It was one of those no-brainers. As soon as we got the official word that the Cup Series would feature “Shootout Style” double-file restarts, everyone realized that it would liven up the racing. Sure, the whole wave around for the lap down cars created some confusion, but all-in-all, every restart was exciting. There was side by side and three-wide racing for about 10 laps before the field would eventually string out over VERY long green-flag runs. It was cool to see the new rule go into effect at a track with a frontstretch as wide as Pocono’s, but the thought of doubling up cars at Martinsville or Bristol sounds even more entertaining.
This week the Most Unloved award goes not to a driver, because there were few incidents, and nobody got stupid on pit road. So this week, the award goes to Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s pit sign, which is obviously not big enough, bright enough or otherwise visible enough. Perhaps the No. 88 needs to make a pit-sign swap with the No. 5 team, since their sign stopped Mark Martin every time. At the very least, the slacker sign should be fired and replaced with someone who can do the job. Like maybe a billboard. With neon.
Being the Official Columnist of NASCAR is not an easy job. It’s not a matter of simply handing over a few million to NASCAR, as with most “official” entities. It takes effort. Column topics must be selected with care, as opposed to just hitting the escape key and writing something about Junior when news is dull. A thoughtful angle that no one else has observed should be provided. A position has to be taken on racing issues of the day.
OK, that’s B.S. This job is fun and the difficulty level is in stark contrast with my salary of untold millions.
Still, while my “official” title is self-proclaimed, it does carry certain responsibilities, and among them is one that I have long tried to avoid. And that is deciding upon and sharing who I think are the best drivers in the sport today. There isn’t any right answer. No matter who I put in my list here, someone will take issue with some or all of it. That’s okay; that’s great in fact, because maybe in a discussion I could learn some things that I didn’t know.
Over the last couple of weeks, ever since the rumors started flying about the demise of Tony Eury Jr. as Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s crew chief, the ‘media’ has reported several times, in various ways, that “studies have shown that when Jr. isn’t running well, NASCAR’s ratings are down.” NASCAR of course, actually likes to hear …
10. Give Dale Earnhardt Jr. more responsibility, like washing his own firesuit post-race.
When Neil Armstrong became the first man to set foot on the Moon on July 21, 1969 he uttered the now famous phrase: “That’s one small step for man, one giant leap for mankind.” Now, it’s a quote that can easily be applied to Dale Earnhardt Jr. following Sunday’s Autism Speaks 400 at the Monster …
Each week, we’ll go through media reports, interviews, PR and all of our own stuff to find the best quotes from the Sprint Cup race, capturing the story of how the weekend unfolded. It’s the most original commentary you’ll ever find: the truth, coming straight out of the mouths of the drivers, crew members and car owners themselves. This week, here’s a peek at what the drivers were thinking following the Autism Speaks 400 in Dover, Delaware Sunday.
Coming up on two laps left to race, Jimmie Johnson powered around the outside of Tony Stewart to retake the lead.
A driver who quietly had an outstanding weekend, Casey Mears had a strong finish at a difficult track. After hovering near the top 10 on the speed charts since Friday, Mears brought it home in ninth, the highest finishing position in the Richard Childress Racing stable. Though a mid-pack driver most of this season, Mears has had his strongest runs at two of the series’ most demanding tracks, Richmond and now Dover. A lot of teams would have been happy with the run Mears had this week.
Author’s Note: My advertised column on conspiracy theories and NASCAR will run next week. I felt that the Dale Earnhardt Jr. situation warranted some comment this week. But not to fear, The Roswell 500 will run next week. The announcement that much of NASCAR Nation has been waiting for with bated breath came Thursday: Earnhardt …