Posts Tagged ‘Richard Petty’

NASCAR Race Fan Commentary

August 9, 2011

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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The Rise And Fall of NASCAR

January 15, 2010

Hello, race fans. Welcome to my NASCAR blog. I have been a Passionate follower of NASCAR ever since I saw my first race in 1996. Now, I realize this does not make me a big authority on NASCAR, since I wasn’t around when Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt got their seven championships. (In 1996, Dale already had them.) But, from the moment I first saw that first race, I was hooked. I crave information about the sport. I don’t go anywhere on weekends, because I need to be in front of the television. In fact, in 1998, my brother got married in Texas. While I was there, everyone but me went sight seeing in Houston. I had to stay there and watch Talladega!

I still crave the weekends so I can watch practice, qualifying and racing all weekend. I write a weekly review of the race that weekend and I tell everyone who wants me elsewhere that I have to watch so I can post.  The truth is that there is no where else that I’d rather be.

On Fridays there is qualifying and practice. And if I’m lucky, the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series is racing somewhere and I may be able to see something on Wed. and Thu. The Big race on Sunday. But a whole weekend of television telling me what is going on.

In the late 1990’s NASCAR was coming on strong. Apparently I was not the only on who “found” NASCAR. Bill France, Jr. was in charge and Winston was the sponsor, gaining fans all the time.  More and more fans were watching all the time. Maybe not as passionate as me, but NASCAR had quite a following back then.

These days, more and more fans are walking away. Many fans complain about the lack of racing in a race. Many fans complain that the racing is boring. (Racing, by definition, is NOT boring!) Ratings are going down. Attendance is falling way short. Sponsors are pulling out. No one wants to watch my beloved NASCAR any more. NASCAR Scene is no longer publishing their weekly newspaper. And my “Bible”  Official NASCAR Review and Press Guide is no longer being published! (What am I going to do?)

So, what happened? I have a few thoughts. Brian France brought in a new era. RJ Reynolds and their Winston brand would be no more. And I mean that literally. When Nextel came in, there was never another name for the series. At Daytona, the first race of the year, announcers were saying Jeff Gordon was a four time NASCAR Nextel Cup champion! NO ONE was a single Nextel Cup champion. It just started. Sprint came along and bought out Nextel and everyone was a NASCAR Sprint Cup champion. By the way, they changed the trophy to look like checkered flags. So, my question is, why did they keep “Cup” when the trophy isn’t even a cup? Apparently so as not to confuse the media.

Matt Kenseth won the last Winston Cup championship in 2003. And points were accumulated over 36 races. But Matt only had one win that year, while several others had multiple wins. It was decided NASCAR needed a playoff to let the driver with the most wins have a better chance to win the trophy, so the Chase for the NASCAR Nextel Cup was born. The top ten in points after the 26th race in Richmond were in the chase. The best anyone in eleventh place could do was eleventh. And no matter how badly anyone raced those last ten races, the ten could not do any worse than tenth in the final standings. The Chase for the NASCAR Sprint Cup is now 12 drivers. The top ten are still honored at the banquet.

The media loved the concept of a playoff. NASCAR had to compete with football those last races, so it was said that if NASCAR had a playoff during those last ten races, everyone would watch the NASCAR playoffs, instead of football. Everyone would tune in to see the playoffs. Fans would flock to those ten NASCAR tracks. A driver wouldn’t be able to run away with the Title and grab it before the last race, making for more excitement. In my opinion, you would get better ratings if the media was talking about the top 25, instead of just the top 12. The point system wasn’t broken, so why the need to “fix” it? Give more points for each win, and the driver with the most wins should win the championship. And everyone would be racing for the win, since second wouldn’t get nearly as many points.

In 2007 NASCAR came out with the COT. The Car Of Tomorrow. All cars will be exactly the same, following NASCAR rules. Many safety features are in the car. But all cars are created equal.  Anyone remember the IROC? (International Race Of Champions) The driver was supposed to make the difference in those races because all cars were prepared equally. As a fan, I loved those races. But they were just special races. Not 36 a year. The cars were hard to get used to because they wouldn’t turn. NASCAR declared that racing was supposed to be hard. What’s the point if it was easy?! Kyle Busch won the first race in the COT and the media asked how he liked the new car. His reply? “It sucks”.

Ratings started going down, but NASCAR was not alarmed. Attendance was down but NASCAR was not alarmed. Finally, someone started the NASCAR Fan Council and polled fans about what they thought. I am proud to say I am one of the members that they poll. NASCAR is now starting to listen. We got double-file restarts. Now they lineup double-file after a caution. So the leaders are ahead of those a lap down. Personally, I love it. It’s a brand new race after the caution.

This year NASCAR is talking about replacing the wing on the back to where it was before the COT. Starting time for the races are back to 1, 3 and 7:30 ET. So, NASCAR is listening. But is it too little, too late? NASCAR Scene is no longer publishing their weekly newspaper. And UMI is no longer publishing their Press Guide.

Sad times for NASCAR fans. I will still be reviewing the races. Leave a comment if you would like me to cover more than just the race on Sunday. You all can get info online. I’ll  miss my printed word, though. And I don’t know what I will do without my Press Guide!

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley

Check out my NASCAR store

Only a few more weeks to go! Take care.

In My Opinion

May 11, 2009

Welcome race fans to my opinion. I would like to comment on Kyle Busch. He has announced he’d like to go for Richard Petty’s record number of wins. That being 200. Richard Petty collected all these wins in the top NASCAR Series. Today that Series is called NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. Now granted, back then there were more races in a season. And no one will ever break that record.

But Kyle wants to have all his wins in the three major Series count towards his total. Kyle is a veteran, even though still young, in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series. The minor leagues are NASCAR Nationwide Series and NASCAR Camping World Truck Series. They are minor leagues for up-and-coming racers and those veterans who could never quite make it in the top series. So he is racing against beginners and lesser drivers who can win in their own Series, but not in the top Series.

Kyle has 15 wins in Cup. He had two wins in his first full year and one in the following two years. For him it was Checkers or wreckers. That is, he wrecked more than he won. When his contract was up with Hendrick Motor Sports, Rick Hendrick decided to replace him with Dale Earnhardt, Jr. Joe  Gibbs Racing hired him for the 2008 season. And that year he collected eight wins.

The Media went wild about what a great driver he was. He entered races in both the Nationwide Series and the Camping World Truck Series. And the Media added these wins to his Cup wins. So he has fifteen wins in Cup, but overall has 51 wins. And that’s where I have a problem. In my opinion, I don’t think the stats should be revised to include all the Series. I say pick a Series and stick with it. You can’t win them all.

But Kyle is arrogant enough to think he can. The Media loves him and is willing to rewrite the stats to show he is. All the other drivers stuck to Cup racing for their wins. They didn’t enter every race in all three Series to count all their wins. It just wasn’t done. Once they got to the top level, they raced there. With selected races in the Minor Leagues. There is nothing to compare Kyle’s stats to, as no one was ever arrogant enough to collect wins in different Series just for the sake of collecting wins.

In my opinion, he shouldn’t be allowed to compete in every race in the Minor Leagues and go for a Minor League Title. He is a Cup Title contender, after all. Of course he will win in the Minor Leagues. But is that a true reflection on his ability? The Media thinks it is. The fans certainly don’t.

One last thing. He doesn’t handle not winning very well. The Media says this is because no one wants to win more than Kyle. I beg to differ. He is not the only one who wants to win. They are all out there to win. And don’t like not winning. Kyle just acts like a baby when he doesn’t win. That doesn’t make him a better driver, just a poor looser.

This past weekend the races were in Darlington, SC. In the Nationwide race, Kyle got a flat tire with the Green, White Checkers coming up and had to pit. The crowd went wild cheering. In the Sprint Cup race, he hit the wall hard and had to go to the garage. No caution was thrown because he made it to the pits without involving anyone else. Again the crowd went wild cheering for his disappointment. In my opinion, it was the best part of both races in Darlington. And he shouldn’t be allowed to prove in three Series that he’s as good as the King was in one Series. Media, take note. NASCAR, please give the Nationwide drivers a chance to win races and Titles in their own Series by limiting the number of races any Cup driver in the top 35 can enter in a given year. Don’t let Kyle Busch take over.

Brought to you by Sheila Hawley. If you like what I said, please leave a comment. Thank you.