Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? Hornish Missed Again? Thoughts From the 2007 Pep Boys Auto 500 at Atlanta… And Beyond

Did You Notice? The degree to which Roger Penske is trying to force Sam Hornish Jr. into a Cup Series ride for next season? After his sixth DNQ at Atlanta, the team was even talking about switching rides with Kurt Busch for ’08 so that Hornish could have the comfort of being locked into the Top 35 next season – not suffering through the pressure of having to qualify on speed.

Um… what? How many DNQs do we have to put this guy through here before someone’s convinced he’s not ready for Cup yet? Are the options left out there (including former Penske driver Mike Wallace, David Stremme, Johnny Sauter, even Jeff Green) that bad they can’t jump in and serve as at least a one-year stopgap while Hornish learns the ropes in the minor leagues? In fact, take away the last name Hornish from the guy trying to qualify the No. 06 car and replace it with Brendan Gaughan – do you think he would be allowed the same type of leeway? Oh, that’s right, he wasn’t.

Again, who said every open wheeler that ever lived needs to push his way through the Cup Series now?

Did You Notice? Carl Edwards‘s weird sense of urgency in what seemed like an immediate forced injection of Matt Kenseth when approached for post-race comments on PRN? I hope the ridiculousness of certain members of the media – and the general public – haven’t backed Edwards into a corner where he’ll no longer be able to say what he thinks. And for anyone who hasn’t read Monte Dutton’s take this whole overblown escapade, please check it out – I couldn’t agree more with everything that was said.

Did You Notice? That the decision to move to the Car of Tomorrow for the Busch/Nationwide Series in ’09 comes just as strong organizations like Germain Racing of the Craftsman Truck Series, Petty Enterprises, and others were looking at joining up in ’08. Now, why would they bother committing? It’s one year’s worth of throwaway money before the series winds up forcing people to spend their funding on something completely different. And wasn’t the Car of Tomorrow for the Nationwide Series supposed to be similar to pony cars?

Weren’t there going to be clear differences between Busch and Cup? I fear what happens to the remaining independent owners who will be forced to sell their old inventory at pennies on the dollar. I don’t want to be too hypocritical here, because any type of change costs money; but the Nationwide Series really has to come up with a plan where this transition will be as inexpensive as possible, and right now, I don’t see one.

I also find it ironic that while writing this section, the lyrics to the ’90s song I’m listening to said (no joke), How’d you like to be alone, and drowning…

Let’s hope the insurance company understands the product it just bought into.

Did You Notice? That in the midst of all the Dale Earnhardt Jr. hype, Kyle Busch was actually the one who impressed in his new ride at Atlanta, blowing the rest of the field away by leading the morning test sessions both days? I know, I know, half of you are still in shock that Junior actually had other teams testing beside him this week, but I just thought I’d mention it for when that disbelief starts to fade away.

See also
Full Throttle: A New Era Begins for Dale Earnhardt Jr.

Did You Notice? How everything that could go wrong, has gone wrong for Joe Gibbs Racing’s three current drivers since the sun came back out at Kansas?

Did You Notice? Rookie AJ Allmendinger has less DNQs over the last 10 races (two) than veteran teammate Brian Vickers (four)? At least Vickers snagged a top 10 on Sunday, proof to there will be life in that team yet after Doug Richert’s sudden departure.

Did You Notice? Dario Franchitti impressed the heck out of everyone at Memphis, running second before falling victim to Demolition Derby 2007? Roger Penske, that’s the type of performance you should be looking for.

About the author

The author of Bowles-Eye View (Mondays) and Did You Notice? (Wednesdays) Tom spends his time overseeing Frontstretch’s 30 staff members as its majority owner. Based in Philadelphia, Bowles is a two-time Emmy winner in NASCAR television and has worked in racing production with FOX, TNT, and ESPN while appearing on-air for SIRIUS XM Radio and FOX Sports 1's former show, the Crowd Goes Wild.

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