Saturday, March 15, 2008

Musings from the Marbles: Bristol Rain Delay Version

Sadler is Sadder?

Has Elliott Sadler stepped on his own flapping tongue when it comes to disparaging Jack Roush’s issues with so-called cheating? I received a couple of 'instantly deleted' comments from fans of Sadler, that tried to use profanity and threats to tell me to stop what I was writing in my Snafam Blog. In the last week, I have since discovered that I am not alone in my feelings about this subject. Various message boards have multipe posts that called Sadler a variety of names. Other blogs, including Jennifer St.Antoine, Matt McLauglin, and Phil, aka One Lugnut Short show that not all of NASCAR fandom believe that Sadler actually had the intelligence to be insulted. For those that believe in Kharma (or is that "Carma?") it appears that Sadler suffered for his own sins of disclosure, by being the cause of no less than three cautions at Atlanta. Then again, perhaps there was thought that it would be better to not have a car in decent shape for post-race tech inspection, as Sadler admitted to being party to cheating in his previous rides. I'm just sayin!

Top 35 points switching?

During the off season, it was discovered that Roger Penske had been granted permission from NASCAR to swap the points of Kurt Busch's car with Sam Hornish's car. It was thought that, with qualifying out of the way, that Sam would be able to be solidly in the top 35 points. And if there were issues, Kurt could use his past Champion's provisional to get into the race.

Now we have a whole new mess, at least from Kurt's perspective. After 4 races, according to the Owners points list from shows, Sam is in 36 and Kurt is in 10th. Several articles tell of Kurt's paling face when told of the possibility of points switching again, as he is tired of getting the scraps of the bottom 35. (Last choice on tires, transporter out in the boonies, late inspection before practice, etc.) Other's that COULD switch points would be Kyle Petty and Bobby Labonte, Patrick Carpentier with either Kasey Kahne or Elliott Sadler, and the does Michael McDowell really deserve to reap the rewards of the Jarrett/Reutiman dance? I am betting that if a widespread points-swap happens next week, NASCAR is going to step in and stop it.

In my opinion, if the point swap continues, NASCAR should allow it, but assess a penalty, say 100 points, to allow it to happen. That would probably take care of the situation.

Tires and Tony, another Retread!

I admit it. I am not a Tony Stewart fan. In the past, I was a very fervent fan of his. But the more he spoke, the more I was embarassed to even mention his name. While he is an amazingly talented driver, he is his own worst enemy.

Last week, he dumped his anger at Goodyear into the waiting microphones of the NASCAR media. My first inclination including muttering 'crybaby' under my breath. Then, other drivers chimed in, and backed up many of Tony's claims, while disagreeing with the way the message was delivered. I listened, I read, and I formulated my own opinion that perhaps Tony was right, for THIS issue.

And then, Goodyear, as reported by the Associated Press writer, Jenna Fryer, is not ammenable to inviting Tony for any further tire tests. It seems he was angry for having to attend one during his off season, and was uncommunicative during the test. So, Tony, instead of being part of the solution, became part of the problem.

Retiring Drivers, how loyal to the sport is the younger generation?

Bristol will be the last points race for Dale Jarrett. We have watched many of sports veteran's start to migrate away from the driver's seat. Rusty left, and is in the booth. Mark Martin is driving a reduced schedule. Terry Labonte is gone. Bill Elliott is on his last run, Kenny Schrader is finding it harder to get rides in the Cup series. In my opinion, those drivers are the last of a dying breed. They came into the sport older than our current drivers. They did not get top rides immediately, but had to work hard and prove their worth. I honestly do not see many of our current crop of drivers lasting into their late forties and early fifties.

Drivers Union

Suddenly, the dreaded words "Drivers Union" is rearing its ugly head. Again. It amazes me that number of fans who WANT to see a union formed. Have we learned nothing from the strikes in the baseball industry? With that said, I think it is time for Brian France and Mike Helton to create a better way for drivers to voice their opinion, and to help shape the future of the sport. When I hear that drivers do not feel that their opinions are being heard, I can't help but think of the questions used by the Gallup business consulting division, where an important Q12 question would be (for the workplace) "My Opinions Count!" Increasing driver engagement for the future of the sport, rather than for 'what is in it for the driver' can only be beneficial.

Chrissy Wallace debut

Chrissy Wallace, daughter of Mike Wallace, appears to have had a successful test at Martinsville in the truck series. It also appears that she will be in a truck soon, driving for Germain Racing. In the past, it has been noticed that many of the female drivers tend to get 'spun' out early in a race. The unspoken word has been that it is still hard for a female to 'make it' in this 'man's sport.'

I would advise, however, that the Good Ole Boys think twice about spinning out Chrissy. I hear she has inherited an extremely agressive Wallace gene, one that comes with back-up from a Daddy and Two Uncles. And possibly a cousin.

Wax On, Wax Off!

On Monday, March 17, 2008, Sirius listeners of Channel 128 will be given an exclusive look into the makings of classic radio. Again, I am not a Tony Stewart fan. But, Tony has invited all of his haters to join in with the Operation Wax Smoke culmination. After a challenge by Kevin Harvick, whose fans raised nearly $50K, Kevin added in the rest to total $100,000 for charity. The sounds you will hear on the radio program will be Tony getting his back hair ripped off, waxed strip by waxed strip. I admit it, I contributed to it,in the midst of my ire following one of Tony's idiotic moments of blaming David Gilliland for 'brake checking during practice'.

I now will get to hear the rewards of my donation. I will enjoy it!