Race Weekend Central

What’s Vexing Vito?: Random Observations at Michigan

A few random observations from the past two weeks of Sprint Cup competition.

Walking through the garage area at Michigan International Speedway a couple of weeks ago, I was struck by a number of things, the least of which was the tool crib of the No. 42 Earnhardt Ganassi Racing Team. One thing that is apparent, you can definitely tell that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is very close to getting back to the shades of his former self again. The quality of pit lizard seen loitering around the No. 88 AMP Energy hauler and garage stall was markedly improved over the past two seasons.

Speaking of lady friends, note how Kurt Busch’s turnaround coincides nicely with his new love interest Patricia Driscoll, head of the Armed Forces Foundation. Busch filed for divorce from wife Eva earlier this season. Busch need not worry about any on-track incidents with anybody either; Ms. Driscoll also heads up Frontline Defense Systems LLC – a private security firm and Department of Defense contractor. Anytime a DoD contractor cites “providing solutions” in their mission statement, it is usually PC-speak meaning that bad guys get deleted.

While walking the roof over looking pit road at MIS two weekends ago, I noticed Richard Childress spotting for his four teams, all the while being approached by more than a couple of fans “congratulating” him on his fine for punching Kyle Busch. I think what I was more startled by was the practice of ironing a crease in one’s jeans – particularly Wranglers. That sure is a lot of preparation and presentation for a $20 pair of pants. I’m not putting them down, but maybe if RC loosened up and dialed down the starch a bit, he wouldn’t be throwing haymakers in the garage area.

During the fracas in turn 11 on lap 39 (what a coincidence – read on) at Infineon Raceway, it was completely lost on the announcers that Juan Pablo Montoya took out Ryan Newman – again. This, after Newman popped JPM in the nose during a meeting regarding previous rough housing on the track, which led to a rumored Montoya lawsuit against the driver irreverently referred to by some as “Bulldozer.”

We’re not in Kansas anymore that’s for sure. Prior to the start of the Toyota/Save Mart 350k, the National Anthem was performed by a cast member of Beach Blanket Babylon, clad in a massive wig, cartoonish makeup and a miniature hat, not unlike the one worn by Damon Wayans during his “Men On Film” skit on In Living Color.

It’s the National Anthem – a little semblance of respect might be in order, and doing so in some freak show get-up is a bit disrespectful. NASCAR needs to tighten things up a bit when it comes to that. At least they haven’t gone NBC and edited out “Under God” during the Pledge of Allegiance as they did during a children’s rendition of it prior to the start of the US Open.

About the author

Vito is one of the longest-tenured writers at Frontstretch, joining the staff in 2007. With his column Voice of Vito (monthly, Fridays) he’s a contributor to several other outlets, including Athlon Sports and Popular Speed in addition to making radio appearances. He forever has a soft-spot in his heart for old Mopars and presumably oil-soaked cardboard in his garage.

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