The Glen, Austin, Vickers & Other Randomness

by Jim on August 12, 2013 · 8 comments

You have to hand it to Kyle Busch. The man can flat wheel a car. His victory at Watkins Glen gives him three career NASCAR Sprint Cup victories on road courses. You know, it wouldn’t surprise me if someday he doesn’t surpass Jeff Gordon for all-time victories on the tracks of right and left turns. He’s just that good. He had a small army of challengers on his back, and he held him all off.

Kudos to Brad Keselowski for repressing the temptation to turn Busch. When Keselowski said he didn’t need any more drama, did anyone find Martin Truex’s reaction a bit interesting? I did. You get the feeling there’s still a few drivers who haven’t forgotten some of “Bad” Brad’s habits. If nothing else, it’s like the old days of Earnhardt chasing you down. It wasn’t that this kind of driver would always punt you to get ahead, it was the idea you knew he would do if the spirit moved him. That alone is enough to get some drivers off kilter.

So Austin Dillon get to pilot the ’14′ car this Sunday. Judging from the reactions around the World Wide Web, I had no idea Regan Smith had so many fans! I bet he didn’t either. Per my last post, Dillon wouldn’t have been my choice, but it’s a choice that’s not hard to understand. There’s the tie in with Bass Pro Shops from a sponsorship point of view, let’s face it, Dillon has demonstrated some promise in his limited NASCAR career. Let’s be honest, a lot of this resentment comes from Dillon being the grandson of Richard Childress. A lot of fans would rather see an underdog succeed than royalty. Convincing folks he’s advanced on his own merit will be one of Dillon’s chief challenges. Here’s one thing for sure: he’ll get his chance, and if he isn’t up to it, he won’t last long.

Word has it Michael Waltrip Racing is ready to announce that Brian Vickers will get a full time Cup ride come 2014. He’s earned it. Vickers has made the most of his limited chances, and it’s time for the “driver by committee” approach to cease in the ’55′ car. Is anybody else wondering if this really is the end for Mark Martin? Heck, he could enter his own ride now if he wants to keep going on a limited schedule. It’s not hard to imagine Michael Waltrip will still field his own entry for the restrictor plate tracks.

Back to Watkins Glen- others may still agree, but it’s time to at least put one more date for a road course on the schedule. It doesn’t matter whether or not they add a track like Road America, or maybe even add a second date for Watkins Glen, these days, some of the best racing is happening on road courses.

I can understand Kasey Kahne’s anger at the Glen, but still I have to admit that if I’m Matt Kenseth, I’m not exactly quaking with fear…the race for the Chase plot thickens. I stand by my prediction that Brad Keselowski makes the Chase. I also wouldn’t be shocked if Jeff Gordon doesn’t. A wild card with four wins? That may just be the case for Kenseth as a scuffles a bit. You can’t count out Kurt Busch or Ryan Newman either….good to hear Smoke is home. Racing is not the same without Tony Stewart’s colorful presence. The whispers seem to be getting louder than Stewart may sit out the rest of the year. It’s hard to imagine.

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1 Josie August 13, 2013 at 3:40 am

Say it ain’t so…Dillion! I’m not sure why I feel the way I do..but…being a loyal fan of Stewarts I’ll continue to pull for the 14…I am disappointed it wasn’t Regan though. Could this be alittle SHR payback to RCR for the Harvick move? I guess Dillion was going to drive Cup a few more times this year anyway…if he continues in the 14 I’m sure Childress would rather see SHR equipment get torn up then his own. Plus..maybe hes hoping Dillion will be able to bring some secret “Hendrick/SHR” info over to RCR. Totally wasn’t the same Sunday with Stewart absent…Papis did a nice job..but I kept waiting for that big Stewart run the last 20 laps… I’m with you…I kinda sorta get the feeling Stewarts injury is alittle worse then reported and we won’t see him back on track until Daytona…may God have mercy on his nurses, doctors, and therapists! Ha!!!

2 Vicki August 13, 2013 at 5:14 am

I try to be brutally honest with myself about my prejudices. Yes, I have some resentment toward Austen Dillon, for if ever anyone was born on a golden glide path through life, it seems as if it is the Dillon boys. Plenty of money, hunting trips to Montana, fishing trips on the ocean, the security of knowing each opportunity will be there when the time comes without having to gouge and scratch for the chance. Some people don’t like Jimmie because he wins too much; some people don’t like Danica because they think she didn’t “earn” her ride but neither Jimmie nor Danica started out with everything handed to them on a plate.

On the other hand, I realize that it is just as unfair to scorn someone for the positive circumstances of their lives. Both the Dillons take what they are given and work hard to make something out of it. But, oh, how, much easier that must be when you’ve never known anything but the best.

All in all, I still rather see someone who has had to struggle a bit and overcome some hardships get that chance. Austen Dillon already knows his career is locked in.

3 Jim August 13, 2013 at 5:23 am

@Josie. LOL! Yeah, I can just see Smoke flirting with the nurses, and driving the doctors crazy to try to get the prognosis HE wants! Yeah- NASCAR needs him back as soon as they can get him.

4 Jim August 13, 2013 at 5:25 am

@Vicki- one of the things I appreciate about you is your intellectual honesty. It’s also not hard to appreciate where you’re coming from.

5 Josie August 13, 2013 at 6:51 am

@Vicki..I get how you feel about Dillion..but..can you say “Steven Wallace”? Talk about a kid with a pedigree..all his daddy’s influence, $$$, and expertise didn’t keep him in a ride when his stats weren’t adding up! I think what bugs me about him is that freakin cowboy hat! It’s WAY too much hat for such a small guy…and (even though he may think it does) it doesn’t fit his persona! Ditch the hat..and maybe I could take him alittle more seriously! Ha ..aren’t humans a fickle bunch!

6 Vicki August 13, 2013 at 7:37 am

Oh, yeah, I know. Being a blue/pink collar worker who scrounged most of my life just to get along, I know I have some envy problems with people who seem to have it all right from the git-go. That my problem, not theirs.

I agree about S. Wallace versus the Dillons. I believe they do have the talent to go with the opportunities and probably will both continue to move up the NASCAR ladder.

7 rusty August 13, 2013 at 11:47 am

Josie – GREAT comment about Steven Wallace. Daddy gave him good equipment but his talent level topped out in the ARCA series. He turned into a crash machine in the Nationwide series…I remember watching an interview with him where he, in all seriousness, felt he was ready for Cup racing but he couldn’t get his dad to start a Cup team. Smart move on Rusty’s part.

Dillon’s got the money and family connections to secure his ride, and yes, it’s gotta irk a lot of these other drivers that the kid knew that as long as he performed, he had a Cup ride waiting for him at some point on his Grandfather’s team. One thing you DON’T hear people criticize is the kid’s talent’s clear he can drive, and drive well. He may have had an easier path to the top of the sport than a lot of other guys, but so far he’s got the results to back it up. He does, however, really, really need to lose that cowboy hat.

8 Jim August 13, 2013 at 1:37 pm

@Rusty- I think for me, the deal is the hat just doesn’t go with the fire suit.

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