Junior, Leffler, & Other Random Thoughts

by Jim on June 14, 2013 · 4 comments

As this is being written, two Juniors- Martin Truex and Dale Earnhardt- are topping the leaderboard in opening practice. Could this be the weekend two long victory droughts come to an end? Either one would make a great story. I spoke too soon. Now, I see Kahne has raced to the top; there’s another guy expect to see in victory lane again very soon.

Am I the only who’s noticed that when Dale Jr. does post-race interviews these days, he’s making eye contact and not staring at the ground anymore? It’s good to see a man racing with confidence again. It also strikes me how aware of his fans he is. Of course, rare is the driver who has his own “Nation.”

My heart goes out to Charlie Dean Leffler. That first Father’s Day without your dad is a tough one, in my experience. I really hope one of “Left Turn’s” friends from the racing world keeps in touch with Charlie as the years go, and keeps the memories of Jason alive; especially with Charlie so young at the time of his dad’s passing. Jason Leffler’s love for his son was very apparent, and he was a fierce competitor who made the most out of what he had to work with.

Leffler’s passing is a reminder of the risk that comes with racing. May we never take for granted the days all the drivers walk away. It is certainly not a given.

On a happier note, congratulations to Trevor Bayne and his bride. How sweet it is to win the week following your nuptials.

Regarding TNT’s coverage of NASCAR, I’m a bit perplexed that a national network struggles the way they do in the their first broadcast of the season, seemingly almost every year. I don’t think it’s an unreasonable expectation, given the time they have to prepare to have a better presented telecast. Don’t get me wrong, I personally enjoy the commentary of Wally Dallenbach and Kyle Petty; and I also think Adam Alexander is a work in progress in transitioning from pit reporter to play-by-play guy. Because I work in broadcasting for a living, and know what’s involved, I’d like to think of myself one willing to cut a network some slack. I am just disappointed in what seemed like a disjointed and uneven production last Sunday. While it’s nice to have FOX’s carnival act in mothballs, a cleaner performance by TNT would sure be refreshing. Hopefully, they got the bugs worked out and this Sunday will be better. In more than one way, Michigan has to be better than Pocono.

Brad Keselowski’s comments about Hendrick and Gibbs pilfering employees and information away from the Ford teams raises a few eyebrows. If I didn’t know any better, I would swear Bad Brad has been hanging out with Jack Roush. I’ve always found the Cat In The Hat’s conspiratorial fixation with Toyota to look as silly as Mr. Rooney’s fixation with Ferris Bueller. Love ya Brad, but remember, this is a free country. Nobody is holding a gun to anybody’s head and Ford can always pursue Chevy and Toyota people.

Weather looks like it could be a factor this weekend. Here’s hoping wherever you are, you are say and sound, and that you enjoy the racing this weekend.

Until we meet again, have a great weekend, and be safe.

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Dirt Track Digest » Blog Archive » Jason “LEFturn” Leffler
June 17, 2013 at 7:03 pm


1 Leon Emmons June 14, 2013 at 11:55 am

Nice column. Lots of good thought!!!!!

2 Brian Fitzpatrick June 15, 2013 at 4:15 am

200MPH + at Michigan…I’m Lovin’ it….and not just because I’m Irish and the “Boys” are Racin’ in the Irish Hills of Michigan, but because Michigan is a Big (2 mile), wide (5 lanes) Superspeedway with no restrictor plates and plenty of room to Race. By Sunday the rubber will be laid down everywhere so that you will see guys running in different grooves all over the track. Looks to be a great setup for some good racing this weekend. ( I’m so glad they repaved it ).
Now if we could just get a TV Network that would give us a decent Broadcast !!!
I agree completely with you Jim about being glad to see FOX done, but just like you said, TNT has been bogus as heck every year when they take over in the Summer.
As a 5 year member of the NASCAR Fan Council, I have personally been complaining and begging NASCAR to let up on the load of Commercials they keep feeding us week in and week out.
FOX force feed us Commercials at a rate of about 41% of the broadcast ( Out of the 213 minutes of the Show at Dover they had 162 minutes of Race Broadcast and 51 minutes of Commercial Broadcast ) Charlotte was at 38%. And now that TNT has taken over for the Summer, they have taken right up where FOX left off: at Pocono with a 188 minute show they showed 52 minutes of Commercials !!!! with NO Split Screens either… $#@!

I for one am sick and tired of watching “Flo”, “The Gecko” ” “Nationwide is on your Side” “5 dollar foot longs”, etc. etc., commercials all afternoon just to be able to watch a Race. Heck we already have 43 rolling billboards and more splattered all around the Tracks advertising. I know Racing is supported by all the products and they all want to advertise a ton so they can get you to buy their products, but some time enuf is enuf…
And I never thought I’d say this, but I’m saying it NOW :

I’ll pay for a commercial free broadcast….NASCAR TV…

Have a Great Father’s Day tomorrow all of you daddy’s.

3 Jim June 15, 2013 at 9:41 am

@Brian. I, for one, get the conundrum the networks face, because teams don’t call timeouts, or you don’t have the breaks between innings like baseball, so trying to cleverly time a commercial break is tricky. BUT the split screen takes care of it. Did you know the average prime time show has about 18 minutes per hour. Thank goodness for DVR and old show on Roku. All that to say the current of doing things stinks. Some have suggested the idea of intermissions or TV timeouts like the other sports. On the face it, that doesn’t sound like a bad idea, BUT I’m sure there are those who will say “We’ve never done it that way.”

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