Notes and Observations from Pocono Weekend
ESPN is up to their shenanigans from last year, by not starting the Nationwide Qualifying on time. This time, it was a regional baseball tourney. It would not have been so bad, if they had considered moving the qualifying to another channel. Even the watchers most ignorant of baseball will see that when the team is at the top of the 8th with one out, that the Qualifying will not be coming up soon, unlike the scroll at the bottom of the screen kept proclaiming. I gave up after 40 minutes, and went about my life. When ESPN takes over the Cup season, we will have more of the same.
A requirement of the contract to sing our Anthem for a NASCAR race is that it MUST be sung properly. This is not an audition for American Idol or America's Got Talent!
In pre-race, Kyle Busch told of his last Dover Nationwide race, where he was 'moved' out of the way by his team mate. He admitted that he had a tire going down, and then dropped a bombshell by saying he didn't tell anyone, because he wanted to drag out the start and hope there was a wreck behind him.
"I have no issues with Joey at all," Busch said Friday at Pocono Raceway. "I must have punctured a tire I because I felt it in the last two corners before the caution came out that the right-front was getting soft. I didn't call it over the radio because I didn't want to give everybody Christmas and say that I had a tire going down.Rusty Wallace called him out for it, and Kyle deserved everything that Rusty said, and all that he didn't say. Brad Daugherty even called Kyle out for not stopping to talk to the media. If Joe Gibbs Racing and M&M's haven't listened to the fans comment on Kyle's behavior, perhaps they will hear the commentary from the booth, and act on it. It is one thing to be a polarizing player in the sport, it is another to try and deliberately wreck the field. And the worst part, is that he didn't wait to talk to the media, and left his young team mate, Joey Logano thinking that he was totally at fault for the messed up restart.
"If I could have jacked up the restart enough and caused a wreck then I would have been fine, I would have been golden — it was a green-white-checkered so I would have won the race. That didn't happen.
"I went off into turn one and Joey was going to follow me and that's why I was as high as I was because I wasn't expecting him to follow. He got in the back of me a little bit (but) it was no fault whatsoever of Joey." (From USA Today)
Kyle further stunned the fans by smashing his guitar in Victory Lane. Forty-eight hours later, there are mixed stories on how much of this was planned, and how much was spur-of-the-moment. Sam Bass admitted that the act stunned him, but that he and Kyle talked in VL, and Sam is OK with it since Kyle has ordered two replacements. It is indeed Kyle's trophy, and he can do what he wishes with it. However, combined with the above tire issue, the guitar smashing, the refusing to talk to the press, and the general attitude that whatever he does is ok do not endear him to me, or to many fans of the sport. He may think he is a rock star, but this is racing, not rock 'n' roll!
The new restart procedures did help to jazz up the middle of the race. The long green flag runs, however, were still there, and the restarts did not counter the boredom that ensues for the hours and hours of cars all strung out.
There has been a tremendous amount of time given to the trials and tribulations of Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and the crew chief changes. There has been little discussion on the crew changes for Kevin Harvick. Both will take time for changes to make an impact. Hopefully, the fans of both drivers show patience.
John Daly's blog, The Daly Planet, spent the weekend dissecting the three races. Much talk in all three events centered on Start and Parks. I am sensitive to this subject, since one of my favorite drivers and teams recently had to resort to this practice. I do not like it, and I am sure the driver and crew don't like it either. But, the economy has hit, and hit hard, among the teams on the lower echelon of each series. It is a hard decision to make, but my team is picking their races, and hope to make a showing in markets that are important to them. Frankly, I don't see many cars standing in the wings that will be able to move up to full-time racing, to replace the start and park cars.
On the Michigan!