Friday, October 5, 2007

Back to the Grind

Note: This was originally posted on April 12, 2007.

A lot has happened in the last 2 weeks since Martinsville. I enjoyed watching the Busch race last weekend at Nashville. That's one of the tracks I wish they still raced in the Cup Series. Personally, I'd rather see North Wilkesboro and Rockingham back on the circuit than California or Kansas or even Chicago. It's not that I don't like the newer tracks, I just like the old ones better. If Nascar drops Darlington's remaining date, I'll probably not even follow Nascar anymore. Nascar grew up on shorter tracks, and 1.5 milers suddenly abound, but the short tracks are where it's at, as far as I'm concerned. Atlanta is a great 1.5 mile track, but I'm beginning to think that it's going to be years before we see great racing at Charlotte again.

Texas is another great 1.5 mile track. In it's short history, there has never been a single repeat winner in the Cup Series. It's a good track for a first time winner, it seems. Most likely first time Cup winner Sunday? I'm guessing maybe Clint Bowyer or Martin Truex Jr. Both drivers have been knocking on the door for a while, and I'm guessing that Sunday might be a day remembered forever for one of these drivers.

Michael Waltrip's woes continue, and I'm sure everyone who's reading this has read all that has been said already. I'm not going to comment on this at this time, because we just don't know all the facts yet. Needless to say, this is another very untimely incident for Michael. I'm actually starting to feel sorry for him. This poor guy hasn't made a race since Daytona, and he got penalized 100 points then, so he's still in the hole on points. Michael Waltrip isn't the official spokesman for Toyota in Nextel Cup, but he's got by far the biggest mouth, and I don't envy him one bit the mountain he has to climb to make his team a serious contender for Toyota.

Last weekend's Busch race seemed in someways to be a repeat of a bad dream. Can Johnny Sauter drive a full race without hitting half the other drivers on the track? I hate to pick on him, but it seems like he's been involved in about 75% of the crashes in the Busch series this year. Sauter is also driving a full Cup series this year, and he's usually one of those cars that seldom mentioned, unless he crashes, but his driving in the Busch Series makes me wonder if he needs anger management or driving lessons. I'm sorry, but wrecking 3-5 drivers a race just isn't pretty.

They supposedly fixed the infamous dip at Texas at Dale Jr.'s request. I think Jr. is embarrassed about that, because his name got attached to that whole deal, but I'm sure he's not the only driver that's complained about it. Dale Jr. carries some pretty serious horsepower though, as Nascar's most popular driver. His dad would be proud, because if he were still alive and made a comment about that dip, I'm pretty sure they would have jumped right on that ASAP. Love him or hate him, Dale Jr's first win in the Cup Series came at Texas in his rookie year in 2000. I'd say the man knows what he's talking about.

Staying on a Dale Jr. theme, I have to say that not only is Dale Jr. the most popular driver on the web polls, (see this site to vote for your MPD ) But literally every weekend there is a virtual sea of red at every racetrack. It's almost impossible to deny that Dale Jr. drives not only his red Budweiser Chevy, but he basically is driving Nascar and their fans to the next level, which would be the most watched sport in the USA. What exactly is Jr.'s appeal? Is it his famous name? Is it his homespun wit and humor? I don't know. I don't know. All I know is that it takes a hardend Jeff Gordon fan to hate Dale Jr. Invariably, when I read the message boards, the only negative comments I see about Dale Jr. are by people who can be positively identified as Gordon fans. Jeff Gordon has won a lot more races and multiple championships in his career, but the tide seems to be turning toward Dale Earnhardt Jr.

That's about all I have today. I hope you all have a happy and safe race weekend, and I hope that you all get the results that you would like from Sunday's race.

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