Monday, February 16, 2009

NASCAR Start a Bust

I was so excited about starting my first full season of NASCAR with the Daytona 500. All the possibilities of a blank slate. Turned out not to be quite as thrilling as I thought. Here are some of my impression of the Great American Race.

*First, I knew it wouldn't be one of my favorites even if it is the "Super Bowl" of NASCAR because, over all, I don't care much for restrictor plate racing. I prefer it when every man is out there for himself, independent of the need to find drafting partners. Still, I could live with that.

*Second, my dislike of Fox has only intensified since that station is responsible for televising the first part of the NASCAR season. It has always seemed to me that Fox dumbs down everything they do. Their sitcoms are some of the most inane. Their political shows have always been the most biased (although MSNBC caught up with them, in the other direction, over the last year). It is the same with NASCAR. For instance, I really don't need a stupid little cartoon gopher popping out of the track when I'm watching a race.

What was even more infuriating though was the fact of the rain-delayed race being halted because, don't you know, we had to let viewers get on to some new program Fox was debuting at 9:00. This was after we'd heard about all the equipment NASCAR had imported to dry the track. How we'd heard that Daytona had lights so the race could go on no matter how long it took, even if it was midnight. NASCAR schedule is dictated by t.v. anyway, otherwise the race would have got the green flag at around noon (and been completed by the time the rain came) as I've heard it used to be. When it comes to television, NASCAR always seems to end up sucking hind tit.

I like Matt Kenseth and I'm not sorry to see him win but I doubt if the results would have been the same if all the laps had been run.

* I'm sick of hearing about Joey Logano. I have nothing again Joey (although I'm rooting for Scott Speed for Rookie of the Year). I think he is a good driver and will probably be one of the stars of the sport in coming years but I prefer drivers who haven't had quite such a free ride as Joey. This isn't necessarily because he jumped into the Sprint Cup so young but that it was such a cushy spot he got to jump to.

Take Speed, for instance, yes. Yes, he's gotten the opportunity to be in Cup too. He's got decent equipment with Red Bull but he'll have to be talented enough to make the most of it to be competitive. He's going to have to work hard to take advantage of his chance. Meanwhile, Joey has a huge headstart because he's starting with one of the premiere racecars in the series, the number 20 Home Depot, previously driven by Tony Stewart. Right off the bat, Joey is getting the commercials and the media attention you usually have to be a winning driver to receive. While deserving drivers like A. J. Allmendinger and Regan Smith, who've paid their dues, struggle along and work their butts off in trying to keep a ride, Joey is on a glidepath on the Sprint Cup freeway. It's too much, too soon for the 18-year-old.

* Hurray for A. J. Allmendinger for coming in third after the torture he went through, thinking he was in the race, then finding out right before the Bud Shoot-out that he wasn't, and having to race his way in. I can't even imagine the mental stress he must have endured.

* It was a wild ride for Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman with both of them having to go to back up cars (and in Ryan's case, a back-up, back-up car) but over all, they made a great start for a new race team. I was happy for my fellow Hoosiers.

* Of course, I'm a little bummed about Jimmie finishing 30th but oh, well. He hasn't had a very good recent record at Daytona and he's bounced back. I'm confident he'll do it again. I was actually rooting for Jeff Gordon....but there's always next week.

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