Race Weekend Central

Mirror Driving: Judging NASCAR Silly Season, Radio Silence And More

Welcome to “Mirror Driving.” Every week, your favorite columnists sit down and give their opinion about the latest NASCAR news, rumors, and controversy. Love us or hate us, make a comment below and tell us how you feel about what we’ve said!

*This Week’s Participants*:
Tom Bowles “(Mondays: Bowles-Eye View & Wednesdays: Did You Notice)”:https://frontstretch.com/staffinfo/359/
Phil Allaway “(Tuesdays / Talking NASCAR TV & Frontstretch Newsletter)”:https://frontstretch.com/staffinfo/18439/
Mike Neff “(Wednesday: Full Throttle & Friday: Keepin’ It Short)”:https://frontstretch.com/staffinfo/1744/
Amy Henderson “(Fridays / Holding A Pretty Wheel)”:https://frontstretch.com/staffinfo/351/

*Several Sprint Cup drivers made postseason moves recently, with Kurt Busch jumping to the Phoenix Racing No. 51, A.J. Allmendinger to the No. 22 at Penske, and Aric Almirola reportedly to the No. 43 at Richard Petty Motorsports.  There were also several changes in the Nationwide Series… so which driver made the best move, and why?*

Mike N.: I’d have to say, of those three, Allmendinger made the best move. He’s going to be in a proven, race-winning machine. If the ‘Dinger doesn’t get it done there, he’s got no one left to blame but himself.
Phil: Heck, I thought Allmendinger was going to be out in the cold.  Instead, he’s made out the best of anyone.  He has an even better chance to win now, even though I think he could have won in the No. 43 in 2012 as well.
Amy: Allmendinger is either going to win races, or we’ll find out that he was maxed out on talent at RPM and matched the equipment – kind of like when McMurray went to Roush. I think he’ll win races.
Tom: I think Allmendinger put himself in great shape. He could not only win with Penske, he could make the Chase. I also think he’ll be a good teammate for Brad Keselowski, so the best possible scenario unfolded there. Best Buy may have honestly done him a favor by leaving the No. 43.
Mike N.: You’re right there, Tom. Had Best Buy stuck around, A.J. would probably still be in that car. I also think Almirola will do pretty well in RPM equipment. I don’t know that he’ll win right away, but I think he’ll do as well or better than A.J. did.
Phil: Almirola could be a darkhorse here.  He did very well in 2010 after Kahne left, including a fourth at Homestead.
Tom: Almirola, I’m unsure what to think there. It’s a total “wild card” that depends more on the financial situation than anything else. Yeah, he did well with that team in 2010 but we’re in 2012 now.
Amy: I’m going to say Kurt Busch made the best move.  He’s got a chance at personal redemption, and the chance to remember what he’s racing for in the first place.
Phil: Busch seems to be happy with the move, at least to start.
Amy: In the grand scheme of things, I think the chance at personal redemption is a really important one for Busch.  He also has the opportunity to make a real difference for Phoenix Racing as opposed to Penske, where that team was already established.
Tom: For Kurt Busch… I think the key is going to be equipment. How good will the Hendrick chassis and engines suddenly be with a championship driver in the fold?
Mike N.: That is the whole thing. Can the equipment alone make him a contender and will the personnel, a single-car organization be good enough? Depending on how they can work with SHR and Hendrick will probably help determine how good he can be.
Amy: Look at Stewart-Haas.  They weren’t anything until Tony and Newman came along. Say what you want about Kurt Busch, he’s talented.
Phil: Yeah.  Stewart’s car was the worst full-time car in the series back in 2008.
Tom: That’s a very good point, Amy. And you wonder if the same will “magically” happen over at the No. 51.
Amy: Here’s the thing with Phoenix.  If they can get in the top 25 in points, that will be a huge move in the right direction.  They have a driver who can do that for them. They aren’t going to be Chase contenders, but they can gain 10-12 points positions and really move up the ladder.
Tom: I think there’s no question Busch will win a race. It could even kill two birds with one stone, at the plate tracks which have typically dogged him through the years… that’s Finch’s strength. The key is whether they have enough consistency to stay in the top 20 and become a “wild card” entry into the Chase. I also think Busch is huge for the single-car programs… we need to convince more owners to come in and compete in the series. A one-car team gets the job done…
Mike N.: Busch is a great plate driver, he’s just had some really bad luck on plate tracks over the years. Finch plate equipment could be what puts him over the top though, Tom. You’re right about that.
Tom: The only roadblock is Busch’s mentality. If he wasn’t happy with Penske equipment, how the hell is he going to be satisfied with a lower-tier program? But that’s where I think the equipment they get from Hendrick will improve. You have to think Kurt wouldn’t have accepted anything less, based on his history.
Amy: He may not have had much choice.
Mike N.: Kurt Busch radio could be a full 30-minute show on Race Hub this season if he doesn’t realize they’re not going to be as good as Penske out of the gate.
Amy: He’d be better if he’d get the emotion out of it.
Phil: Also, what does Phoenix Racing have for sponsorship?  Is Security Benefit coming back for 2012?  Haven’t heard anything about that.
Tom: No word on sponsorship, but they’ll run all 36 without parking with Busch at the wheel.
Phil: Kurt might also run Kyle Busch’s Nationwide car this season.  Is that set in stone yet?
Tom: It’s still conjecture at this point. There’s talk Kurt could run for the Nationwide title if that happens, but not confirmed. I think he’ll stick with the Cup side though. They have to be thinking even in a worst-case scenario, with limited sponsorship a win and 20th in points could give them a shot at the Chase.
Mike N.: I think that was more of a fallback in case he didn’t land a Cup ride.
Phil: Well, Kurt got one.  And, according to a portable sign in front of the shop, “We’ve got Busch.”
Amy: I think this is a much better opportunity for Busch than winning races or making the Chase.  He’s got the chance to reinvent himself, and face it, he badly needs that at this stage.  If he doesn’t, this may be his last, best chance.
Phil: It’s been awhile since we’ve had a single-car squad in the top 20.  Five or six years, I think.  Maybe longer.
Tom: I think if it’s going to happen, it’ll be the No. 51. We’ll see if Busch can keep himself in check. What we can’t debate is the A+ opportunity he gave A.J. Allmendinger. One of the few winless drivers left running Cup… he won’t be winless much longer.
Mike N.: Kurt Busch has a chance to do some great things in the No. 51, but A.J. Allmendinger is the one who came out ahead on this offseason merry-go-round.
Phil: Allmendinger has a dream opportunity here.  When I interviewed him earlier this year, he focused the most on desperately wanting to win.  Well, here’s your chance, A.J.
Amy: Here’s a bold prediction, but he’s got the car… ‘Dinger could win Daytona.
Tom: ‘Dinger has run very well in the 500 the last couple of years. What was he, third in ’09? And Penske won in ’08… wouldn’t surprise me one bit.
Mike N.: I think anyone can win Daytona. That is the glorious joy that is restrictor plate racing. Hopefully, they’re at least going to be able to break up the tandem drafting a little bit…

*NASCAR created a rule banning drivers from communicating over the radio to each other during races.  Will the rule do anything to eliminate the two-car drafting at Daytona?*

Amy: No, it will just make it more dangerous. The tandem drafting, like it or not, is the fastest way around the plate tracks right now, and the drivers are going to use it. The only difference is, now they will have to rely on their spotters to relay information, which wastes time and could result in some nasty accidents.
Phil: It will definitely make it more dangerous, especially since the radio communication had taken the place of hand signals between drivers (since you can’t see the hands anymore).
Tom: I think it was the right call from the standpoint of, it’s supposed to be every man for himself. I don’t remember the last time four teammates or two drivers shared a trophy in Victory Lane. What’s dangerous about it is the two-car tandems will probably still be around… and to make those happen, you need constant communication. That equals a 20-car wreck on Lap 2 waiting to happen in the Shootout.
Amy: Honestly, teammates communicated a good bit in the parade drafting as well, and taking it away is a HUGE safety issue.  NASCAR should be ashamed.
Phil: I just don’t know how long these guys are realistically going to be able to tandem draft with the new, restrictive cooling rules.
Mike N.: Right, Phil. As it is, I feel radio communication has next to nothing to do with tandem drafting, not as much as people say. They’re going to make some changes to the cars that will cut down on the tandem drafting but radio chatter has almost nothing to do with it. I don’t know about a HUGE safety issue, but it certainly is a safety issue.
Tom: I just don’t know how you can say that, Mike. The drivers can’t see half the time! I know spotters are #1 for where other cars are on the racetrack, but drivers communicating with each other under yellow helped save some accidents under green. People were able to give feedback, back and forth on what was working for them and keeping the cars from crashing. You can send that info through the spotters now… but some of that is going to be lost through translation.
Phil: Mike, the radio communication was never really a story until the tandem stuff started. We also never saw inter-team (between different organizations) chatter before the tandem drafts.
Mike N.: I think the problem is that the spotter for the back car is about useless in the tandem draft. It will certainly make it harder for the guy in the back of the tandems. Although, if they cut the spoiler down and the cars get too squirrely, then they’ll wreck all by themselves without the communication.
Amy: Taking down the spoiler might make a difference, but again, if the tandem draft is faster, the drivers will make it work.  This is racing, after all, and if you can go faster, well, that’s your job.
Phil: At the very least, the cars will probably be a little faster in Daytona this year.  That’ll help to cut down a little of the tandems.
Mike N.: I think if the spoiler is making the back end much looser, they’ll be wrecking when people try and bumpdraft in the corners.
Amy: Well honestly, I’d way rather see the pairs of cars move and race each other than two or three lines of cars just ride around.  Drivers hung in the back just as much with the parade laps as they do in the tandems. This is funny, though.  NASCAR is desperate to do something that will cut down on the purpose of the sport (going as fast as you can around the racetrack) because the fans complained.  Yet they still try to sell the Chase, hyping it up though more than 3/4 of fans want them to get rid of it.
Mike N.: The Chase is tied to sponsorship money. It has nothing to do with what people want to see on the track.
Amy: Honestly, I think a lot of people don’t like the tandems because it cuts down on the huge wrecks. It has nothing to do with the racing, because there is more of it in the tandems, with lots of movement on the track.  But the wrecks are smaller, and a lot of people watch for the wrecks, despite what they say.
Tom: Not sure I agree with that; I think there’s a lot of people that can’t stand the tandems because it’s like some bizarre version of speed dating. But I think it’s going to be tough to eliminate the tandems completely in February. My hope would be that a wreck in the Shootout, where hopefully no one gets hurt will finish off the rules changes so it can’t happen in the 500… but I’m not confident.
Mike N.: The only reason I don’t like the tandems is because there seems to be even more luck about who wins in a plate race now than there used to be.
Amy: I think there’s less luck involved, Mike.  You have to make the move and make it spot-on perfect. I don’t love the wheeling and dealing, but that’s been a part of plate racing forever – just more so now.
Tom: Amy, I do agree with you on one point. Drivers, radio communication or not will still try any opportunity they can risk for speed. The two-car tandems, as long as they have plates will be the fastest way around the track. So no radio doesn’t mean they won’t try.
Amy: Right, Tom. Last I knew, going around as fast as you can is kind of the point.
Phil: Here’s a thought.  Could you guys foresee NASCAR reinstituting the “no bumping” rules in the turns at Daytona? Just in the turns.  You could still bumpdraft on the straights…
Mike N.: The no bumping rule is one of the dumbest things they ever tried to institute. Where does the turn start and stop? Is the tri-oval a turn? It is impossible to police.
Amy: The only rule dumber than the “no bumping” rule was the yellow-line rule, with the “no radio” rule a very close second.
Mike N.: Ya know, if they really wanted to make the yellow line rule work, they’d paint everything below the yellow line. Then people would not go down there at all.
Phil: I’m very anti-yellow line rule.  Unfortunately, the paving over of grass recently has basically given it credence.  They should put in what Paul Ricard in France has, then paint it green to make it look like grass.
Mike N.: I have to think that’s what they’ll do in Phoenix for this year. Paint the inside of the backstraight and nobody will go down there again.
Amy: They could just put a moat below the line.  Problem solved. Alligators, too.
Phil: Should have never taken the grass out.  Never ever.  “Nothing good ever comes from grass at a race track.”  That’s moron’s talk.  Rusty Wallace, I’m talking to you.  Grass is a natural barrier to stupidity.
Mike N.: Alright, we’re off topic. I don’t agree with the radio rule and I’m curious exactly how they’ll police it. I suppose they do have to register all of the radio frequencies. Otherwise, they could just use unlisted channels.
Tom: Step 1 for 2012 on plate tracks is to eliminate the two-car tandems; if they do that, this rule doesn’t matter. But I fear we’re going to see a dangerous accident now, with this rule in place before we get the desired result.
Amy: The dangerous accident is more likely to happen without the tandems than in them, Tom. It’s safer in theory as it scrubs off speed, but in practice, it’s not as uninviting as grass.
Tom: Amy, we still saw a 15-car accident in the Daytona 500 last year WITH them. And now, with these radio rules…
Amy: But it could have been a 25-car wreck with the lines.

*NASCAR enjoyed an upswing in race attendance and ratings in 2011.  Should we expect to see that carry over into 2012… and what the one thing NASCAR needs to do to ensure that it does?*

Amy: I think it will carry over, at least for a bit.  There was an exciting (contrived, but exciting) finish to 2011, and there will be Danica.
Mike N.: It is certainly possible that we’ll see an upswing in numbers because of that.
Phil: Obviously, keep up the exciting action on-track and good things will happen.
Amy: I think in order to keep the fans watching, the product still needs improvement.  That means racing at Rockingham, Darlington, and Iowa along with a couple more road courses – not at the cookie-cutters.
Tom: I agree with the three of you; I do think the upswing carries over. The closest championship battle in modern history helps that. But for NASCAR to stay relevant, long-term, they need to bring new faces and new cars to the table. Shrinking car count and no new rookies, for three straight years now is becoming an issue.
Phil: Danica Patrick’s going to be in 10 or so races, Tom.  She might bring in a few new fans.  I think her extra drawing power might already be gone from the Nationwide Series, though.
Tom: Well the only new guy we’re going to have full-time, and he’s not even new is Almirola. You can only deal with the same faces for so long before the natural transition of new blood has to happen.
Phil: The new cars are coming in 2013… that’s new.
Mike N.: I still don’t know about the rookie issue, Tom. There’s nowhere for them to go once they come into the series. Until the current crop of drivers gets a little older, there won’t be any open seats. We’re still three or four years away from any significant number of drivers retiring. Until that happens, there are no cars for the rookies to climb into.
Amy: I agree.  Not a lot of top drivers will be leaving good rides open.
Phil: It’s going to take someone pressing their luck on an unproven quantity for fresh meat.
Tom: But there are also no new owners to offer opportunities, either. Which means the car count keeps shrinking… there’s room for ten start-and-parkers this year.
Phil: Maybe Parker Kligerman will move up to Cup in 2013 or 2014, I don’t know.  I do know he’s full-time in Trucks and part-time in Nationwide this year.
Amy: If he stays in the Penske fold, he’s in line behind Hornish.
Mike N.: And Austin Dillon will be moving to Cup in 2014.
Amy: Ty won’t be far behind.
Tom: I think to keep momentum, NASCAR needs to keep the parity up – we had five first-time winners last year – and get drivers to be more competitive earlier in races. Way too many fuel mileage finishes and races not contested until the last 10 percent of the event.
Mike N.: Well Tom, I’ve always said if they paid some bonus points at the quarter marks or eighth marks of the races you’d get more racing earlier. That is what was upsetting about the final three races this year. If people raced every race like Carl and Tony did, the last three events we’d have ginormous crowds.
Phil: Maybe bring back the legitimate halfway leader bonus, but maybe make it $15,000 and 4 points, or something like that.
Mike N.: I say give five bonus points for the leader at the quarter marks of the races.
Amy: Five?  They don’t give that many to the winner. Here’s an idea:  Seed the driver who leads the most laps in the first 26 races at the top of the Chase field, regardless of wins.
Tom: Amy, you’re on it today. First time I’ve heard that laps led idea and I really like it. As we’ve said many times, even though the battle was incredible this year there’s too much focus on the championship.
Mike N.: Amy, you want some serious racing all race long, give them five points for each quarter led and they’ll race like hell. I don’t like your other idea; you can’t do that because they don’t run the same number of laps on every track. It isn’t fair for someone who is good on short tracks to lead 1,000 laps in four races. Or someone leads 50 laps out of 75 on a road course and they get far less credit than someone leading half of the laps at Charlotte.
Amy: Is it more fair for someone at intermediates to dominate? It would even out. It would make everyone race as hard as they could, every lap of every race.
Mike N.: Not really. It would make more people near the front race hard.
Tom: I don’t think you’re going to end up with that, Mike. How about you have the top 10 drivers in points, the driver with the most wins not already qualified, and the driver with the most laps led not already qualified. Altering that second wild card would certainly keep more drivers in play and promote aggression.
Phil: How about increasing the bonus points for leading the most laps from one to three?  Keeps it in line with NASCAR’s unnecessary new system from last year.
Mike N.: But the people in 10th place are not going to race harder when they don’t have a shot at leading. They can talk all of the crap they want about how hard they race but when it comes down to it, they don’t push themselves at all during the majority of the races, especially before the Chase.
Phil: It would make everyone else race harder because they could be lapped quicker otherwise. The people leading would be going 110% for those extra points.
Tom: I do agree with what Mike is saying about what the people running 5th, 6th, 7th are doing. In the past, they’d be banging against each other for most of the race but the last few years they have started “stroking” until the last 50 laps. I do think some of the rules play into that, though. Between the Lucky Dog, mystery debris cautions, late-race pit strategy and wave arounds you can be two laps down on lap 50 and magically be gifted a shot at the win later on – by never even passing the leader to get your lap back. That creates zero sense of urgency on both sides. If you’re the leader, why do you care if you get aggressive and lap somebody? They’re going to get it right back anyway. And if you’ve got a flat, putting you in the back why bother worrying?
Amy: What about bonus points for passing the most cars under green or improving their position the most?
Mike N.: I like that idea, Amy. Unfortunately everyone complains that the loop data is manufactured so they’d say the same thing about car passing bonuses.
Amy: Look at Stewart… he made 118 green flag passes at Homestead. That was HUGE. And people who think loop data is contrived don’t understand how it works or how to interpret it. It’s electronic. 
Tom: There’s a difference, though Amy between a green flag pass and a green flag PASS. Mark Martin, moving over for somebody on the back straightaway is not going to get the fans standing up and cheering. On the intermediates, we see a lot of common courtesy, very few extended side-by-sides (because of the amount of time you lose) and only a handful of aggressive, hair-raising moments throughout the race. So I think that’s not going to be enough… and adding bonus points for passes would get too complicated.
Mike N.: I love the passing idea, but if fans thought the old system was complicated they’d have no CLUE how to follow that point system.
Amy: How hard could it be?  Give a bonus point every race to the driver with the most passes. I also think that drivers wouldn’t let others pass if there were points on the line.
Mike N.: One point!?!?! Give me a break. All of the drivers in the field are going to race a ton harder because ONE POINT is up for grabs? You’re on crack.
Amy: Tony Stewart raced pretty damn hard for that one point, Mike.
Mike N.: Yeah, because it was the last race of the season. I didn’t see him race that hard at Charlotte in May. Hell, I didn’t see him race that hard at Charlotte in October and that was _during_ the Chase.
Tom: I still think it can be better. The end of the championship hid some very, very bad intermediate races early in the Chase. There were some very good races in 2011, don’t get me wrong (Martinsville? Homestead? Atlanta?) but too many on the same type of tracks were just God awful.
Amy: True, but listen to the radios… those guys fight pretty hard for one bonus point if they can get it. Ask Carl Edwards if he’d have raced harder for that one point now.
Mike N.: Right, but if you’re talking about 43 drivers passing cars all day and you’re going to give one point for the guy who does the most you aren’t going to have a measurable difference in aggression from the drivers. It just isn’t going to happen.
Amy: I think you could combo up points, though.  Give one for leading at certain laps, one for the most passes, one for most improved position start to finish, one for pole.
Mike N.: You can, Amy, but you’re making the points more complicated again. That is why we made the change to this tremendous new system we have that created the closest finish in the history of the sport.
Amy: Really?  It’s not that complicated to list who got what bonus points in the finishing order.  If fans can’t comprehend that, they might need to pick another sport. If you want them to race their asses off for an entire race, they would be running heats and a 20-lap feature.
Mike N.: Now you’re talking.
Amy: Well I don’t care how many cars you have, short of Australian rules, you aren’t going to have them fighting tooth and nail for the entire race.
Tom: I think the passes bonus would be way too complicated. Laps led is something that would work. You could either alter that second “wild card” Chase slot, or add more bonus points for laps led, or give bonuses for who’s leading at certain points in the race.
Amy: How is it complicated? The driver who makes the lost passes gets points!
Mike N.: You pay points for each segment and it’ll get really exciting.
Tom: Another idea is to make it more challenging for cars to make up a lap. You can’t just set it up so the entire field ends every race on the same lap with all these freebies… heck, I wouldn’t race hard either until the last 50 laps. Why bother?
Mike N.: This all comes down to what is so frustrating about this sport right now. The last three races of the season were awesome because Stewart and Edwards were going all out the entire race. But unless you come up with a system that makes drivers do that every race, you won’t have that kind of excitement every week.

*Kasey Kahne made national headlines last week after some Twitter comments about a woman breastfeeding in a public place.  Kahne apologized; should he have? Where is the line between drivers being themselves and crossing a line on social media?*

Phil: Kahne was a moron for going off on that woman who confronted him.  That’s over the line. However, I can’t claim to have ever seen a woman breastfeeding at the grocery store before.
Amy: I think that, ironically, the line should be where the line is on breastfeeding in public. There was a time when people could be themselves and still show a little modesty and good taste at the same time. That was more over the line than the original comment, really.
Phil: I’m a little confused. Was this woman basically standing there with her shirt off all out in the open feeding?
Mike N.: I have no idea, Phil. Guess Kasey should have posted a pic. Anyways, it just shows that Twitter is a nuisance. Try as you might to be yourself, you’re going to offend someone. That is why I don’t tweet, unless our Managing Editor makes me.
Phil: Kahne was “taken aback” from the sight.  I suppose that if you hadn’t seen that before in public, you’d be surprised too.
Mike N.: The grocery store did seem like a bit much. Although I think breastfeeding is great for babies, so I encourage it whenever it can help kids.
Phil: Kahne had every right to tweet that he saw that.  But he probably should have either kept his remark to himself, or been less in your face about it.
Amy: By the way, I think that Twitter is a good thing.  Drivers do show a more “real” side of themselves, which is great.  But there’s a line of politeness.
Mike N.: They show more of themselves until someone is offended. Then they have to apologize, their owner has to apologize, their sponsors have to apologize. It is too much of a hassle.
Tom: I’m actually working on a column, for this week or next entitled “Tweet At Your Own Risk.” And that’s what I think of this whole thing. People want Twitter opinions until they’re offended, then there’s a lynch mob and suddenly there won’t be any opinions anymore.
Mike N.: Right. People who are subscribed to him should have shut up and not been so offended by one man’s opinion.
Amy: I think some things are best kept to yourself, though.
Tom: Where Kahne made the big mistake, and I agree with Phil is going off on the woman who confronted him. If you’re going to take a stand, be prepared to handle those who disagree with you.
Phil: That was just plain bush league.  He was way the deuce out of bounds there. Twitter would have likely taken that picture down within 10 minutes or so.
Amy: But I think you can be opinionated and not offensive.  Like I said, his remark to the person who disagreed was worse than the original.  Kahne should have shown some restraint, but so should the person in the grocery store…
Mike N.: And then again, now you’re talking censorship. Who decides what is offensive and what isn’t?
Amy: I think that this is more of a societal problem than a Twitter problem.  Potty humor and things that would have been considered private not too long ago are overdone.
Tom: I just think, with Twitter fans want to have their cake and eat it, too. “Yes! We want to know everything about our favorite driver and what he has to say! And our favorite media people! Opinions, news, gossip, give give give! But the second we see something we don’t like, we get to raise hell and try and get that person to publicly apologize, putting them front and center while raising the possibility they’ll be fired!”
Phil: A screaming baby in public is a pretty big nuisance, I guess.  However, most grocery stores have public bathrooms now.  You could take the kid into the john and feed him just like you can take him/her in there to change his diaper.
Amy: Disagree there, Phil.  Would _you_ eat in the bathroom?  But I do think there are more appropriate places and the incident shows a lack of consideration by society as a whole.
Phil: You’re not eating off the floor.  You’re feeding off of yo’ momma.
Mike N.: Oh Phil, the breastfeeding mommas are going to be on your ass. They just protested Target over that very thing. But with this incident, I just think it all comes down to the fact that Twitter doesn’t do anything to advance people’s lives – it just can ruin their lives. I don’t know of anyone who’s receive a raise or a promotion because of their tweeting, but I know multiple people who’ve lost jobs and friends over it.
Tom: That’s a deadly cycle. And if it continues, no one’s going to bother to “Twitter” participate.
Amy: Still.  I wouldn’t bring a soda in there and drink it out of a straw.  Gross.  But there are hallways, your car, at home before your shopping trip…
Phil: Ok.  How about this.  Just go to a private place, which Kasey seems to be claiming that this woman didn’t do.
Tom: See, I think you guys are off on a tangent. The whole breastfeeding topic is irrelevant. The aftermath is what’s in line with what’s been happening all over the place the last year or two.  Famous person states opinion. People don’t like said opinion… it winds up putting them through personal hell and/or costing them a job.
Mike N.: I agree Tom. I just think Twitter does nothing but get people in trouble. Sure, there is the small amount of useful information that comes out of it. 95% is useless crap, and that .001% simply gets people fired. Exactly why I don’t tweet.
Tom: If that’s the case, then why would you bother Tweeting? What’s in it for the athlete / famous person? So people have to figure out what they want. Do they want their drivers, uncensored and are willing to accept certain opinions they have? Or would they rather have them all hide behind a curtain, say all the right things they don’t believe and become a sponsor shill.
Amy: And again, thats part of a greater issue.  In general, we’ve become a TMI society. 
Phil: Perhaps there’s a happy medium.  Drivers need to be open, but they have to realize that you can’t be an idiot.
Mike N.: Wow, now Kasey is an idiot? See Phil, one person’s idiot is another person’s voice of reason. You can’t decide which is which because it is different for different people. The problem is that sponsors and owners will actually listen to the .0001% of people who bitch when they don’t like a person’s tweet, and it makes the tweeter’s life a giant pain in the ass. Owners and sponsors need to tell people to shut up. Twitter is like your TV. If you don’t like it, don’t follow the person. But don’t take them to task over what they say.
Amy: Kasey’s tweet was TMI, but was it out of line?  Not really.  It’s not like he was saying nursing mothers are the spawn of Satan, just that a little modesty was in order.  Calling the person who responded to him a dumb b*tch _was_ out of line.
Phil: There’s the whole “think before you tweet/post/etc.” thing.  This is definitely one of those situations.  Sharing your opinion is great.  However, you must think about perception.  I do all the time.  99 percent of the time, it doesn’t even matter.
Mike N.: We’re the society of the offended and that isn’t going to change.
Tom: Exactly, Mike. Everyone wants people to Tweet in line with their own thoughts and values, or make them laugh. If they do neither, then the person they follow eventually gets vilified for something. So when NASCAR drivers stop Tweeting, start censoring and hide the fans will have no one to blame but themselves. Kahne did go over the line with that woman, though.
Mike N.: Why do you say he went over the line? It was his opinion responding to her opinion. You just said you want people to give their opinion. If he gave his opinion, you can’t say he was over the line.
Amy: Personal attacks are over the line, period.  Bu that goes for fans, too.  Some of the things they tweet to drivers are over the line.
Phil: Mike, he called her a “dumb b****”.  That’s just wrong.  There are other ways to say something like that. You know, so that you don’t sound like a complete jerk.
Amy: I agree, Phil.  On the other hand, fans could use a little restraint, too.  Instead of telling one driver that you wish he would crash and burn, how about using those 140 characters to tell _your_ driver that you think he’s great?
Mike N.: See, I don’t think that was wrong. I think she was a dumb b*tch for complaining about his tweet.
Tom: Mike, I think that’s over the line because the person was being directly named in a public forum with a swear word that was insulting. That goes beyond opinion, there’s a clear difference. Kahne should have and rightfully apologized.
Mike N.: Well I believe, and it is purely my opinion, once you hit the follow button, you give up the right to be offended by what someone tweets.
Tom: But the bottom line is if we’re asking drivers to freely express themselves, we need to respect their right to that freedom. Freedom of expression from a fan’s perspective does _not_ mean “he gets to say whatever he wants, as long as he fits within this role model vision I’ve created in my head.”
Amy: I agree, Tom, but I also think that someone can be themselves and not be vulgar or TMI.
Phil: A few drivers are guilty of TMI stuff.  I swear that Scott Speed posted a picture of his wife peeing at a golf course once.
Mike N.: Some of us like potty humor.
Amy: Right, but would it kill anyone to use a little less potty humor and a little more modesty?
Tom: Well, bottom line, I don’t think we’ll see Kasey quite so outlandish on Twitter… especially when housed within the Hendrick Motorsports empire from this point on. Although he was never all that offbeat to begin with.
Phil: Yeah.  Think of this as a final hurrah.
Mike N.: I don’t think it will matter what Kasey says as long as he wins.

*Email the Mirror Guys ‘N’ Gals!*
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