User-agent: * Allow: / CH on Track: July 2014


Monday, July 28, 2014

Ryan Newman is NASCAR's Rodney Dangerfield

Ryan Newman #31
Ryan Newman #31 (Photo credit: CANDID1PHOTO)
 Ryan Newman gets no respect

When Ryan Newman ran his qualifying lap Saturday, who knew? Despite posting the second fastest run at the time, Newman was one of the few, if not the only driver that wasn't shown on television. 

I was watching, waiting for him, but never did get a glimpse of the red and white #31. It was merely announced that Newman placed second. I an so tired of not seeing his lap. And, this isn't the first time.

As usual, Newman's on-track performance took a back seat to other more important broadcasting priorities. There must have been a commercial or a vital interview.  ESPN is not the only network; FOX likes to ignore Newman too. I wish Newman's fans would start calling them on it. 

NASCAR broadcasters need to do a better job, to at least appear unbiased, if they ever expect to be taken seriously. A reputation in journalism, like any other profession, needs to be earned. 

Indianapolis Motor Speedway
Indianapolis Motor Speedway (Photo credit: kagilbert45)
Newman is smart and witty. He has an incredible sense of humor that I, for one, would like to see more of. Newman speaks his mind though, NASCAR doesn't like that. For NASCAR, it is all about control. Perhaps NASCAR should realize that attitude lacks traction with the viewing public. Perhaps it is NASCAR itself that keeps fans from filling those seats at race venues. It was shocking how many empty seats there were at Indy during the Brickyard 400.

It is somewhat ironic that ESPN should ignore Newman, since he was last year's Brickyard winner. Until Kevin Harvick qualified, Newman held the track speed record. Imagine this year's coverage, had Dale Earnhardt, Jr. won last year...

Sunday's race

While Sunday's race at Indianapolis Motor Speedway did not end quite the way I wanted--with a second consecutive victory for Ryan Newman and his #31 Quicken Loans car--Jeff Gordon deserves congratulations for a well-executed race. His fifth career win at Indy is impressive.

Newman, who ultimately finished in the top 12 fought hard to better his track position all day. With an error in his first green flag pit stop, he lost positions that were difficult to make back up. But, his perseverance will keep him eligible to make the Chase for the Championship, as of now. 

Wednesday, July 9, 2014

NASCAR Qualifying rules still confound me

While I admit that the new qualifying procedure is growing on me, this week's Daytona qualifying was a train wreck. 

Granted it rained. It always rains in Florida in the summertime. But, for NASCAR to arbitrarily say, that's it--we're done now seems a little heavy-handed to me. But then, that is what NASCAR does. That is why fans have a problem with NASCAR. Why is NASCAR trying to kill this sport?

Let the tweaking begin

Now that drivers have figured out the best strategy to achieve the fastest speed in qualifying, NASCAR wants to change the rules--rules it just made up. NASCAR just hates it when drivers and teams are smarter than they are. Sorry guys, but that is just how it is. Some of teams ARE really smarter than you. 

NASCAR has done everything in its power to control every aspect of racing, much to the chagrin of those who really love racing. Here we have another example. If NASCAR wasn't so bent on making everything equal for all the teams, racing might be a little more interesting and exciting. 

The irony is that NASCAR's efforts have caused teams to be more strategic rather than simply allowing them to race for a win, which is the way it should be. And now, NASCAR has to make up more rules to prevent the very thing they are responsible for creating in the first place. Sheesh!

Monday, July 7, 2014

NASCAR needs less predictability; this weekend had it

Aric Almirola
Aric Almirola (Photo credit: purduenila)
Seeing the reaction of Aric Almirola when he was credited with the win at Daytona was almost worth the wait. His excitement was contagious. As a driver for Richard Petty, Almirola's sentiment at winning on Petty's 25th anniversary of his 200th win at Daytona, was genuine.

I was a little surprised at my own positive charge of emotion when the race was called. I suppose that is because Almirola's win was unexpected. Despite the fact that NASCAR called the race when it did, there was a real feel of spontaneity in the final result. That doesn't happen often in NASCAR. I dislike the predictable; it seems that NASCAR has too heavy a hand to expect real spontaneity. 

It was also pretty cool for Kasey Kahne, who hasn't won in a while, to eek out a win at the last second in the Nationwide Race. That was pretty spontaneous as well.

Other than that, the weekend was pretty much a bust. I can only imagine how the drivers, crews, and fans in the stands felt. For me though, in the comfort of my living room, I can take away only positive feelings about the outcome of the weekend at Daytona. 

Could it have been better? Absolutely! Would I have been happier to see Ryan Newman win it? Oh yeah! But once his car was so damaged and he was multiple laps behind the leader, ending the race sooner rather than later worked for me. It is no fun to watch Ryan limping along in a wounded race car. Kudos though to the guys in the #31 team for their diligence in trying to get Ryan's car back to racing form. It just wasn't meant to be.