The Sprint Cup Series took last week off, but you'd never know it from the sudden burst of e-mail in my inbox. From the
So let's not waste time. As always, firstname.lastname@example.org or Twitter @
In case you've been out of the country this past off week, look
Behind him, the resulting spin threw Keselowski's No. 22 Dodge in front of half-a-dozen Nationwide cars, getting hit several times in an incident where father
Sylvia, 'Dega's really where the whole Carl -- Brad rivalry began, with
Saturday's wreck wasn't quite so gruesome, but still plenty dangerous considering the traffic behind the two. However, Jeanne brings up a very important point below...
The point here is that each of these incidents didn't just come out of the blue. In this latest dustup, Keselowski's initial contact with Edwards was going to end up handing him the victory, a calculated move that reminded me of
Edwards wound up choosing option two. It's not something we haven't seen before (think:
Tammy, I'm sure glad Carl would be happy to hear you sticking by him, although you're not alone: fan reaction seems to be hovering about 30 percent Team Carl, 70 percent Team Brad. It's just the Team Brad side is adamant a fine and/or suspension is needed, claiming Carl crossed the line no matter what "Have at it, Boys" policy NASCAR has in place to encourage aggressive driving.
Sorry to let the naysayers down, but I don't see any type of serious penalty coming in this case. Most racers appear to be angry with the way in which Edwards wrecked Keselowski: it was by hitting his right rear corner, hooking the No. 22 car into the wall with a maneuver that left the victim defenseless. It's a high-risk hit in terms of compromising safety, especially considering the number of cars behind both drivers. But doesn't that risk exist every time two cars touch? Busch could have hit Johnson a little too hard in New Hampshire, spun the No. 48 car out and caused an injury. A few weeks ago at Infineon,
So for NASCAR to make a decision based on the type of contact is a sticky issue, a gray area judgment call its trying to steer away from. In my opinion, you either allow contact or you don't, and I think race fans do want the ability for these guys to beat and bang. That means no serious penalty, otherwise drivers revert back to confusion over what is and isn't allowed on the race track. I think you'll see probation the rest of the year for Carl ... and that's it.
As for the rivalry itself, I do think both men have straddled the line between what's acceptable. I don't think that line has been crossed, but it's high time for both to cool it a bit.
Let's move on to the Chase.
Excellent explanation of why the Chase is so befuddling. What Tim explains, we'll see from guys like
I'm still waiting for the race where, just like how NFL teams rest their starters late in the year, a Chaser uses an entire 500-mile regular season race as a test session, finishing 50 laps down for the sake of experimenting to "improve" himself for the fall. With so many drivers (about six) assured of a spot right now, I'm thinking it could happen this year.
It's a great idea, Jackie. One other issue with Chicagoland is in the past you've always had to buy tickets to multiple races. They don't split off the Cup tickets from the other, preliminary events that go on over the course of the weekend, making them one of the more expensive tracks to go to on the circuit. Considering the racing is hardly worthy of such an honor, no wonder they're having major attendance problems.
I'm told not only will ticket prices go down for 2011, but also that longtime policy is DOA. I just hope it isn't too late for fans already disillusioned by the way they were treated.
Let's briefly address the state of the sport. I was flooded by e-mail with bright ideas on how to fix NASCAR, feedback that will spurn its own mailbag sometime in late August. For now, let's check out this thoughtful one on why the sport's continuing to sputter...
I don't agree with all your points, Ron, but 1, 2, 3, 6 and 7 stand out to me. The light bulb also goes off with your comment about the next generation. Where is NASCAR struggling the most right now? With the 18-34 crowd that's being courted by rivals in the NBA, NFL, NHL ... the list goes on and on. While the older fan base remains loyal, it won't be around forever, and that generation gap is going to start to haunt attendance figures soon if this series can't find a way to reinvent itself as an attractive follow for young people.
Finally, our out of left field e-mail for the week...
Darren, the sad part is I did do the Pocono Ride-A-Long before jumping in the car! I had an idea of what the top speed was, just never could hit it myself. That's why they're the professionals, I guess, and I'm sitting here writing on a laptop.
"I'm surprised he got to keep the win, frankly." - @dennyhamlin's response to the Carl Edwards-Brad Keselowski wreck on Saturday night, taking his spot on Team Keselowski. Hamlin's position in the matter raised some eyebrows, considering he and Keselowski aren't exactly best buds; they had their own "Have at it, boys" incident last fall that resulted in Keselowski getting spun at Homestead in retaliation