A winners only Chase, thoughts on Junior's woes and more mailbag
I've become such a sportswriting cliché. Here I am, sitting in a coffee shop, sipping on a pumpkin spice latte and answering your questions and comments. As I'm writing, a middle-aged woman walks over, and then stares impatiently at me with the glare of a mother waiting for their child to come to attention. As she starts pointing, I look up inquisitively, more confused than that time
"Oh my God!" she says. "I've never seen someone type like that! You really know how to do it fast."
Before I could respond, she says, "Good luck with whatever you're doing!" and walks away. It's too bad I couldn't give my patented response whenever anybody questions my finger-pecking, lightning-quick style of typing:
"I write about racing for a living. You think we go slow at anything?"
Time to slow down and answer the questions on the eve of the sport's 10-race playoff. Don't be afraid to let loose, sit on this
Let's apply Shane's theory to this year's Chase, where we already have five winless drivers in the field. As you can see, the postseason lineup gets rather crowded:
While that exception adds the guy who's won the series' two biggest races this season (McMurray: Daytona and Indy) none of those four have shown the consistency needed to win a championship. Even McMurray would be the first to tell you under this format, he doesn't deserve to make the field; too many ugly DNFs to go with those outstanding performances that put him in Victory Lane. So what's the end result? Adding useless filler, bumping the number up to 16 of 32 full-time sponsored drivers with no real effect on how the title would play out.
At the same time, excluding all the winless wheelmen leaves out veterans like
Just please eliminate me from the group that actually supports it, OK? The more I learn about it, the less I like it. We'll leave it at that...
No. I ask that question because we had a testy
The reporter in question was
I bring this quote up not to stir the pot but because Busch is, indeed, one of the top drivers I'm picking to compete against
We've discussed the crew chief issue at length, Phil, and now would have been a perfect time to make a change. With 10 races left, Earnhardt has nothing to race for and putting a new, unproven body in that position would allow them to experiment and see if they could hit on the right chemistry instead of doing it in the offseason.
I know Mr. Hendrick is adamant he won't make a change between now and November, 2011. But after a 34th-place debacle at Richmond, do you think AMP Energy and National Guard are standing idly by, watching their driver deteriorate and costing them millions of dollars in marketing firepower a second straight year? I can't imagine 10 more disasters like that and crew chief
Brian, for a guy who's totally disinterested in competing, why is Earnhardt on iRacing in his spare time? Why does the guy have 18 Cup trophies sitting on his mantle, a Daytona 500 victory and his own team in the Nationwide Series?
While Earnhardt may take a more laidback approach than Johnson,
Again, we're definitely at a stalemate between both sides. Someone, somewhere's gotta give.
Actually, the constant in Junior's slide is the loss of
Speaking of crew chiefs...
Fair point, one I knew while writing the column. The reason I glossed right over it is he could have easily stayed through the end of the season, but Hendrick and Co. chose to make a move because the team was struggling under his watch. Also, Gordon missing the Chase still sparked a public outcry at HMS we just haven't seen internally over this whole Junior mess. Again, I ask the question: if Gordon missed the Chase with
I firmly believe the answer there is yes. So why isn't Earnhardt's crew held to the same standards? Martin at least has an excuse, the
Any chance this switch could happen got snuffed out earlier this season, Michael. Harvick's re-upped on a multi-year deal that also sees Earnhardt's old sponsor, Budweiser, attaching itself to the No. 29 starting next year. But don't fret, Junior Nation, there's still an outside chance there could be a move under the right circumstances.
One more note on Junior: considering the money he brings into HMS, if the team's still running just as poorly this time next year that contract will become juicy garage gossip. We've seen a long list of drivers escape their deals a year early: Stewart,
Great idea, Dave. We're going to see some sort of tweak next year handicapping Cup guys competing in Nationwide. I just don't know if they'll make a change that sweeping, kicking the sponsor-hungry drivers out and leaving those willing to run a part-time, "extra" schedule for no money and just the love of the sport to help spur driver development by competing against the minor leaguers every now and then.
I'm with you, Sinclair. But don't just e-mail me! Start bugging NASCAR, who once again will enter the Chase without a third road course that would test drivers under all disciplines, not just the 1.5-to-2-mile ovals that make up half of the 10-race lineup. What's a playoff format for if you don't include every type of track you compete on?
And finally, the out of left field email of the week...
Can you say
"Ripley's baby, believe it or not... U lost!!!!!"