NASCAR hopes for a summer resurgence from Patrick, Junior
Don't get me wrong; Sunday gave us some outstanding competition and plenty of feuds to focus on from Infineon Raceway. But when the smoke cleared, a look at the stat sheet alone shows NASCAR continuing to steal half of
Two men have now combined to win nine of 2010's 16 Sprint Cup races:
Add that all up, and what do you get? A product full of the same old stories in NASCAR, making
We tackle that trio of topics and more in this week's mailbag. If you didn't make the cut this week, don't cut off the engine like Ambrose: keep cranking out the comments and questions to firstname.lastname@example.org and @
Let's start with your thoughts on the penalty heard around the NASCAR world, the decision to move leader Ambrose from first to seventh when he stopped on the race track under yellow. After some hedging initially, the universal response on Twitter was...
JayJayDean refers to a 2007 incident where
Many believe NASCAR made a mistake back then by letting the victory stand. So why argue with them after a call where Ambrose slowed to zero? To me, it's a clear-cut decision: When a car stops on the race track as the leader, the rest of the field shouldn't be expected to do the same under the yellow flag. While Ambrose has insisted on using the media to make his argument, claiming repeatedly it was the wrong call, the more he's beginning to look like a bit of a sore loser.
Look, while unbiased as a journalist, it's hard to find anyone who'd be upset over an Ambrose victory. But sometimes, the best laid plans in sports never become reality. It's crucial for him to get over it, ensuring this disappointment doesn't sink the ship of what's already a difficult season for him.
Let's move on to another big surprise from Infineon: Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s 11th-place finish.
I'm still batting my eyes and making sure the final results aren't a big mistake. For all the criticism of crew chief
What does Earnhardt need to do to make the Chase? I'll be examining that in greater detail on Thursday. For now, I can tell you momentum from a seventh-place run at Michigan was more of a boost than we thought. The fire in Earnhardt's eyes was clear after that race, the type of passion we saw back in February before the monotony of mediocre finishes snuffed it out. Sports is as much mental as it is physical, and the positive attitude for him is crucial heading into a two-week stretch where he can be highly successful: Loudon (where he had a top-5 car last Fall before getting wrecked) and Daytona.
But how about Junior's Nationwide apprentice? Danica Patrick returns this week after three months on the sidelines...
Kenneth is referring to this week's seemingly pessimistic attitude toward Patrick's NASCAR return. Her initial stint was followed by more disappointment in IndyCar, where a runner-up Texas finish has been drowned out by four of 11th or worse. She sits almost 100 points back in the championship chase, a virtual non-factor in a season she'd like to forget.
That plays into her stock car return, as she's not exactly heading back with the confidence from past or present performances. Add in the most difficult track she's faced yet behind the wheel -- Loudon's tight turns and short distance tend to send any rookie to the shredder -- and a top-20 finish would have to be considered a win on Saturday.
As for giving Patrick patience, I wish I could, Kenneth. There's no difference between 1985 and 2010 in that many drivers need one, two, maybe three years to fully develop. But like most development projects nowadays, Patrick's extra time got thrown out the window the second she became a marketing machine. Too many people have millions invested in her success to allow the typical learning curve to play out. Remember, her contemporary, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won a Nationwide race in only his 16th start. Danica won't have that many under her belt until this time next year; but you'd have to expect that by her 12th run in November, the men with the money expect significant improvement to stand behind her over the long-term. A pretty face can only buy you so much time.
Since you asked, Ray, let's take a look at Danica's first three Nationwide results compared with some other IndyCar stars:
These verify your point that it's not like anyone else was out there scoring top-10 finishes. Something to keep in mind as Danica goes forward: good things come to those who wait. The sponsors just need to stay on board with that.
That's not a bad solution, Bricktona, but you're forgetting the fact everyone's going to dive down pit road. By the time those stops are complete, how are you going to re-establish track position? I'd be happy with your solution as long as pit road stays closed.
Of course, there's always a sure-fire way to solve the debris caution problem: don't call them. None of Sunday's seven yellow flags were caused for a piece of metal, and guess what happened? A race still broke out, the natural way. Funny how that happens...
"So just met the seattle storm. Annnnd I'm like foot and half shorter than all of 'em." - @