Hey, Nobody Asked Me But…

by Patrick Reynolds on October 20, 2009 · 3 comments

I am not counting on Danica Patrick to wow many people in a stock car. Many other open wheel, single cockpit drivers have tried the transfer. Dario Franchitti, Patrick Carpentier and Jacques Villeneuve have resumes and accomplishments that dwarf Danica’s and usually view a NASCAR race from television, not from behind a windshield. Juan Pablo Montoya is a CART champion, an Indy 500 winner and a seven-time Formula 1 race winner including Monte Carlo. After three full seasons with fenders he is finally competitive on a weekly basis. Sam Hornish Jr. has three Indy Racing League championships, is tied for the all-time IRL race win lead, and has also won the Indy 500. Hornish is currently just making it as a stock car driver. Patrick has one IRL race win. People need to pay attention to that. She is a good Indy car driver. She is not a great Indy car driver. That single race win is a big accomplishment. But don’t be looking for her to make the Chase any time soon. Or any time later for that matter either…

Do not blame NASCAR for your local short track closing when there is a Saturday night Cup race. When fans would rather stay home and watch TV than come out to live racing on a Saturday night track operators need to take a long hard look at their race program. Do you have seven or eight classes with less than a dozen cars each? Do you use time trials and start the fastest driver on the pole? If a business’ best option is not to open, but stay closed, then you really need to examine the product you are trying to sell to the public. It is not the fault of a televised Cup race if the crowd is sparse. It is the fault of your own race show…

When people claim to be race fans but Cup is the only thing they really follow, I just don’t get that. There is a lot of good racing out there besides Cup…

When people claim to be race fans and don’t know the difference between NASCAR and Cup, I just don’t get that either…

Back to Danica related content for a moment. If you want a female who is the real deal and can handle a stock car and may be in one of NASCAR’s top touring series in a few years remember this name: Johanna Long. Google her name and study up. She is a Late Model driver out of Pensacola, Florida and has short track legend Freddie Querry as her crew chief. Long is the Blizzard Series champion at Five Flags Speedway and beat some of the best the southeastern region had to offer. Johanna doesn’t have the marketing power of Danica however. Then again who does…?

Some fans were questioning whether Joey Logano was scared after his roll at Dover in September. I think the Nationwide field wishes he was…

Four straight Cup championships would be a phenomenal record. Winning a single title is incredible. Winning a race is huge. Just being chosen for a ride is really big. Statisticians will bring up what Jimmie Johnson has accomplished and what he may be on the verge of accomplishing long after we are all gone. Yet only a small number of fans get excited about his presence. Why is that…?

Standardized start times for Cup races in 2010 are set. It will be interesting to see what the TV ratings will be. The green flag waving later in the day was a big complaint with the race crowd. Now that excuse is gone. We shall see…

I am wondering how many Monday morning quarterbacks will be complaining about something at the upcoming Talladega race that NASCAR should have fixed before it happened. Well the race is a few weeks out. Now is the time for all the crystal ball experts to call the offices in Daytona Beach to tell them what is going to go wrong so they can fix it now…

Auto racing sponsorship is a lagging indicator of the economy. When the economy took a hit, the sponsorship and race team problems were still down the road. When the economy starts to recover, race team sponsorship will also be down the road. Large corporations plan their advertising budgets the previous calendar year. In other words a company’s 2010 sponsorship plans are usually signed off by summer 2009. A stiffer than normal uphill battle is faced by a team without a deal for next year already in place…

Just look at the ledger of a start-and-park team and the plan makes perfect sense. To a racer, the plan breaks my heart…

The Nationwide Series is planning on rolling out their version of a C.O.T. next year. With so many start-and-park cars comprising the tour’s lineup every week I have to wonder how the car count of those C.O.T races will be affected economically…

Fuel injection is coming. The system will help reduce the emissions output of the racecars and the mileage efficiency will improve. Fuel as we know it today will not exist forever. Alternatives are being developed and injection systems will assist in adapting to those future fuels. This evolution is happening in automotive manufacturers and petroleum companies. NASCAR needs to keep up in order to stay healthy in the years to come. This has a ripple effect. On board computers will be required to operate the system and this opens up a wide opportunity for creative thinkers to circumvent rules for an advantage. Restrictor plates will no longer exist. Without carburetors, that method will not work. An educated guess for their replacement will be a specific injection system designed for Daytona and Talladega…

And finally, Sprint Cup double file restarts are not Shootout Style. Like these were invented for the Shootout? Um… no. They have been used all of my life at weekly short tracks. Weekly short tracks are where salt-of-the-earth racers compete. Not for money, but strictly for a passion. Double file restarts are how real racers take the green flag. How about “Double file restarts like-we-should-have-been-doing-all-along style”? Let’s not pretend the Cup Series invents everything.


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{ 3 comments }

1 dawg October 21, 2009 at 7:58 am

I’d hardly categorize myself as a “Crystal Ball Expert” & last time I checked. Operators weren’t standing by in Daytona to take my calls.
One thing I have however, noticed lately. Is fans standing right at the fence while green flag racing is in progress.
As someone who purchased a late ticket for an Indy car race at Milwaukee & ended up in the front row. I know you get a sensation that you don’t get higher in the stands.
Drivers sign on for the risks. Spectators don’t, it’s the promoter’s job to protect them from themselves. Seems like NASCAR could do better.

2 J.J. October 21, 2009 at 2:41 pm

Frankly, I just get the Danica bashing.

The auto racing (not just Nascar) world is littered with minor league (for lack of a better term) champions who never achieved any sort of success in the majors. And then you have the opposite as true, there are winners in the majors who never had any success in the minors, yet they’ve gotten a ride in the big time and proved why they got the ride. There driver’s names who fit both categories.

Will Danica be a winner in stock cars? Nobody knows, but she deserves a shot to find out. She’s no better or no worse then some of names racing in Cup already who seemingly can’t win or finish well and of whom you wonder why they even got the ride in the first place, especially when some “more deserving” driver can’t even get a full-time ride in a lesser series.

Oh, this whole park and ride debate? Not new. Been going on in big time stock car racing as far back as can remember and I worked in the garage area when Donnie Allison drove for the DiGard team. People want to be in the big time, but can’t afford to run a whole race, so they do whatever they can to make the field. Then they park the car, making more money doing that then they could winning in a lesser series–even if they were lucky enough to be competitive.

As long as there is “racing” backmarkers, start n parkers, whatever you want to call them will always be around.

3 J.J. October 21, 2009 at 2:42 pm

Damn. Left out the “don’t in the first sentence.

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