One to go and I’m sad to say that the excitement that was there for last year’s championship is not there this season. We’re not going to get a battle between the two championship leaders in the waning laps of the race that will both determine the race winner and the Sprint Cup champion, there will likely be no tie, and barring something crazy, Brad Keselowski will win his first Sprint Cup Series championship.
However, all hope is not lost. Let’s not forget that this “something crazy” happened to Jimmie Johnson in Phoenix (a blown tire) that shaped the points system as it is now. The exact same thing could happen to Keselowski, or worse. He could lose a tire like Kurt Busch in 2004. A stray lapped car could wiggle slightly and send him into the wall. A pit road incident outside of Keselowski’s control could ruin everything. This championship is certainly not over just yet, though it likely won’t hurt to at least have Brad’s first few initials engraved in the trophy.
However, maybe this talk of the championship is slightly premature. After all, the events coming out of Phoenix _still_ have people talking as evidenced by the questions sent in this week.
Let’s take a look:
_Is it true the trucks are going to run a dirt track next year?_
All signs point to yes. All of the people I’ve talked to and whisperings I’ve heard say this is absolutely going to happen. Though no date has been officially set, it’s a foregone conclusion that the Camping World Truck Series will race at Tony Stewart’s Eldora Speedway in 2013. While that opens up a whole host of complications that will have to be addressed, no one is actively denying that this is going to happen.
I can’t say anything as to what it will mean for the Nationwide and Sprint Cup Series, though I’d imagine if it goes well it will definitely be in the discussion to at least put some of the regional series and _maybe_ the Nationwide Series on a dirt track.
However, my guess is the race will be a wreck fest filled with already inexperienced drivers having to race in an environment that several of them have never experienced before. I hope NASCAR provides them with plenty of testing and practice time because there are several drivers out there who will need it just to be simply relevant in the race.
_Why did NASCAR fine Brad Keselowski $25,000 for tweeting in his car??!!?!_
Normally every question like this was followed by at least two question marks, usually an exclamation mark, and usually finished with a “WTF were they thinking??”
Honestly, there _is_ a rule in NASCAR’s rulebook (yes, it exists!) that prohibits the use of recording or computer devices in the car, both of which a phone can be used for. Yes I ¬ _know_ that when Keselowski did the same thing in the Daytona 500 he was lauded for it, but he and other drivers were warned about it enough from NASCAR and they decided to take action.
I don’t particularly _like_ the rule because I think that inside look for fans is fantastic.
However, I know why NASCAR needs to enforce it. There are several different potential ways drivers and crew chiefs could use it to their advantage. Heck, many of us use our smartphones as GPS devices in our own cars to help us find our way around. You don’t think they can use applications on their phone, tape it to the dashboard, and use it as a distracting advantage? It just can’t happen like that.
I do wish that NASCAR would be more lenient, however. If you have an in-car camera and the drivers don’t use the phone for anything but social media, what difference does it make? It just seems to me that it shouldn’t be such a black and white rule. For now, Keselowski has a big check to write.
_What’s your opinion on the Jeff and Clint situation? Do you think NASCAR made the right call in not suspending Jeff?_
I absolutely agree with the way NASCAR handled the situation. I know that regarding consistency NASCAR has suspended drivers for this before, mainly drivers with history (cough-Kyle Busch-cough). I know there are many fans who want consistency, but to me judging off of a driver’s history is the right way to go. Kyle Busch was out of control and had shown so on multiple occasions. Jeff Gordon? He was probably pretty far down your list when you thought of drivers who were most likely to lose their temper.
As far as Clint Bowyer, the most dangerous thing he did was sprint across the garage area to try and settle a score, and didn’t hurt anyone other than those who had to recover from the shock of the sonic boom.
I felt like the fine for Brian Pattie was also fair considering he is the “crew” chief and his “crew” lost control of their temper – despite his commands of, “Boys, you better follow me.” I understand that crews are insanely loyal and will do anything to stand up for their driver, but that kind of violence can’t be tolerated. Even if no one got hurt, NASCAR was right to address it.
In other words, I thought NASCAR was spot on with the penalties. The right people were punished at the right amount, and no suspensions were given. That’s the way it needs to be. If this is an issue that comes up _again_ with either Gordon or his crew, then suspension will definitely be necessary.
For now, I think the right message was sent.
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