actually opened the beer bottle before you took a swig was almost, dare I say it?, Junior-esque.

I have a feeling we’ll be seeing a Miller-drenched Busch drinking champagne another time or two more before the season is up. Wow, I got buzzed up just typing that last sentence.

But instead of going off to down a beer, it’s time to sit down and listen to some sound off from you, our loyal band of readers.

Q: The talk of the Michigan weekend was centered around the fear that were the race canceled due to weather, they would be forced to stage it at the end of the season. I think an off-weekend situated between the Richmond and New Hampshire dates is something NASCAR should consider. That way, a weekend is built in that would allow for a make-up date.

The Chase tracks build marketing campaigns around the fact that they host a playoff race. Can you imagine the outcry from the companies that staged promotions for the Homestead race only to learn that it will not host Championship Week? I hope for the well being of the tracks and their owners that NASCAR realizes this and rectifies the situation. – Lee Dunn

A: Very well stated, Lee. I couldn’t agree more that NASCAR needs to insert that off-weekend you proposed into its schedule.

While the marketing and financial repercussions are numerous, can you imagine what a re-scheduled Pepsi 400 could do to the competition side of the sport? I think most agree that plate racing lends itself to team orders. Yes, I know I could get docked 25 points and fined 25 Gs for using that term in a NASCAR column, but think how easy it would be for Casey Mears to comfortably settle in behind Jeff Gordon on the season’s final weekend without any intention of actually gunning for the win. It may seem I’m taking this to an extreme, but the fact that this could happen is the real point.

And one more thing: I believe I can speak for racing writers all across America when I say we do not want to be forced to work a make-up race on Thanksgiving weekend.

Q: I guess my “Save Herman” email last week was good karma for Kenny Wallace! It will be great to see him in a Petty car that is guaranteed a spot in the field at Bristol!Herm0078

A: Karma works on Frontstretch the same as it does on the Jim Rome Show, Herm. Nice job.

Q: Among all the Silly Season talk, Jeremy Mayfield‘s name has not been rumored to be in line for any of the rides. Wouldn’t a team owner rather have a two-time Chase participant with a handful of victories over a guy that has been with a championship-level team but never delivered? – Smokin99

A: I am assuming that you are referring to JJ Yeley when you speak of a “guy that has been with a championship-level team but never delivered.” Make no mistake, Jeremy’s name is out there, and he is lobbying hard to get one of the remaining open seats. The knock is that he’s never played well in a team structure. With that in mind, the Wood Brothers may be a nice fit for him.

All things considered, I believe he could thrive with RCR or DEI. Jeremy didn’t just forget how to drive, but he needs a good car to get him where he is going; he won’t take a mid-level operation and raise it to greatness.

Q: Hey Matt. I see in the forecast that it is supposed to rain in Bristol this weekend. Can you imagine that race being made up at the end of the season for all the marbles? Now that’s the way to determine a champion!C.L. Allen

A: Yep, lots of rain in the extended forecast for the Bristol area. Come to think of it, there is one race I wouldn’t mind covering on Thanksgiving weekend,