Pandoras Box – September 9, 2013 Legentorial
NASCAR, you did it to yourself. Yes, I realize you are an entity, NOT a person, but whomever the person was/is who came up with “The Chase” should be tarred and feathered and sent to watch those stupid commercials where Bo Dietl (who the heck is he any way and how does being a detective make him an expert on roast beef sandwiches) for a week with no break. Sort of like the million minute game show gimmick which started this week. Like many fans, I have never been in favor of the Chase but as my Legendtorial of a couple of weeks ago stated, I have accepted that I have to live with it. Maybe I should rethink accepting it if there is even the smallest bit of intelligence in the NASCAR corporate offices. I realize that may be expecting too much, but even Brian can certainly see all the adverse publicity generated after the Richmond race has been negative.
Now, allow me to clear up what I’m sure will be the usual comments from the “usual suspects”.
- Any publicity is good publicity. That may have been true at one time but NASCAR has been working hard to sell an image to the public that it is NOT professional “wrassling” but is a viable sport. I have long believed it to be a viable sport and one I have supported. But, with Major League Baseball and Bicycle racing being plagued with “doping”, Pro Football getting stung with players being paid bonuses to injure players on opposing teams, and professional basketball just being what it is, you would think NASCAR could be a shining star. What do they do? They start the season suspending a Nationwide competitor for an off-the-cuff comment never intended to be made public. Stupid move. They enforce rules from the “Area 51” rule book that bites Jimmie Johnson, both Penske Cars, the number 20 car. They force Jimmie Johnson to take a “pass through penalty” at Dover for beating Juan Montoya to the line on a restart, but allow Carl Edwards to do the same thing at Richmond with no penalty although Dale Jarrett, in the broadcast booth, made repeated reference to the rule infraction.
- The intentional spin by Bowyer at Richmond which resulted in penalties announced for the MWR team is nothing new. Yes, I know that. I know that Dale, Sr. was the benefactor of intentionally manufactured cautions several times, as was The King himself. The one incident, I think at Dover, back in the 70s with Jabe Thomas was as blatant as could be so that is nothing new. Acknowledged. Satisfied? The difference here, in my opinion, is that due to The Chase, the spiritual incantation we have heard since the beginning of the season, was pre-empted by the MWR attempt to screw others out of a legitimate chance to race for the prize. Jeff Gilder said last night on Patrick’s show that he would have done the same thing, and I’m sure most other teams would have considered it if placed in that situation. The difference here is that fan uproar over the incident forced NASCAR’s hand. NASCAR had to react in some way or be relegated once again to a class of sport lower than “professional wrassling”.
- NASCAR used, in its ruling, that MWR “manipulated” the outcome of the race. What they should have said to be correct, is that MWR manipulated the outcome of those eligible for “The Chase”. Sure the winner of the race would probably not have been Duck Boy had not Bowyer intentionally spun. The question here begs the answer to the question, “How many times has NASCAR manipulated the finish of the race with those debris cautions with less than 10 to go?” I haven’t researched it, but just think back over this season as to how many of those late race debris cautions played to manipulate the winner of the race. Two races this year were manipulated with one having the caution flag thrown on the last lap with a wreck BEHIND the leaders and the other having a huge wreck, again BEHIND the leaders and no caution. There is absolutely no consistency with NASCAR with its “Area 51” rule book.
Ok, now that I’ve addressed what I expect all the “experts” to question, I’ll express my opinon on one other point. Why in blazes does NASCAR allow Bowyer to keep his seeding in the Chase. The penalty they imposed was specified to be “pre-Chase” with the points so Bowyer maintains his original seeding. If NASCAR was serious about penalties, Bowyer should have been totally eliminated from the Chase. Period.
All in all, the problem is that damned Chase. Get rid of that NASCAR, and you wouldn’t have to deal with such bunk. Oh,you would still have incidents of “manipulation of races” but not as blatant and not involving the outcome of who gets in and who is out of the Chase. As I said about last year, look at Nationwide and Camping World Trucks. Good points battles there and neither of those series has a “Chase”. The Chase was a ridiculous idea from the beginning and remains so. The driver for whom I have the empathy is Martin Truex. He did nothing, he was involved with nothing (except for driving for MWR) and he is now tainted with the Richmond Rip-off.
What do I think NASCAR should have done? This will cause controversy but I don’t really care. After all, I’m not discussing politics (banned by Jeff from doing so) and I’m not discussing religion as I know better than to open that can. This is my personal opinion, like it or not: MWR should be banned for the rest of the year, no more “rice rockets” from that team on the track. Bowyer should have all points, ALL points stripped from him and not even credited with competing this system. Michael Waltrip should not be allowed within fifty miles of ANY NASCAR race track, ever! That would keep him out of the broadcast booth too. Praise the Lord!!!! Oh, wait, that is bringing religion into it.
Ok, let me state, unequivocally, that I have never understood odds makers so I won’t be giving odds here but I want to make a brief statement, again my own opinion, as to The Chase for this year and those involved therein.
- Matt Kennseth: Matt is a good driver as evidenced by his wins, not only this year but through most of his career. I do not think he will win the Cup although I am sure NASCAR and folks across the Pacific are pulling for exactly that. When is the awards banquet this year? Is it December 7th?
- Jimmie Johnson: I would never count out Jimmie, in spite of the absolutely disasters the last few races have been. We will see what happens but I expect NASCAR will be watching him closely.
- Kyle Busch: Kyle is due. He has been running really well and is tied with JJ for second seed in the Chase. He seems to have matured enough, and quite well too, as to have a legitimate chance.
- Kevin Harvick: Kevin became known as “the closer” this year and he did that well in several races. Even when he didn’t win, he moved up several spots in the closing laps of several races. He is to be considered, but I don’t think it will happen.
- Carl Edwards: Carl can continue to “flip off the fans” every race if he wants to but I don’t believe he is entitled to be champion. I truly believe he is one of the biggest fakes in NASCAR racing and I simply don’t appreciate fakes.
- Joey Logano: I have issues with Logano, always have. One thing I wish NASCAR would do with him is forbid him to have the Coke bottle in his hand for interviews. I know he gets paid for it, but I am so tired of watching him take that big swig before he answers an interviewer’s question. He takes the cap on and off so much he has actually tried to drink Coke with the cap on the bottle at least twice I’ve seen. He has proven he has less coordination than do I. But, giving the bottle-baby his due, he has been driving some great races and, for the most part, has been a serious contender throughout most of the season. Could be Penske’s second title in a row.
- Greg Biffle: I never know what to think about Greg. I think, for the most part, he is a good guy and I enjoy watching him race. He is certainly an accomplished driver and could pull it off this year.
- Clint Bowyer: He shouldn’t even be in the Chase and should he win, which I pray won’t happen (oh no, religion again), it would further tarnish what NASCAR has set out to overcome. Do the right thing NASCAR and take away all Bowyer’s points. Would a bottle of that 5-Hour crap clear your minds enough to see the error of your ways?
- Dale Earnhardt, Jr.: Face it, sentiment aside, can Junior really pull this off? What has he shown you this year? He has run better and a little more consistent than last year, but…………..
- Kurt Busch: This is the question mark driver. He has been champion, he knows how to do it. He has the talent without a doubt and the number 78 has been running strong. His weak spot has been the pit stops. Perhaps now his crew will “man up” and be ready to go for it.
- Kasey Kahne: When Kasey didn’t “rattle the cage” of Matt Kennseth a few weeks ago and allowed Kennseth to take the win, I gave up all hope of Kasey ever being a champion. Not that I am in favor of wrecking to win, but it could have been an easy bump and run. But then I wasn’t in the car so it’s not my call, but I just don’t think Kasey has the fire to be champ.
- Ryan Newman: Ryan has a lot going for him and is the ONLY Tony Stewart car in the Chase. I would think Gene Haas and Tony could at least put some real effort and focus on Ryan and forget about that green car that likes to run 30th or worse for the rest of the season. Ryan may pull it off.
Ok, want my picks? Here goes. I pick Logano to win the Cup. He has just been too consistent over the season and now he is in a position to give Penske the second consecutive championship. He has matured, although maybe not enough to deserve the championship but he has the equipment and the desire to pull it off.
Who do I hope wins? Now this is going to shock a lot of people but I will be secretly pulling for Kurt Busch and the 78 team. It just does my heart good to see a one car team (and yea I know all about Hendrick engines, etc) being in the Chase. Kurt has driven some absolutely incredible races this year. I may not be a fan of the man, but I am a fan of his talent and I am a fan of a team like the 78 team making it. Besides, I need a new mattress and if he wins the championship maybe there will be a huge Serta Sale.
One final comment, and Jeff you had better sit down for this comment. I would not at all be upset with Kyle Busch as Champion. I have seen a different Kyle this year and, as I have said before, he has matured a great deal. I wish he would quit those fake bows to the fans after the race, but, then again, he may be sincerely thanking the fans, which I would prefer to think.
As for NASCAR, get rid of The Chase. Dump it, flush it, shred it. Oh, and one more thing, I can’t wait to see if you manipulate the Rookie of the Year award at the end of the season. I’ve been watching and I will be watching!