A rookie phenom’s “potential for success” has an ephemeral quality with a fragile will-o-the-wisp consistency. Yes, it could happen and the budding star might become one of the greatest of them all but those cases are, for obvious reasons, rare. Sometimes it does happen as scripted and a kid comes from nowhere to become first a star, then a legend, and finally an icon. More often than not, early promise burns out – snuffed out by a combination of being pushed too fast too early and unrealistic expectations generated by too much hype. It’s too early to tell on which side of the equation Joey Logano will ultimately fall. But on the ridiculously small sample of one race weekend, you have to like the teenager from Middletown, Conn., who has all the right pieces and parts to make the transition from over-hyped teen to full-fledged NASCAR star.
Q: How about my boy Kyle Busch? Not only is he dominating on the track, but he’s become NASCAR’s bad boy. Am I wrong to think that his driving style and persona are more like Dale Earnhardt’s than even the Intimidator’s son and fellow 2007 free agent Dale Earnhardt Jr.?
1. Are They Baaack? – Television ratings for NASCAR have seen resurgence this race season after experiencing at least two years of declines. The Memorial Day weekend Coca-Cola 600 tallied a 4% boost over last season’s telecast, and posted the first increase in viewer numbers in three years. But the 4% improvement, though noteworthy, is less than the 5% increase that FOX TV has seen in its race broadcasts for the season to date.
I might as well write a template for the Nationwide Series Breakdown. Saturday, Joe Gibbs Racing dominated the NASCAR Nationwide Series X (Heluva Good! 200). Driver X (Denny Hamlin) smoked the field, leading X (131) of X laps (200). Joe Gibbs Racing has now won X (nine) of X (14) races in the Nationwide Series this season.
Richmond was a big disappointment for me. We went there with high hopes. We had leased a Hendrick motor and we had qualified the best we qualified this year, in 21st. I think that was a big improvement for our Jay Robinson Racing team. When we started the race we were way, way too tight. I have no idea how the car got so tight. It was tight in practice; I just don’t think we got it quite as good as we needed to. Then we had a drive shaft that broke. I don’t know what happened, but the weights flew off it. We had to go behind the wall because it was vibrating so badly. We got back out and actually got the car freed up and running a lot better. Still, it was a huge disappointment because we had a lot of high hopes.
Today’s Question: Joey Logano makes his long-anticipated debut in the Nationwide Series this weekend, just one week after he turned 18. Is he being brought up too fast, too soon, or is this kid being rewarded for his unprecedented success in the lower ranks — with the knowledge he can handle the pressure?
The Coca-Cola 600 produced long green-flag runs, tire and fuel strategy, and 17 on-track green-flag passes for the lead. Why was it so much better then the rest of the races on the cookie-cutter tracks this year?
Did You Notice? All the talk about Nationwide Series teams looking to pull out of the series with the advent of the Car of Tomorrow? Well, it goes far beyond whether or not car owners will be able to afford the new car; frankly, the purse money for the series isn’t proving a justifiable reward for a struggling owner to stay involved.
Though he failed to overwhelm the CARQUEST 300 field as he has in so many other races this season, Kyle Busch was the class of the field again at Lowe’s Motor Speedway.
Though he’s a bit more polished than the rough around the edges kid he once was, Dale Earnhardt Jr. is still struggling to get this politically correct thing down. Occasionally, he’ll still drop an unanticipated bombshell that will send NASCAR officials scrambling to their shelters — and this week in Charlotte, Earnhardt delivered another one of those off-the-cuff set of remarks that ought to cause a lot of concern.