That’s A Slump? (And Other Crazy Talk)

by Jim on August 25, 2013 · 15 comments

To read some of the headlines, Jimmie Johnson’s quest for six NASCAR Sprint Cup titles is in severe jeopardy. After his woes at Bristol, preceded by maladies at Michigan, the five-time champ is in serious trouble.

Really? Sometimes all you can do is just shake your head at some of the stink some of the writers try to stir. A slump? Ask Brad Keselowski about that. The defending champ has finished worse than 30th FIVE times this season (compared to Johnson’s two), and Kez has ZERO wins. That’s a slump. Two finishes south of 30th and missed chances for wins are rather un-Johnson like, but the man still has four wins on the year and has an 18 point lead on Clint Bowyer (not that it will matter after Richmond.)

I can be as guilty as anyone for “throwing things out there,” but presently, there are a number of headlines that are just plain crazy. There’s also loads of talk that Dale Earnhardt Jr. is in jeopardy of missing the Chase. Yes, he’s has a couple of rough weeks recently- and it doesn’t help that he hasn’t won in 2013- however, keep in mind he’s 29 points to the good of 10th place Joey Logano, having secured 13 top tens- tying him for third in the NSCS with Logano and Bowyer. Is he secure? No. In real danger? That headline can wait going into Richmond. There are a lot of moving parts right now.

How about all the talk about the possibility of Kasey Kahne getting into Matt Kenseth late in the Bristol race? Seriously- how many of you really thought Kahne would do it. I didn’t, because I’ve watched this guy long enough to know that’s not how he races. There’s a few drivers who MIGHT, but Kahne wasn’t one of them. I don’t care what he said about Matt Kenseth’s team- Joe Gibbs Racing. Maybe if it’s Kyle Busch Kahne is up against, it’s different; but I think it’s another case of the media stirring the pot.

It’s like the whole deal with Kevin Harvick and Denny Hamlin. I’m sure if I’m Hamlin, I’m thinking Harvick’s presence in my pit box does seem a little threatening, but I also know we both came out of a messy multi-car wreck, and the truth is on my side. Sometimes, I just think reporters are a little too eager to see conflict where it doesn’t exist. If something really happened down there, THEN that’s a story.

NASCAR isn’t the only one with this problem. Remember when Tiger Woods was left for dead? Oops, jumped the gun on that one. Remember when kicking Brett Favre to the curb for Aaron Rodgers was a big mistake? You see a pattern here.

It’s just silly how things get blown out of proportion. Some people like blowing stuff up..and they’re pretty good at it. Given that, perhaps its easy to understand why Tony Stewart is so grumpy. Personally, I love it when a driver or crew chief, “I couldn’t hear what you said with all the noise, but…..”

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NASCAR Hamlin Foresees Lengthy Recovery | A Healthy Opinion
August 27, 2013 at 6:00 pm


1 Josie August 26, 2013 at 4:05 am

There was so much happening Saturday night on track..seems alittle silly some writers felt they needed to embellish or play “what if” with the outcome. JJ is having some bad racing luck, Kasey stuck to his principals and didn’t wreck Matt, Junior hung in the top ten most of the night…I guess these aren’t headlines! I’m not sure what real journalism is…but since NASCAR is an “entertainment sport” I guess the writers are “entertainment writers”! Now if someone could just explain to me which sports are not considered entertainment….

2 Vicki August 26, 2013 at 5:02 am

Yahoo’s article was titled something like – “Kenseth wins and overtakes Johnson in the points lead.” Well, a little misleading, to say the least. Of course, they meant when the points re-set for the Chase but shouldn’t they wait until after Richmond to write that particular headline? One of the big stories pre-race was Martin in the 14 but then they barely followed it. I don’t know where he finally finished. They talked up Kyle Bush as the King of Bristol before the race. I think they really, really wanted to write that “Sweep” story but, oops. Seems like the drama of the close Chase race, where who is in and who is out changes from week to week, is enough all by itself without creating more that doesn’t really exist.

3 Jim August 26, 2013 at 7:53 am

All I read about is how Matt deserved to be booted by Kahne. Kahne’s issue with Matt boiled down to one of the five or so mistakes Matt has made all year. Matt did not intend to wreck Kasey at Watkins Glen. It just happened when Matt didn’t realize that Ambrose didn’t have any power to sail through the uphill of the S turn section until it was too late to avoid getting into him. Then Matt tried to get off of Ambrose and got into Kasey. Unless someone else watched a different race than I did, there was no malice involved. Matt just made a mistake. Kasey continues to blame Matt for making a mistake but I have seen Kasey make plenty of his own mistakes that cost other drivers as well. Both are great drivers who try to beat you with their abilities. That said, how was Kasey going to do a bump and run without wrecking himself, too? Matt was running about a foot away from the wall so where was Kasey going to go after the bump? This isn’t old Bristol where you could bump someone up the hill and drive right by underneath. I was entertained by some of the best racing I have seen all year by both of those drivers and all this talk about retaliation is just more media crap. Crap they love to lay at Kenseth’s feet since they think he is a good bogeyman for their stories, because they think very few of their readers are fans of his. Media should just report on the great racing for a change.

4 Jim August 26, 2013 at 8:27 am

@Josie- It does all seem a little silly to me. There’s enough REALLY going on without embellishing via the imagination.

5 Jim August 26, 2013 at 8:29 am

@Vicki- you being a Jimmie fan, I think I’d be slighted that they suggest Johnson couldn’t win at Atlanta or Richmond to pull even. Martin was practically invisible to the TV camera. Granted, he was nothing spectacular, but….

6 Jim August 26, 2013 at 8:34 am

@Jim- That’s the way I see it. I don’t think I even see any real lingering resentment from Kahne. Like we’re both saying, Kahne has bigger fish to fry. It seems like a big to do about nothing.

7 Vicki August 26, 2013 at 8:43 am

Jim – Being a Jimmie fan, I stay somewhat slighted! Ha! There’s the constant refrain about Kyle Busch being “arguably the most talented driver is NASCAR”. Really? Shouldn’t you have to win a championship or at least a Daytona 500 to deserve that designation?

There’s the way Sirius listeners have wailed over the years about how the leader in the regular season deserves a BONUS until this years….when it’s been…crickets. Do you suppose it will start up again if someone overtakes JJ in the last two races?

There the way the hosts on the t.v. shows seem to dread giving Jimmie their top driver position. I expect they’ll all be ecstatic to give it over to Matt this week.

If it seems like obsess about this stuff, I really don’t, but it is a low-grade nagging irritation!

8 steven August 26, 2013 at 9:08 am

I have no dog in this fight. lol

9 Josie August 26, 2013 at 10:17 am

Yeah! Kurt to SHR! If Haas can keep Busch from totally going ballistic on his team..and Stewart can keep Harvick and Busch from taking each other out…this should be an awesome combo for SHR! Or…really great reality TV! Either way it makes watching cars go round and round without Stewart on track alittle easier tolerate….hoping he’s 100% for Daytona!!

10 Jim August 26, 2013 at 10:43 am

@Josie- personally- I HATE it; but then the drivers that top the list of who I DON’T root for are all in one place- but wait- be sure you know I respect the talents of all involved, and it’s hard to argue this is a step up for Kurt Busch. It will be real interesting to see how these guys co-exist.

11 Josie August 26, 2013 at 11:28 am

Well we all like different flavor ice cream..kerps things interesting! I don’t care for JJ..Knaus controls that puppet..but I can appreciate the 48′s accomplishments as a team! I’m just hoping after they all get their acts together SHR can give Hendrick and Gibbs a run for their money!

12 Vicki August 26, 2013 at 1:06 pm

Wow, really? That’s interesting, Josie. Tell me a little more about how Chad controls Jimmie. Does he have, like, electrodes embedded under the skin so Chad can tell him when to pass and when to brake and how to control the car when he spins out?

13 Jim August 28, 2013 at 7:49 pm

Vicki – Sorry, but I don’t feel your pain about the crickets surrounding Jimmie Johnson and the Chase bonus point system. Remember that Matt Kenseth won the Cup on points and only got one win in 2003. He wasn’t the first driver to win the Cup with only one win for the season, but he was the first Cup winner to cause a change in the scoring system and the creation of the Chase, in order to prevent guys like him from winning the Cup in the future. I hardly think the media is chomping at the bit to make Matt the next big thing in NASCAR at Jimmie’s expense. Jimmie still gets interviewed after finishing 30 something after Matt’s fifth and arguably best win this season. Jimmie drives for the most powerful garage in the whole world of racing, Hendrick Motorsports. He drives for a sponsor who also runs expensive ads on the TV broadcast of the races. He has the two most popular drivers as his teammates and that translates to heaps of accolades for him. He usually gets twice as many mentions during almost any race than Matt gets. Jimmie may be the greatest NASCAR driver ever (I share that opinion), but the number four driver in a four car garage is the favorite of the fans, not Jimmie. Don’t ask me why drivers like Jimmie and Matt aren’t the fan favorites because Jimmie and Matt are the two best drivers that don’t currently have broken limbs. I do agree with you that having no Chase driver bonus for winning the points title for the first 26 races is stupid. But I am sure you know by now that I think the whole Chase format is stupid.

14 Vicki August 29, 2013 at 4:57 am

Jim – Oh, I don’t really care whether they give the leader a bonus or not. It’s the hypocrisy I’m quarreling about. You either think they should….in every case….or you think they shouldn’t….in every case, not change your mind depending on who the leader happens to be.

As for the Chase, it was a done deal before I came along so its all I’ve ever known. It seems to me the whole cut-off before the Chase scenario adds a lot of interest as far as “who’s in and who’s out” but again, I’ve never known anything else. I did know that about Matt’s championship and I suppose it would have been the same way the year Tony beat Carl based on his wins in the Chase?

As for the media, I think their scenario if they could pick a winner would be Kyle Busch but he always dashes their expectations. Maybe he’ll rise to the occasion this year. It’s not that I think they dislike Jimmie, they just get sick of writing the same story. And, of course, Jimmie and Matt don’t give them much fuel for controversy.

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