Category: racing

whipplefilter: Food City 500 | Bristol Motor S…

whipplefilter:

Food City 500 | Bristol Motor Speedway | Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series (15-16 April, 2018)


#42 Kyle Larson spins at Bristol, doesn’t hit the inside wall, doesn’t hit the outside wall, doesn’t get hit by oncoming traffic, straightens out, and keeps racing–without ever coming to a complete stop.

Because he’s Kyle freaking Larson.

Hey, look! The Kyle I actually like!

Something I Need to Get Off My Chest…

Depending on which circle of the world, cyber or otherwise, you inhabit, NASCAR’s dying. Or already dead. Or some zombified semblance of a once-great sport now shuffling along in search of Brian France’s brains.

To hear some of these “fans” tell it, everything’s terrible. The races suck. The crowds are pathetic. The drivers are boring. Everyone’s leaving in drones (except, interestingly enough, these people… funny that).

And while I won’t deny NASCAR has its issues, I daresay the largest one is… the fanbase.

Yes, you read that right.

Yes, I am a member of said fanbase.

Yes, it is embarrassing as hell sometimes to admit that.

Ryan McGee, who has worked in various capacities within NASCAR media for decades, wrote an article for ESPN.com last year (or maybe it was the year before) in which industry insiders told him this segment of the fanbase had a hand in driving away sponsors or keeping new ones from entering.

Basically, they see this behavior and decide they want no part of it.

The rampant negativity is bad enough (especially now that it’s so damn predictable). But there’s also a hypocrisy sprinkled throughout that makes the negativity even more galling – to the point that I now watch races without Twitter, even though I love the information some of my NASCAR follows provide.

Some examples:

-No race is good enough. Even a race with a lead change in the last 10 laps. Even a race that features two- and three-wide racing throughout the field. Even a race where the dominant car is passed late for an upset of a win. Races with cautions suck. Races without cautions suck. None of it matters, because to some fans, it’ll never live up to a NASCAR that I’m not sure has ever existed.

-NASCAR sucks if it stands pat and doesn’t do anything. NASCAR sucks if it tweaks rules in an attempt to make things better. Fans bitch about how the racing sucks (see above), but the second NASCAR makes a rule change to try improving things, fans cry bloody murder (yes, even if it’s just for the All-Star Race).

-Related to the above: aero issues aren’t there because NASCAR one day decided that it would be really cool to create aero-dependent cars. That’s just… the natural evolution of racing technology and engineering (I mean, what do you propose – banning teams from hiring engineers?). Every racing series in the world fights the aero battle, and it’s guesswork as much as anything else. You try something, and maybe it works…?

-Drivers clinching titles with a race or two left in the season sucked. But so does the Chase/Playoffs that ensure that never happens again (and apparently, a winner-take-all final race is really egregious because… reasons?).

-Fans want more short tracks! (Hey, so do I!) Fans also don’t go to Martinsville, Bristol or Richmond.

-Fans want Cup drivers to stop running Xfinity and Truck races. Fans do not attend said races. (Perfect example: this past weekend at Bristol. It was an Xfinity race with NO Cup drivers in the field… it was at a short track… yet fans shoved up in droves dressed as empty grandstands).

-Fans want drivers to go all out and race hard for wins – but as soon as they do, and something happens, someone’s an idiot. I get that some of this boils down to which driver you root for and which driver you hate, but… asking for something and then bitching once you get it is just…

-The good old days might not be as good as people think. I mean, everyone foams at the mouth whenever a driver wins a race by more than a second. But remember, there was a time the margin of victory was routinely measured in laps instead of seconds. Ned Jarrett once won the Southern 500 by 14 laps. Wendell Scott’s lone Cup win was by two laps. Even in the 1980s and early 1990s, it wasn’t unheard of for a driver to lap the field. Imagine the Twitter meltdown if someone lapped the field today.

-North Wilkesboro isn’t coming back. It’s just not. And even if it did, would you support it? Fans begged for NASCAR to go back to Rockingham; two Truck races later, no one showed. North Wilkesboro tried to start up again with Late Model races. Again, no one showed.

-Related: to everyone whining about all the empty seats… you know there’s something you can do about that, right? Like, it’s literally as easy as calling or going online and… *gasp!* buying a ticket! And as far as gate prices go, NASCAR is on par with the other professional sports, if not better.

-”NASCAR’s gimmicky!” Look, I love IndyCar, too, but that series has a button on the steering wheel that you push to help you pass a guy. NASCAR has no such button. Just something to think about…

Is NASCAR perfect? No. I’d overhaul the schedule to add more short tracks and road courses, and drastically cut back on the 1.5 milers (as of now, Charlotte, Atlanta and Homestead are the only ones I definitely want to keep). I’d keep tinkering with the downforce and sideforce every chance I get – even in-season. I’d work with sponsors and race teams to find a perfect balance to the Cup-drivers-in-the-lower-levels conundrum.

And really, some of the issues NASCAR faces are issues every sport faces to some degree. So while we’re certainly not where we were in the boom of the late 1990s and early 2000s, the sky’s not really falling, either.

But you’d never know it to listen to some “fans.”

(CC: @latemodelsportsman)

Uh… you forgot something.

Uh… you forgot something.

Exciting Race, Unsettling Finish

I get more jacked for the start of NASCAR season every year. Like, I literally count down the days on the calendar once the checkered flag flies at Homestead. And this year’s Daytona 500 was thrilling. But… man, I dunno about that finish…

From my perspective, Austin Dillon dumped Aric Almirola for the win. Sure, it was the last lap. Yeah, it was the Daytona 500. I get all that. I get that when a win is on the line, especially in that race, you do what you gotta do. I get that the No. 3 car winning the Daytona 500 20 years after Dale Earnhardt won the race is a great story.

I also get that Almirola blocked. You know my stance on blocking.

But still… I mean, it’s not like my memories of the No. 3 car bumping people out of the way for wins are especially fond (I could not stand Dale Earnhardt when he was still alive), so the image of that car pulling that stunt yet again… let’s just say the optics were jarring.

I wanted Chase Elliott or Brad Keselowski or Ryan Blaney to win. They didn’t, and it stinks, but hey, they were all really fast and they put on a great show. Sometimes, in racing, shit happens.

And sometimes, shit is done to you.

Look, Dillon’s never been a fan favorite. He’s not the uber-marketable rising star Elliott, Blaney, even Bubba Wallace, are. A lot of that is simple heritage; as Richard Childress’ grandson, Dillon has the reputation of being a silver-spoon driver. Had everything handed to him, never earned it like other drivers, simply because of who he’s related to.

And come on… the guy dabbed after he won. Seriously?

Dale Earnhardt Jr. had to deal with the same mentality – even as in the latter part of his career, people wondered why he didn’t just put his nephew, Jeffrey Earnhardt, in one of his Xfinity Series cars.

So I think some of the reaction to today’s finish is simple anti-Dillon bias. Had Almirola done that to Dillon, I don’t think the blowback would be quite as loud.

From one replay, it looked as if Dillon gave Almirola a shot down the backstretch when Almirola blocked. Fine, happens all the time. But then Dillon appeared to give Almirola another shot as they went into Turn 3, which was when Almirola spun and wrecked.

That just looks bad.

I’m not a fan of wrecking for the win. I hated it every time Dale Sr. did it. I hated it when Denny Hamlin did it to Elliott at Martinsville last year (though it helped a little that Hamlin wound up not winning anyway). I don’t like it when drivers I root for do it.

But for me, it’s even worse at Daytona. Dumping a guy at Martinsville or Bristol or Richmond is one thing. But at a plate track? At those speeds? That move could have easily wiped out half the field under different circumstances.

I dunno… like I said, I loved the race, and I love that NASCAR’s back. I can’t wait for Atlanta next week, and every race on the schedule after that. I’m just not sure I loved what Dillon did on the last lap.

Love these photos by Tim Klein for a recent WS…

Love these photos by Tim Klein for a recent WSJ article

racingnewsco:Did you miss the exciting NASCAR finish at Road…

racingnewsco:

Did you miss the exciting NASCAR finish at Road America?
Watch it here: https://racingnews.co/2017/08/27/road-america-results-august-27-2017-nascar-xfinity-series/

Jeremy. Freaking. Clements.

How ‘bout that?!

nascarphotograph:→ Ricky Stenhouse Jr., seventeenth Monster…


https://www.motorsport.com/category/nascar/photo/main-gallery/race-winner-ricky-stenhouse-jr-roush-fenway-racing-ford-13694262/?sz=9&s=-6&oft=623&id=13694262


http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/tRVZN0888Gw/Monster+Energy+NASCAR+Cup+Series+59th+Annual/2jsQTeRRdQj/Ricky+Stenhouse+Jr


http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/tRVZN0888Gw/Monster+Energy+NASCAR+Cup+Series+59th+Annual/m4L403gSBTm/Ricky+Stenhouse+Jr

nascarphotograph:

→ Ricky Stenhouse Jr., seventeenth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Winner – Daytona (july/2017)

Mr. Stenhouse has turned into quite the plate racer.

Maybe next season, he’ll win at a non-plate track. Roush’s cars are slowly but surely getting better.

On Passion

On Passion:

Seeing as how this blog highlights one of my life’s passions, I thought maybe you all would enjoy this blog post I wrote on my website earlier today (for those of you who don’t know, I’m also an author – that’s my other passion).

Maybe one day, I’ll combine my two passions.

In the meantime, please give this a read and share it.

nascarphotograph:→ Ryan Blaney, fourteenth Monster Energy NASCAR…


http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/g9vfKiOxTPa/Monster+Energy+NASCAR+Cup+Series+Axalta+Presents/A73_wvNBebA/Ryan+Blaney


http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/g9vfKiOxTPa/Monster+Energy+NASCAR+Cup+Series+Axalta+Presents/Ewv9jpc_z1t/Ryan+Blaney


http://www.zimbio.com/pictures/g9vfKiOxTPa/Monster+Energy+NASCAR+Cup+Series+Axalta+Presents/sYlum_LqT8d/Ryan+Blaney

nascarphotograph:

→ Ryan Blaney, fourteenth Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series Winner – Pocono (june/2017)

There is nothing about this that wasn’t cool as hell.

I know there are rumors of Ryan Blaney driving a third Penske car, but I kinda hope he sticks with the Wood Brothers. They seem to be building something pretty special together.

jwclapton:You just have to get a bigger shovel some days… A…

jwclapton:

You just have to get a bigger shovel some days…

A lotta times, the guy who starts the mess gets away scot-free.

This was not one of those times.