Edwards losing his thunder, drivers scared to win and more mailbag
As a native Philadelphian, I'm still in shock over the Eagles trading star quarterback
On this slow week for stock car racing, NASCAR could certainly use that type of extra visibility. Through my agony, I'm reminded how the NFL benefits from McNabb's trade in two ways: keeping people talking and keeping the NFL in the news during the offseason. How does NASCAR compare? The best 2011 free agents available are
That leads me to my second point. Big news elsewhere means an outright burial in the news cycle for NASCAR. During a week that saw MLB (Opening Day), the NFL, Tiger Woods and NCAA Basketball take center stage,
So let's do our best to raise the sport's profile and have a little weekly Q&A. If your question didn't make the cut this week, don't despair, you can always try again at
Joe, I picked your e-mail because it summarizes two main worries that bubbled to the surface after a fantastic race at Martinsville:
"It was a dumb move on my part. I should have just finished third and collected some points and got one of our best finishes at Martinsville, but I figured I'd go for the win, which, I guess in hindsight, was probably a mistake."
While I think Kenseth's frustration got the better of him, just saying those words is alarming enough. Would you ever hear any batter in the MLB say, "Well, I wish I went for the walk so I could up my on-base percentage instead of going for broke with a home run that would have won us the game?"
Of course not. And while NASCAR made a litany of positive changes for 2010, the Chase is one area where it has still fallen short. It's so easy for "revenge" to come into play in, say, the Nationwide Series, where Cup drivers moonlight and it doesn't matter if they get wrecked out. But with a title in the Chase based on consistency, scoring that fifth-place finish is often worth more to drivers than going that extra mile for a win. When not taking a risk is rewarded, drivers will continue to back down from going for the win until NASCAR changes the system.
Wow, Mike! I'm thinking fans at Talladega and Atlanta -- who saw Carl get flipped and then flip someone else, respectively -- might take issue with the excitement factor. I've heard a lot of adjectives to describe Mr. Edwards, but "boring" is definitely not one of them.
But when we look a little deeper, you're right about one thing: Edwards has lost his edge. Sure, he's leading the Nationwide standings and sits on the fringe of Chase contention, 14th in points with three top 10s after half-a-dozen starts. But he's still without a top 5 finish in Cup and carrying a 42-race winless drought in NASCAR's top division. In order to break it, Edwards has to lead a lap, something he has yet to do in 2010. Even backmarkers
Last year, Edwards' shortcomings were blamed on a system-wide struggle within Roush Fenway Racing. But with
Whether that will wind up costing crew chief
Mike refers to a Thursday
Do I agree with what was said? Absolutely not. But isn't the beauty of this country freedom of speech? Newman's comments are radical ... but it's not like he's saying the Holocaust was a hoax.
Look, we're talking about the lone Cup driver with a college degree (Newman holds an engineering bachelor's from Purdue.) So it's not like he's spewing ignorance when speaking about scientific issues. I think it's his right to tell us what he believes and why. Would you rather have that, or a generic interview in which he thanks his sponsors and says nothing at all?
So feel free to disagree, but make sure you don't drive Newman back into his shell by forcing him to issue a public apology. You can't have it both ways. If you want drivers to speak their minds, you don't get to control what comes out of their mouths.
Solid point, George. I think what you mean is the media shouldn't let their own personal biases against Stewart affect their coverage. But not everyone feels that way.
John, as much as I know half the NASCAR media would love to take you up on that offer, they simply can't do it. When all is said and done, the purpose of being a journalist is to report the news as it happens, not create it or reshape it based on our personal biases. If Tony Stewart lights it up with five wins in seven races, we need to write about it. And if he snipes at every question we ask, so be it. How he treats us isn't a story.
So as much as we as sportswriters like to pump ourselves up, the bottom line is that you don't click on this column to read about us. Our struggles are meaningless in the face of a sport that millions tune in to watch every week. Let's not stand in the way of what's really happening.
Sending it out to hundreds of thousands of loving, caring people is the least I can do, Kris. Good luck!
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