Tim Richmond was back with the Blue Max team for 1985, though there had been some friction within the team. A lot of people in the know were saying Tim was a better driver than the equipment he had allowed him to show, while others were beginning to question his commitment and asking if his hard charging lifestyle off the track was detracting from his ability to drive the car. Still, the 1985 season began with high hopes, though almost from the drop of the first green flag those hopes were dashed. No one had anything for Bill Elliott that year at the Daytona 500, and Tim crashed out of the event early winding up 35th. It was just that sort of year. The cars were usually not competitive and Tim either crashed or blew them up trying to wrestle his way to the front. He had only three lead lap finishes to his credit going into the 18th race of that season at Bristol.
To be honest the trend didn’t start this weekend and, in fact, some drivers have been blubbering over how they felt ill-treated after races for a decade. This weekend, however, the drivers doing the most whining both enjoyed decent finishes in cars that were practically pristine. They didn’t crawl out of wrecked, smoking racecars laying on their roof with a 35th place finish.
Mind you I love seeing displays of genuine human emotion from the drivers during and after a race. But I want to hear raised voices, genuine anger, and maybe a little pushing and shoving, if not a flat out fistfight. I don’t want to listen to a pair of drivers sounding like my two youngest sisters squabbling over who had to sit in the puke seat in the Vista Cruiser back in the day.
There’s nothing like a week down the Jersey Shore to refresh an aging soul. Yeah, it was quite hot here in the Northeast while I was away, but generally along the shoreline it was pretty comfortable and if it got a bit hot there were always cans of liquid air conditioning at hand. The sand, the sea, the breezes and girls in their summer clothes. I had to come home, but I know I’ll be back next year and every year after that until I am too old and decrepit to carry a rolled up rice mat and a six pack cooler to the waterline.
It wasn’t that many years ago (OK, it was a few) the annual trek east to the Shore involved a complete disconnect from NASCAR and related news. Nowadays, everybody (except me) has some sort of portable digital device that retrieves information from the web with the alacrity of a Golden Retriever puppy sent after a tennis ball. Thus I was able to keep up with what was going on though whether that’s a blessing or a curse I don’t know.
The recent Kentucky mess was preventable. The reaction to it was initially far too unrepentant. The blame game that followed it was unseemly. But NASCAR’s apparent attitude towards the whole thing now takes the cake.
Look for Brian France’s response to Bruton Smith’s bold answer to being asked if he would consider a refund for jilted fans: “We don’t want to.” Or more correctly, the lack of response. If France has commented on that in any way, I can’t find it in searches. But the proper response should have been to immediately get in touch with Bruton and let him know that he will be relieved from future post-PR-disaster press conferences.
Did anyone at the highest echelon of NASCAR leadership at least think that that might not have been the best thing to say after thousands of people sat for as long as ten hours in Kentucky heat to miss a race? Presumably not.
A majority of the articles focused on NASCAR this week will deal with the traffic situation prior to and after Kentucky’s inaugural Cup event and well they should. It was an unmitigated disaster of epic proportions. I wrote about it in my race recap at length and doubtless other Frontrstretch staffers will take up the topic this week. (I’m writing this Sunday night…it’ll be a few days before you see it.) We are after all a fan based Web site rather than a corporate based or sponsor based website like so many others. If it’s a bad deal for the fans that’s what we cover.
_Editor’s Note: Wednesday, July 13th marks eighteen years to the day NASCAR lost a shining light, Davey Allison passing away shortly after crashing his helicopter at Talladega Superspeedway. Matt McLaughlin looks back on the man who became the centerpiece of a famous racing bloodline, the Alabama Gang, in this two-part series, a driver who positioned himself to be the next great superstar before unexpected tragedy struck and took a life far too soon._
If there was ever a child born to be a race car driver, it was Davey Allison. If there was ever a race car driver who never forgot his roots, always taking a few moments to sign an autograph, answer a question or smile for a photo with a fan, it was Davey Allison.
And if there was ever a hero of the sport who left us too soon, it was Davey Allison.
Well, it’s been a few years since a new track was added to the schedule but this weekend Kentucky gets added to the slate of Cup dates. Naturally I wish those in charge well in their endeavor while accepting the fact there’s likely to be a few glitches as the initial foray into the big leagues begins. They’ve sold out the track, a notable accomplishment these days, but the big question is how many of fans on hand will be back for next year’s race. It’s a bit late to be offering advice to Kentucky management but I present the following both as a reminder to them and as a refresher to the management at other tracks.
Anyway, I was scanning through several NASCAR articles on Jayski this week, and the impression that I’m getting is that NASCAR is still attempting to make fixes to a sport that I think even they would admit by now has veered off course in the past decade.
After reading about the “wide open” coverage of the Daytona night race coming this weekend from TNT, I got to thinking about how long NASCAR has been wrestling with the problem of too much live action being missed to all-too-frequent commercial breaks. At least, I like to think NASCAR has been wrestling with the problem. And I hope they don’t get mad at my using “NASCAR” and “wrestling” in the same sentence.
I haven’t done one of these trivia quizzes since back in the days of Speedworld.com, but I figured it was about time to do it again. Below are 50 questions all based on NASCAR history, many of them fairly simple, but a few diabolically complex. It’s meant to test your knowledge of NASCAR’s rich and colorful history not make you feel dumb. Eventually I will post the answers here in a future column so perhaps those interested can learn a little more about NASCAR history. I learned this stuff myself as a newer fan sitting beside the railbirds who shared their knowledge with me.
Imagine taking Pocono’s two traditional 500 mile races and turning them into a pair of two two hundred mile races run on the same day. Is it time given the realities of stock car racing today?
I proposed this idea last year in the Pocono race recap I wrote. Some people immediately accused me of hypocrisy because I have long defended the epic 500 mile length of the Pocono events. I can’t tell you if I’ve been to more races at Dover or Pocono, but growing up in these parts they were the two closest tracks and I’ve been to a ton of events at both tracks, and had a ball I might add. 500 miles at Pocono never bothered me back in the days the likes of Dale Earnhardt, Bill Elliott, Harry Gant, Tim Richmond and Davey Allison were out there racing each other like every lap was the last lap.