Q: When NASCAR spent those years designing this new car, did they ever think to test tires, too? It designs a car that weighs more, has a higher center of gravity, and a front end that won’t turn…and it didn’t stop to consider that it just might need to go to a different tire? Maybe a bigger tire? Maybe something different than is appropriate for the Nationwide cars? Seems as if Goodyear got put in a bad spot here, caught between the drivers and NASCAR.
In light of recent developments, which included Tony Raines and Kenny Wallace both moving to lesser-funded, single-car operations, is it better for series veterans to sit out completely, waiting for the right opportunity that will get them a competitive ride? Or should they take any ride offered to them, hoping against hope that the underdog will, in fact, triumph?
10. A Roush Fenway internal memo titled “How To Get Into And Stay In The Top 35” in Michael Waltrip’s back pocket.
One of the biggest U.S. motorsports stories of the last two decades occurred late last month, with the announcement that the Indy Racing League (IRL) and the Champ Car Word Series (CCWS) had agreed to merge. The news, however, garnered little more than a cursory nod from the stock car community which seems reluctant to even acknowledge that there is another form of racing in this country, let alone one that outshined NASCAR for many years back in the day. But if the newly invigorated IRL plays its cards right, auto racing enthusiasts will begin, en masse, to pay attention once again towards an open-wheel series based in the United States. Of course, the key for the IRL in rebuilding the series to prominence in large part will be to pattern themselves after their brethren in American auto racing, NASCAR.
While Sprint Cup and Craftsman Truck teams were home this Easter weekend — spending quality time with family and catching up on March Madness — the Nationwide Series spent Saturday afternoon roaring around Nashville Superspeedway, the series’ sixth stop this season. While this column is normally reserved for discussing the trends of the hottest and coldest teams in Sprint Cup, on this off week we’ll take a quick look at what’s going on in the other series; and considering who’s raced most recently, Nationwide plays a prominent role in the column to come. Come in and see who else is sharing that fire in this week’s edition of Who’s Hot/Who’s Not. At this point, we take a look at which non-Buschwackers, or Nationwhackers, or Insurance Adjusters, or whatever they’re called now, in NASCAR’s other two premier series.
Probably the best thing about racing television coverage over the Easter weekend, in my humble opinion, was the introduction of “NASCAR Confidential” by SPEED on Sunday evening. This was a fresh look at the 2008 Daytona 500, with some insights from some interesting people, including legendary photographer Warren T. Taylor. Taylor hasn’t missed a Great American Race, and he’s one of the truly unique characters in the sport that’s come up through the years. For my part, I also enjoyed Jay Howard’s explanation of the pre-race show presentation. Anybody who has ever helped try to choreograph a pre-event show from anywhere, including the local track level, has to have wondered what it must be like in a situation like that.
1) Takes One To Know One! – Megastar comedian and TV personality Jeff Foxworthy talked NASCAR in a CNN interview this week, attempting to persuade host Glenn Beck that instead of taking in a race at Daytona, he would be better served going to Talladega, Ala. for his stock car racing experience. In fact, Foxworthy claimed that five minutes in the Talladega infield on race day gives him about two hours of standup material. How would he know? The folksy Foxworthy was actually the Grand Marshal of last April’s Aaron’s 499 at the superspeedway. The Georgia native described the infield scene for that race as “wild,” and anointed the NASCAR enthusiasts that habitat that area of the track as “Redneck Royalty.”
As everyone watching saw last Sunday, there was a marked difference in Tony Stewart’s post-race demeanor between Atlanta and Bristol. After being dumped by Kevin Harvick at Bristol, which relegated him to a 14th-place finish in a race he dominated for most of the day, Stewart said as little as possible; a few sentences sarcastically taking the blame for the incident, and he was out of there. There probably wasn’t anything he could say on television that described how he felt, but the fact that Harvick and Stewart are good friends had to be even more conflicting. What can you say after being punted by someone who is going to wax your back in two days?
I’m definitely feeling a lot better about our performance in the No. 00 Aaron’s Dream Machine so far in 2008, especially compared to where we were at this time last year. Michael Waltrip Racing as a whole has made a lot of changes in the off-season and we are a different team this year, and it shows. I can’t begin to tell you how much easier it is for me to be locked in the Top 35 in points, it makes for a much calmer Friday afternoon.
Well folks, it’s that time of year again! It’s time to get creative and dye those Easter eggs! For all you hardcore NASCAR fans, I hope this week’s column will give you a few ideas on where to hide all those eggs that you actually put racecar numbers on. (Don’t be ashamed, everyone does it. It’s just that no one talks that much about it!) Plus, it’s a great way to familiarize all the young’uns with the current drivers and their sponsors. Going a step further, if you get those little tykes (and the grownups, too) reasoning out where they’re most likely to find, say, the No. 26 Crown Royal egg, you’re creating not only a fan, but a more intelligent fan at that!