ONE MAN’S MEAT IS ANOTHER MAN’S POISON

Well, the twice-yearly Fontana race weekend is over. Based on what I’ve been reading, some considered the racing terrific — history was made by Busch and repeated for only the fifth time by Kenseth (wins first two Sprint Cup races of the season in a row). Still, many others are saying all three races — truck, Nationwide, and Sprint Cup — were B-O-R-I-N-G!!! And many have noted that attendance was down — AGAIN — and that television ratings (not yet announced) would also be down — too much competition with golf, Tour of California, and the Oscars.

So, what’s NASCAR to do?

First, I suggest going back to one race in Fontana and moving the second Sprint Cup date to Kentucky (I know, ISC giving a date to Speedway Motorsports Inc. is probably not going to happen). At least NASCAR could try it out to see whether Kentucky is viable (apparently it is for Nationwide and trucks).

Second, NASCAR needs to start races at a reasonable time; unless a race is a night race (like RIR), the race should start by 2 p.m. Eastern time. And, finally, NASCAR needs to do better research about competing events in and around the various tracks so as to maximize both attendance and TV viewership.

And that’s the view from here.

Jon

SPEED WEEK STARTS NASCAR ON RIGHT FOOT!

Although TV viewership was down slightly for the Bud Shoot-out and Dual 125s from last year, both the Nationwide and Sprint Cup TV ratings were up from a year ago. Sunday’s Daytona 500 scored increased average audience, total audience, and household ratings compared to 2008. Still, these ratings are only about 1% above last year. Supposedly, the race was a sell-out but one must wonder how many tickets might have been “freebies” just before the race started.

Still, NASCAR has to be pleased with both the TV and track numbers. But I continue to hold to the belief that California next week and Atlanta two weeks later will be a more correct reading of how NASCAR might fare this season. Also, it will be interesting to see how many teams attempt to make the show at California and Las Vegas, both long commutes for the underfunded teams.

My prediction is for full fields because the season is young and those teams without full-season sponsors need to show their merit on the track to entice additional sponsor dollars. But if those sponsor dollars don’t appear, the view from here is that the fields will not be full before arriving in Richmond on May 1.

Jon

The Last Lap

Well at least it was a beautiful night …

Not much to say here but to reiterate that old chestnut that it is still the last lap which is the one to lead.

That’s the (short) view from here

Michael

Of forks in the road and Déjà vu

“This is like déjà vu all over again” and “When you come to a fork in the road, take it”.

Remember these pithy quotes?

Well, if you are of a certain age you know that these are just two of the wise sayings(‘Yogiisms’) that came from the mouth of ole number 8 (naw, not Junior), namely, Yogi Berra.

Well, Ft.Worth’s race had a bit of the déjà vu at least. For it was at this race last year that “the double” passed “the half” and then went on to win the championship.

Looks like someone found the fork and took it.

That’s the view from here.

Hey, speaking of forks, where is that turkey….

Michael

Oh, Atlanta?

Same old place
Same old city

So begins “Oh, Atlanta” by Alison Krauss and Union Station. Yesterday I only had time to see the final few laps (wait…I think from here on out I will tell my friends “I saw the last two cautions” or some other indicator) as I was tanning my face at our yearly Highland Games and Celtic festival in Richmond.

So what did I see? Well I saw that NASCAR can’t seem to live up to the hype. Listening to the drama created on the radio as I drove home, I thought we would see 12 cars run out of gas and a dark horse emerge to gain victory from the heartbreak of defeat.

And so? And so ?

Blech, as my kids once would say. Blandness was snapped from the jaws of excitement-and just in time! Guess only my FedEx man knew how to deliver the goods in the excitement arena—just ask Martin.

Oh well, like a tired army we drag on towards our Appomattox that is the end of the season. I mean, really, are you excited over twice of one or half of the other?

Think about it.

That’s the (Celtic) view from here.

Michael

PS-If you get a chance to see a band from Dallas named “Needfire”, do so. Now, they give their crowd a show!

DO THEY DO THIS IN OTHER SPORTS? NO!

Yesterday’s Dover race was clearly better than Loudon’s attempt last week.

Lots of racing, bumping, rubbin’, and even a tete-a-tete of sorts. However, what really bummed me out were the race commentators attempting to keep fans interested with their lap-by-lap “update” on the Chase points.

For example, with over half the race yet to go and Kenseth in the lead, the talking heads were putting him in first place in the Chase. How ridiculous is that? I can’t imagine watching the first game of the World Series with one team ahead by three runs in the second inning and the announcers saying something like, “Well, that pretty much clinches the game for the Sox; looks like they’ll repeat as World Series champs.” We would all call that announcer an idiot.

Look at the standings today — Gordon, Stewart, Edwards are 1-2-3 and Kenseth (remember, he was announced as being in first place around lap 190) is ninth in the points race.

How about it, guys, don’t keep updating us on where drivers stand in the Chase when the race is FAR, FAR from over.

It’s not only distracting but insulting!

TTFN,

Jon

ONE MORE HIT AND WE’RE IN THE HALL OF FAME!

Go back and check our top 10 predictions for this year and you’ll find that we predicted a Juan Pablo win — and he’s done it twice (although we were talking about Nextel so one doesn’t count).

What’s our other prediction come true?

Check No. 1 — nobody replaces Benny! One more “come true” and we’re Hall of Fame candidates. Two, and we’re in!

OK, so here’s this week’s major issue. Wally D. on Sunday kept repeating the same mantra — if Juan decides to pull off another Mexico City routine, “this circuit” is different and won’t put up with those antics. Well, Wally, you now know how well Juan Pablo can drive — you’re in the
commentators box and he’s on the track, so what does that tell you?

No wrecks on the last lap, just GREAT driving. And there’s still Watkins
Glenn. And if you don’t think Juan Pablo is in the driver’s seat for Rookie-of-the-Year, ask Harvick!

Keep your comments coming.

Jon

My theme for Charlotte?

1.A night of firsts on a Day of Memory?

Kyle Petty’s first top 5 in 10 years
Casey Mears first win
Toyota’s first top 5

2. Brother Can You Spare a Gallon?

“Brother, Can You Spare a Dime?” was one of the best-known American songs of
the Great Depression.

Once I built a railroad, I made it run, made it race against time.
Once I built a railroad; now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?
Once I built a tower, up to the sun, brick, and rivet, and lime;
Once I built a tower, now it’s done. Brother, can you spare a dime?

(Written in 1931 by lyricist E.Y. “Yip” Harburg and composer Jay Gorney.)

Charlotte is usually the marathon of the season but it was well worth the nearly
6 hours. At first I thought my theme would have to be “The Junkman Cometh.”
But, amazingly, most of the wrecks (and there were plenty) were still running at
the end. I think that is a tribute to the unsung crews of NASCAR (and to a 600-
mile race).The season is just beginning to warm up and as we head into the summer heat
let’s see who has staying power, because as we all know , ‘it isn’t over until … ‘

3. Now for the concrete of Dover?

Michael

Earning Stripes on (A Happy) Mothers Day….

First, let’s get the jokes out of the way … such as, “Let’s put on the tea
kettle,” “He’s just blowing smoke,” or “I didn’t know they still made Stanley
steamers,” etc. It doesn’t matter — JG just rolls on and is, IMHO, heading for
one of the best seasons in modern NASCAR history.

Now for the race itself … See, this is why the older tracks still have “it” –
they simply give us a race worthy of watching — no really big accidents, just
fans sitting on the edge of their seats at times wondering …

…Wondering when a “big one” was going to occur as this car or that car slid around a curve and earned the famed “stripe” for which the Lady in Black is noted.

… Wondering which car was next to have an engine fly apart right at the end.

… Wondering if the #24 was going to erupt like a Vesuvius and scatter Dupont rainbow colors over everyone.

… Wondering why every race can’t be like this.

That’s what I’m wondering too my friends.

That’s the view from here.

Michael

YELLOW,YELLOW,YELLOW …and blue skies

Well, probably better that we had a sunny race so we could see the yellow better. It seemed to be the usual race for the season so far — good racing early, then the boring bits, then a pretty exciting chance to see which Hendrick car would be the victor.

Boy, talk about your potential ‘black helicopter’ theory — what is it with the COT and Hendrick?! Are they that good? Well apparently so.

Overall, well done Richmond

BTW: Let’s give some kudos to others who aren’t getting much air time — such as Ryan Newman and Dave Blaney.

On another note…

A few columns back I called for a “return to yesterday” with regards to tracks. Of course next Saturday night the COT will meet the Lady in Black and if the cars are as hard to turn there as they were here you will need a dayglo yellow flag.

Now, it’s time to show some respect for the drivers and to drop some rules. Let’s do away with –right now — both the champions provisional AND setting the starting grid by owners points. While our race commentators noted who didn’t make the JSCR 400 (wow, that must be awfully tough for DW), they failed to mention the actual qualifying speeds of those cars. Personally if I were 40th fastest and was bumped by a slower car having higher ‘owners points’ I would be, well … I would not be happy. For that matter why not tell only 43 cars to show up or better yet take the several who don’t make it and tell them if they don’t make it six races in a row then they should just come back next year.

Hey, at least NASCAR’s carbon footprint would shrink …

That’s the view from here.

Michael