NASCAR Race Fan Commentary

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Welcome NASCAR  race fans to my NASCAR blog. I read an article in my local newspaper today by Jenna Fryer about Joey Logano. Joe Gibbs Racing, who Joey drivers for, was courting Carl Edwards for Joey’s ride. Because Joey wasn’t living up to expectations. Carl re-signed with Roush-Fenway Racing and Joey is back in his own car again. Joey sat on the Pole at Pocono Raceway over the weekend and would have won another rain shortened race for his second career win had the rain not stopped. But it did and he had other problems and had a poor finish.

Joey Logano came to NASCAR with others calling him “sliced bread”, as in the next best thing since. He was winning in the feader Series’ all the time. And when he turned 18 and could race in NASCAR, he won in the Nationwide Series in his third race. In the Nationwide Series he was able to beat team mate at JGR, Kyle Busch a Sprint Cup driver, many times. But Tony Stewart left the organization at the end of the 2008 season. Instead of having Joey stay in Nationwide and win races and championships and then move up to Sprint Cup, JGR put him into the 20 Home Depot car. And instead of having him race for the Nationwide championship in 2009 as a Rookie, they chose to let Kyle Busch run for the Nationwide championship. (Kyle had 8 Cup wins in 2008 but failed to win the Cup championship. However, he sure could beat those Nationwide drivers and won the Nationwide championship in 2009.) Not being able to test was sighted as a reason for Joey not doing as well in Cup. But JGR could have had him racing in all the Nationwide races for seat time.

Let’s look at Kyle Busch. The best driver ever because he has 100 wins in the top NASCAR Series’? Sorry, this NASCAR fan is not buying that. He has more Camping World Truck victories than he has Cup wins. That’s because he is beating Truck drivers who never did anything in the top Series. Mike Skinner has many trophies in the Truck Series, but when he moved to Cup, he was there several years and never won a single race against the best race car drivers. He went back to the Truck Series where he could win again. Travis Kvapil won a championship in the Truck Series but never did anything in Cup and came back to the Trucks. Johnny Benson finally won a Cup race and went down to Trucks where he won many races and even a Championship.

Greg Biffle won the Truck Championship, moved to Busch/Nationwide and won the championship there before moving to Cup. In my opinion, that is the way to do it. Start in the Minor Leagues, win races and championships and move up the ladder. Carl Edwards and Kurt Busch both started in Trucks and went on to win in Cup. But for the most part, these Truck drivers are exactly that: Truck drivers. Big deal that a Cup driver can beat them in short races. Perhaps if Joey started out in the Minor Leagues and won a championship, he might be a better Cup driver.

When Kyle turned 18 Hendrick took him straight into Cup. And in three years with the organization, with the best equipment, he managed to win four races. Mostly, though, he spent his time smashing up that great equipment. Kyle was replaced by Dale Earnhardt, Jr. in 2008 and went to JGR where he won eight times. Does that make Kyle suddenly a great driver? It would if he could keep up that pace. But he didn’t. He was able to win a Nationwide championship while racing in Cup. Again, big deal. With that in mind, Frank Kimmel has nine ARCA championships! Is he better than Dale Earnhardt and Richard Petty because he has nine championships and they only have seven? Of course not. So I fail to see why Kyle is touted to be the best driver, just because he wins shorter races against little competition.

Now let’s look at Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Kyle fans will compare him to Kyle and decide he never had it and why are his fans still his fans? But let’s look at that. Jr. started out in the Busch Series and won many races and consecutive championships before moving up to Cup. With all those wins and two championships, he had many fans. In Cup he raced his Father and beat him. Jr. had more wins in three years than Kyle did in the same first three years. He hasn’t won in awhile, but you can’t say he has no talent and never did. His fans remain loyal as true NASCAR race fans do. Do we choose a driver because he is winning and then move on to the next driver who is winning? No, we choose a driver that we can go for every week, and every year. And stick with him even when he isn’t doing so well. Because we are fans. We are committed. Do football fans move on to better teams when their team isn’t doing so well? I added more drivers to my list of favorites, but my first favorite will always be my favorite. In my case, even after he has retired.

I guess I’m rambling and do appologize. I’ve been a NASCAR race fan since 1996 and I’m not crazy about where the media is leading us. Is their job to report and imform the fans, or to shove their opinions down our throats? For me, Cup racing was great when Winston was the Sponsor and it was all about racing instead of about chasing. When the champion was the best driver all year and collected the most points of anyone. Instead of being the best driver in the last ten races. While I love watching Jimmie Johnson race, he would not have five consecutive championships if there was no chase. We race fans always thought we had a better Sport than football. We didn’t like football and didn’t want to be like them. Now we fans have to put up with a playoff that crowns a champion based on ten races and a tenth place team has a chance to win it all. I fail to see what is so exciting about a tenth place team winning it all because he put together ten good races. Of course, that’s just my opinion, and I’m just a die hard fan.

Racing to me is exciting. And I don’t mind if you don’t watch because you don’t think racing is exciting. What I do mind is NASCAR manufacturing excitement to get the football fans to watch. Watching Matt Kenseth win the 2003 championship with only one win was very exciting. He was there every week. Not to say he wasn’t trying to win them all, he was. But he was willing to settle for third if he had a third place car. It was exciting watching him race and be up front week after week. It was exciting last year when Kevin Harvick kept the points lead for most of the year until the chase. And quite a let down when he finished the season with the most points but didn’t win the championship.

Well, NASCAR race fans, thank you for listening.

Sheila Hawley

I love NASCAR racing.

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