Five Questions After First Five Races

Time to spin off Joe Menzer’s ( March 18 column in which he discusses “five things we’ve learned from the first five races”. My approach is “five questions we have after the first five races.”

Q1: It wasn’t a case of “if” Toyota would win — it was a case of “when”! And right out of the box we saw that Toyota could win. Here’s the question, though: Okay, we know JGR is the hot spot for Toyota but will any other Toyota team win a Sprint Cup race this year? And, for a related question, will any other Ford team win a race other than a Roush team?

Q2: Why can Mike Skinner make a race on speed while A.J. Allmendinger driving the same car (#84) can’t? Wait a minute — if you look at the three races in which drivers qualified on speed (or raced in for the Daytona 500), AJ was faster than several other cars but wasn’t in the top 35 in points from last year so he went home early! The real question? — When is NASCAR going to scrap an antiquated “franchising” qualifying system?

Q3: This one’s philosophical: Why did Roger Penske seem to feel that the only way Sam Hornish, Jr. would make the first five races was to give him Kurt Busch’s points from last year while Kyle Petty didn’t seem to feel he needed to take Bobby Labonte’s points in order to keep racing after this year’s fifth race? Remember, Kyle’s sitting in the 40th position while Hornish has blown the early points position and presently sits in the 35th position.

Q4: This one has no answer! How can the penalty system be fixed so that situations where one driver walks away without a “hit” while a second (or third or fourth) gets “hit” for the same infraction? Count them up — only through five races and the cash register drawer for penalties is already about full!

Q5: Okay — this will steam some fans: Is Earnhardt Jr. for real or are #24 and #48 sandbagging? On a related note, where are the Chip Ganassi Racing drivers?

What have you learned from the first five races?

These are my views from here.


NASCAR Never Met a Penalty It Didn’t Love!

First of all, I hate cheaters just as much as the next person — whether it be racing, baseball (read steroids), or politics. But we have a philosophy in the U.S. that says that one is innocent until proven guilty. But, that’s not how NASCAR sees it. In NASCAR’s eyes, if something is amiss with your car, you obviously are a cheater and must be penalized.

Look at the obvious situations so far this year. Robby Gordon switches from Chevy to Dodge and receives a front nose for his Charger — but it isn’t the approved new Charger nose, which is currently undergoing NASCAR approval. Forget that R. Gordon didn’t realize it was the wrong part, forget that someone outside his team supplied the part, and forget that it was discovered in opening day inspection and thus the car was never run with the wrong nose. NASCAR simply says — “black is black and white is white, and that’s all there is to it!”

And now NASCAR discovers in the post-race inspection at Las Vegas that Carl Edwards did not have a lid on the oil reservoir encasement (or oil tank box). Five cars in the Nationwide series had loose lids on the oil reservoir encasement (and subsequently, the National Stock Car Racing Commission rescinded the penalties assessed to David Stremme, his crew chief, and car owner Rusty Wallace). But the appeal had to take place because NASCAR only sees “black and white”. Keep in mind that these “offenses” are not even close to being compared with last year’s penalties of Earnhardt Jr. (mounting rear-wing brackets illegally) and J. Gordon and J. Johnson (altering fenders). Those were overt modifications to gain a competitive advantage.

Despite all the technical expertise in NASCAR’s operations, the Big Boys simply don’t want to exercise any professional discretion; otherwise, everyone will be shouting “foul!” That’s the easy way out, NASCAR. For goodness sake, let’s not have cheaters — but everyone’s been guilty of an honest mistake!!

That’s my view from here.



What is it about the Western Show? Despite the hawking of the Hollywood Hotel, I just found this race boring (but hey Arizona and UCLA had a nice last few minutes).

While several drivers showed skillful, almost dirt track like abilities to control their COWs (that’s Car(s) of Wonder for all the uninitiated), the track appears to need reworking. I believe the over 30 wrecks this past weekend would seem to justify that thought.

Also while I am on the western kick, wonder how many clams were spent hauling yourself out to Vegas only not to make the show.Yikes! While I am a big boy capitalist unafraid of competition, this does seems to be an inefficient model.

I propose that NASCAR give those who don’t make the show a complementary 25 points. Hey, after all it is Vegas.

That’s the view from here


BTW: Anyone find an oil box lid?