NASCAR Race Weekend Central

5 Points to Ponder: Memorial Day Weekend 2009 Edition

Longing for Leniency

You know that big senior bully who picks on the little freshman in high school? That’s what NASCAR has been accused of on several occasions in the past month with the suspensions of Jeremy Mayfield and Carl Long. The recent 12-week, $200,000 fine for Long’s engine that was a fraction of an inch too big has crippled the income of the longtime part-time driver. After the appeals process is over – which given NASCAR’s history is unlikely to be overturned – Long will be shunned from the garage for the length of his suspension, preventing him from being a Nationwide Series crewman as well. Now, if NASCAR is trying to set an example with a team they think the fans don’t care about, they’re wrong. Fans like an underdog, and fans have a heart. Sure, Long’s team broke a major rule, but this is a team and a person whose income is now crippled by a seemingly excessive penalty. The fans understand that… and the fans don’t like that. And in the end, the fans are who the sport is trying to win back more than anyone else.

Draining Daytona

As a fellow Daytonian, I can I honestly say the city of Daytona Beach had its share of rain this week. Flooding was widespread throughout the entire county, leaving several families stranded in or away from their homes. But the most alarming evidence of the high amount of rainfall was seen in the popular internet photos of Daytona International Speedway.

There was a high amount of standing water located on the inside portion of the backstretch, tunnel and infield. Track spokesman Andrew Booth says there is no apparent damage to the track, but you have to wonder if the already weathered racing surface will eat up tires with absolutely no rubber on it, or if any other unforeseen factors will interfere with the racing in July after that type of flooding.

NASCAR’s New Series

iRacing has joined the ranks of NASCAR-sanctioned series… what? If you missed the memo, it came out this week that the racing simulator which pits fans against technologically savvy drivers like Dale Earnhardt Jr. will begin in 2010. Now, the NASCAR purist in me is wondering why the sanctioning body is even bothering getting involved with this project, but the “Playstation generation” and former Papyrus: NASCAR Racing 2003 online competitor in me thinks this is absolutely awesome. Since Papyrus disbanded years ago, NASCAR simulator fans everywhere have had no real unified place to race in cyberspace.

Any type of simulation is critical in an age where drivers are less accessible, as the ability for the average person to compete against their heroes is a unique way for them to interact with their fans. It doesn’t matter if that connection comes from a game, a social networking Web site, or a blog… that’s what the sport needs.

Bruton’s Brutal Truth

If you’ve been waiting for a high-profile figure to speak out against the recent troubles in the sport, then you had to be ecstatic to hear the words that came out of SMI chairman Bruton Smith’s mouth this weekend. On the Long suspension, he called the fine “ridiculous” and an “injustice;” on the Mayfield drug fiasco he said, “Let NASCAR tell us what drug he was on;” and he also mentioned how happy he was the awards banquet was moved to Las Vegas, close to an SMI facility where he’s clamoring for a second date.

It’s nice for fans to hear they aren’t the only one’s with questions and concerns – now, will NASCAR listen?

Frontstretch LIVE BLOG comment of the race

Each week, I will further expand on some of the more interesting fan comments from our weekly Frontstretch LIVE Cup race blog. The Coca-Cola 600 may have been postponed, but not before some some intriguing conversation:

What are your predictions for when Dave Blaney will park his car? Lap 20? – Clay on the recent start and parking of Blaney

It’s been no secret that Blaney and other low-budget teams have been starting races only to park shortly after the green flag and collect the check that comes with simply making the field. Blaney and the No. 66 Prism Motorsports team has been S&Ping races because they don’t have financial banking, but with Aaron’s on the hood this weekend, expect Blaney to try and run the full 600 miles in a car that was surprisingly quick in the Sprint Showdown last week.

P.S.: Our live blog pops up again today at noon! Come join the fun!

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