Home / Voice Of Vito (page 10)

Voice Of Vito

Texas Race a Snapshot of What Could Have Been For Many Drivers in 2009

As the Boeing B-52 Stratofortress whistled over the grandstands during the flyover at Texas Motor Speedway this Sunday, I felt the same warm and fuzzy feeling I did as the season began nine months ago in Daytona Beach, Florida. Maybe that’s just because I’m the son of an H-model mechanic and a sucker for Cold War airpower. Bearing witness to the majestic instrument of what once was Strategic Air Command – the most ominous military enterprise ever assembled – with Veteran’s Day just around the corner, coupled with the 20th anniversary of the Berlin Wall coming down, I had ample reason to feel a swelling of pride and a tickle of the adrenal glands. For while celebrating the humiliating defeat of communism, as well as honoring those lost in yet another tragic event on our soil days earlier at Ft. Hood, the sights and sounds of the pre-race ceremony helped honor and recognize the events of the previous 60 years.Along those same lines, the Dickies 500 at Texas Motor Speedway this past weekend in some way served as a microcosm for the entire 2009 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.

Read More »

Talladega Troubles Self-Imposed By NASCAR

Three days following this past Sunday’s most recent unmitigated disaster at Talladega, most of the pundits have by now offered their assessment of what transpired over the weekend. Some dismissed it as just another plate race, others say it is nothing we haven’t seen before, and some are content to brush it off using the most convenient cop-out in our lexicon these days: “It is what it is.”Having had a chance to let these heightened emotions settle and my elevated Italian blood pressure subside, I’ve had a chance to read all of the quotes, review the race again, and have reached my own conclusion:Things have gotten way out of frigging control.

Read More »

Johnson’s Fourth Title In Striking Distance, Yet Talladega Remains a Game Changer

In last Wednesday's edition of "_The Voice of Vito_,":https://frontstretch.com/vpugliese/28038/ I stated my grievance with the media at large for celebrating the coronation of Jimmie Johnson as the 2009 Sprint Cup Champion following his third straight Chase victory at Lowe’s Motor Speedway. I did my best to channel the spirit of Dennis Green and his well-known “If you’re going to crown them, then crown their ass!” rant while coach of the Phoenix Cardinals. With righteous indignation, I dismissed the stories and articles that were celebrating Johnson’s fourth straight championship before even half of the races had been run as being lazy and irresponsible. So, what happened?Right, Jimmie Johnson made me look like an idiot. Dominating Martinsville, he led 164 of the first 362 laps before finishing second to Denny Hamlin at the very end. At least he had the decency to not win and completely embarrass me.

Read More »

Media Crowning Johnson Champion Halfway Through Chase Lazy and Irresponsible

My uncle owns and operates an industrial lighting company, and has an interesting way of motivating people. Whenever they express the futility of the task at hand, he comes back and says, “You should probably just give up and quit, man. It’s too hard.”Somehow, I think the rest of the media does not have that reverse psychology or that air of thinly veiled sarcasm in mind when they repeatedly state that the championship Chase has all but been decided, and that the final five races – half of the playoffs – are all but a formality for the No. 48 team of Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus.

Read More »

Danica Patrick, NASCAR, and IndyCar: Motorsports’ Torrid Love Triangle Heats Up

Ah, the torrid love triangle. It is the thing of tawdry soap operas, trashy romance novels, and maybe even the topic of water cooler conversation involving your co-workers. Now, coming to a racetrack near you, it is the recurring theme and headline of many a motorsports article. This one is no different, for even I have succumbed to the drama gripping the two top series in American racing.No doubt, the trio has made one heck of a movie trailer this year: "Danica Patrick, the IndyCar Series, and NASCAR." Coming soon to a theater near you, it's the all-consuming romance that threatens to tear each racing series apart.

Read More »

It’s About Time – NASCAR Reverting Back To Sane Start Times For 2010

After much speculation, an announcement was made Wednesday confirming that in 2010, NASCAR would enforce uniform starting times for Sprint Cup Series races throughout the 36-race schedule. Following years of carping, the voices of many NASCAR fans have finally been heard and their wishes heeded, with race start times achieving …

Read More »

Not In The Chase? You’re Far From A Second-Class Citizen

When the call came down from race control Sunday at Kansas Speedway for Brad Keselowski to be mindful of how he was racing against the Chase competitors, it was as if somebody took a jack handle to a hornet’s nest. More than a few NASCAR fans were up in arms over this admonishment from the race stewards to the non-Chase driver after getting an eyeful of the bright red No. 42 Target Chevrolet -- and nearly paying the price. Juan Pablo Montoya initially passed Keselowski through Turns 3 and 4, but the two got a little close in the process and made contact, leaving a donut on the side of Montoya's car and a warning landing smack in the rookie's lap. _Is this is what it’s come finally to,_ you may be asking yourself right now, _NASCAR dictating who is allowed to race and who isn’t?__If you aren’t a Chaser, you might as well not even be out there, right?_Not so fast.

Read More »

Overlooking The Obvious: Media Largely Ignoring Compelling Chase Stories, Handing Johnson Title Prematurely

Is there be a more fickle sport than NASCAR?One moment you are an up and coming driver, brimming with a burgeoning career, celebrated by fans both young and old. Then either as a victim of your own success or by making contact with someone more popular, you draw the ire of the grandstands, receiving the type of greeting one expects will await Roman Polanski upon his impending return stateside.While the inverse of that can also be true (witness Darrell Waltrip and to some extent, Dale Earnhardt, Sr.), the flavor of the month syndrome seems to have hit home hardest during the 2009 Chase for the Championship. The 10-race playoff format, whose detractors are rivaled only in their number and intense sincerity by those who oppose government-dictated healthcare, have already turned a deaf ear and a blind eye to the hoopla of hype circulating throughout NASCAR the past few weeks.Considering how the Chase has been portrayed by many in the media the last few days, it would be for good reason, too.

Read More »

Strong Chase Starts Not Always A Recipe For Championship Success

Following his fifth win of the season at Loudon this past Sunday, Mark Martin was sure he was dreaming. He had just won a race on one of the five tracks he had yet to score a victory on in the Sprint Cup Series, firing the first round in the 10-race Chase most never thought he'd be a part of again, much less lead the standings heading into Dover this weekend. In three prior playoff appearances, his best finish was a seventh in 2005, so this would surely help get things rolling towards that title that has eluded him in three different decades, right?“It’s a great way to start, but it’s one of 10, and it ain’t that big of a deal …”Ah, _there_ he is. The old Mark Martin...

Read More »

What’s Vexing Vito: Life Beyond The Chase – Putting Things In Perspective for The Other 31 Drivers

Now that the 2009 Chase for the Sprint Cup is upon us, the usual band of detractors have come out of the woodwork, citing a few familiar reasons why they don’t like The Chase format. I will be the first to admit, I think the format for determining the Sprint …

Read More »