NASCAR statistics claim that there were 16 passes for the lead at Texas on Sunday. 16? Was I daydreaming about black Pontiacs with birds on the hood and V-Twin motorcycles in springtime when all these alleged passes took place? Had in fact drifted off for a nap, as I felt I might during the entire second half of the race, as Carl Edwards put a hurting on the field? To check, I fired up the DVR, armed with NASCAR statistics as to when these 16 passes for the lead took place. I went back and reviewed the entire race–Here’s what I found.
How many times did your mother tell you to treat people the way you want to be treated? You probably laughed and stuffed your little brother in the laundry chute anyway. Maybe you went outside to play in the yard a few days later, and stepped right where the same brother walked the family dog after a particularly large dinner. Ever see something like this happen to our favorite driver? He gets a little rough with some guy and runs over debris a few laps later, popping a tire and losing a lap fixing it. Maybe he gets caught with some “creative engineering” and spins out in qualifying two weeks later. You sometimes have to wonder if greater forces are at work.
One of the biggest things that made NASCAR better “back in the day”, say, over the last 30 yrs, is ONE MAN. Dale Earnhardt Sr.
The 2000 edition of the Great American Race wasn’t very good, but come 2001 NASCAR thought they’d developed a solution to ensure good racing at Daytona. A small spoiler called the “taxicab strip” was added to the roof of the Cup cars; NASCAR officials hoped the cars would punch a bigger hole in the air with the strip, allowing for more passing despite the restrictor plates. Whether the strip actually made for better racing is highly debatable; what was of greater importance was how drivers quickly reported the strips made the closing rate on a car ahead frighteningly fast. That led to some dangerous and ultimately tragic racing that unforgettable February afternoon.
The 2007 NASCAR season has come and gone. At this time of year when people reflect back on the blessings that have been bestowed on them over the year, that makes it a good time to take a long look back, realizing there is much that is good about NASCAR and that we should count our blessings. With that in mind, here’s a few things I find myself thankful for before taking off for a bit of offseason hibernation…
As the checkered flag flew Sunday at Loudon, 43 drivers crossed underneath the start/finish line, a simple act which in itself made history. It’s the first time ever in NASCAR’s modern era that all participants in a 43-car starting field have finished a race. Sure, the sport’s had other events where no cars have dropped out (a 37-car race in North Wilkesboro is one such example, from 1996) but nothing compared to this race, one that felt, well, different.
Dale, a CMT Films/NASCAR Images joint, is a poignant, and surprisingly introspective, look at the life and career of Dale Earnhardt. And make no mistake, this is no 3. For all that ESPN does well (read: all-things-baseball, World Series of Poker, 25-straight hours of college football coverage) they can’t produce a made-for-TV-movie any better than I can sit through Sense and Sensibility with the aforementioned female.
Sponsors spend a ton of money getting their name and logos painted onto cars in the Nextel Cup series. Some of them pay more than $30 million, in fact, just to spend a full season on the hood of a top-flight team. However, it appears as though some people in the garage area feel as though that large amount of cash is purchasing more than paint on a car, or perhaps a simple sponsor appearance at a national office. No, that type of money appears to take a team one step further – to the point of purchasing favoritism from the ones who make the calls in NASCAR each weekend. Sound a little crazy to you? It doesn’t to Jack Roush, the legendary NASCAR car owner who had no problem raising such concerns on live television last weekend.
It’s been an interesting summer for a race fan. The world tilted on its axis when Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced he was leaving Dale Earnhardt Incorporated and practically jumped out of orbit and headed for the Sun when he announced he was going to Hendrick Motorsports; a decision that for many fans was akin to Luke Skywalker saying, “Sure, Darth-I mean Dad, I’ll join the dark side. The good guys aren’t really much fun.” In some respects the point standings look like they did 10 years ago, with Jeff Gordon running away with the lead. The cast of characters in the rest of the top 10 has changed significantly-only Jeff Burton was even in the Nextel Cup Series then.
Robert Yates Racing, and the team’s talented young driver Davey Allison made their official debut at the 1989 Daytona 500. Things got off to an inauspicious start. Davey was running well when Geoff Bodine got into his rear bumper and sent the 28 car spinning.