** Heal quickly and come back soon Rowdy! Thoughts and prayers remain with you and Samantha. God bless you both! **
I bid you welcome gentle readers. It is a rather frosty Saturday morning as I draw my chair up to the keyboard for what has turned out to be “Daytona, the Sequel”, or in essence, NASCAR’s second weekend of “Can you believe this?” For the most part, my answer to that is a resounding, “NO!” I can’t believe that a supposedly upright and logical sanctioning body of any sport could err and blunder in so many ways, two weeks in a row. Somehow Brian, you’ve discovered how to accomplish both fission and fusion in the same test tube, thus allowing NASCAR to both explode and implode all at once.
Note to Ed Clark: No Sir, tires on the wall are simply NOT the equal of SAFER barriers. They were considered state of the art technology circa 1955. We are now well into the new millennium. We realize that you were caught short of time this time, but we, the fans that care, fully expect to see Atlanta Motor Speedway in full compliance with the “SAFER Everywhere” fan mandate the next time NASCAR comes here to race.
First, let’s all take a look at “Knockout qualifying.” From my vantage point, as someone that has watched it and loved it in the F1 series for many years, I think it’s safe to say that it will never work correctly on tracks where a restrictor plate is used, making it necessary to depend upon drafting speed for a fast time. It was never intended to be a race for who can be last in a line, thereby securing a time faster than the leader of the pack.
Brian, whatever your mythical fans are telling you up there on your little pink cloud, it is not the same as what the earthbound fans… those folks that buy tickets and watch on TV are saying. Those fans are laughing themselves into a need for Depends! It was terrible at Daytona, when every racing series somehow managed to crash half the field… in qualifying! Ah, but all that would go away at Atlanta, right? The Xfinity series seemed to back that statement, as we listened to a seemingly knowledgeable explanation of why clean air was desirable on this size track. Then came the trucks, and they managed to throw that theory right into a cocked hat as they gathered on pit road for the final session… and parked! Only a single truck took a timed lap in that session. Send in the clowns. Don’t bother; they’re here!
Until today, the draft was of minimal value at Atlanta, as the straightaways are short and the turns long. If that has changed, they’ve taken yet another step toward ruining what once stood tall as one of the best tracks on the circuit for good racing. As I watch the Xfinity gang turning circles, I see no indication of pack racing, but I fear that on Sunday it may become the order of the day. But even taking all that aside, NASCAR must have been afraid that things would somehow go too well at Atlanta, so they sent about half of the Cup field back through inspection, with most failures said to be from minor infractions in the area of rear end camber. Well, that won’t do! We can’t have any twisted rear ends around here… except the one attached to Michael Waltrip.
By the time the first qualifying session for Cup came to an end, 13 cars had not yet even been allowed on track. They were still waiting in the inspection line… again. Everyone with a car there to race had been through once, with what I’ve been advised was 20 of the 47 cars being invited back for those “slight infractions.” Of those, only 7 made it onto the track. The rest sat in line as the session ran without them. NASCAR says it held qualifying up for 15 minutes. How very generous of you! Word is that toward the end of the session, they turned off the new laser toy that was going to speed up inspections this year, and that allowed a small number of cars to get on track before the red and black flags flew. It also, of course, changed the fate of some drivers with low or no points from 2014. Send in the clowns. Don’t bother; they’re here!
Besides the drivers of some low-budget teams being upset at never having a chance to qualify, there were some extremely influential drivers and teams unhappy with yet another week of nonsense lending to the circus atmosphere that has settled over a once proud sport. Drivers of note that will start somewhere out back on Sunday include Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth and Regan Smith, driving the #41 for Stewart-Haas Racing this week. Gentle readers, there are 14 Championships between those cars alone! Those teams have sponsors, all of whom pay dearly for their product to be shown on their chosen car. That did not happen for 13 sponsors on Friday afternoon, while NASCAR practiced with new equipment that someone missed a lesson in how to operate. Send in the clowns. Don’t bother; they’re here!
"There is something wrong. Or there is something wrong with the system. Or there is something wrong with the amount of time they allot to get through. There is no way this many good cars, talented people, that they can't figure out how to get these cars through inspection. These guys are too smart. Yes we are pushing limits, but there is something wrong here. I'm embarrassed; I'm embarrassed for our series right now that this just happened. I'm really upset for my sponsor 3M that just came on for this weekend where we didn't even get a chance to qualify. We are just fortunate - I'm assuming we aren't going home because of points from last year. I know there are a lot of teams out here that aren't going to be that fortunate. I hate it for these guys that work so hard. We were excited about qualifying today. I thought we had a great shot at being up front. This is absolutely ridiculous."
That quote comes from NASCAR’s 4-time Champion Jeff Gordon, after learning that he would not get to make a qualifying run at Atlanta. That’s the way the fans feel as well Brian. We too are embarrassed. It seems there is no way to penetrate your rosy little world, or make sense to you with anything we, the lowly fans, might say or think. Everyone here in the real world sees it, and it won’t be fixed by adding more juggling clowns to the circus. Elephants won’t do it either. We’re already buried up to the neck in dung as it is. But one thing is going to change, at least in my little corner of the universe.
A short while back, I told my gentle readers that after hearing your state of the circus drivel, I could no longer be a voice for the fans, as I have never found the group of fans that you say has your ear. My readers were not happy with that decision, and many have asked me to reconsider. As has always been the case, they are the reason that I write. They are also the reason you are rich, but you’re either too blind, too stupid or too far under the influence to understand that. What I will never do again is apologize for your greed, your ignorance or any of your other faults… and they are legion.
One last question, and this one has already been asked of me by more than one fan. In a strange string of circumstances, a racecar was stolen this weekend, not from the track, where it should have been, (and where its hauler was) but from a motel parking lot in Morrow, Georgia, where it sat inside an unmarked white trailer. The driver scheduled to drive that car was Travis Kvapil, who in January, 2014 was convicted in a North Carolina court of domestic assault on his wife for pulling her by the hair and striking her head. How inconvenient would it have been for NASCAR to have him racing so soon after Kurt Busch was indefinitely suspended for simply being given a restraining order? As the young folks are fond of saying… “Just saying.” One more case of picking and choosing who pays what price, simply according to the whims and fancies of the gods of NASCAR? Brian, please put some clothes on. Even clowns wear clown suits.
What awesome bit of nonsense does Circus Nascarimus have in store for Las Vegas next week? Send in the clowns. Don’t bother; they’re here!
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout, which was regretfully omitted last week in the interest of time. (I ran out!) This week, I’ve had a request that makes a whole lot of sense to me. This week, it’s all happy songs! There’s nothing happier or quicker to bring a smile to our lips than a lilting Country jingle about the good side of life. Let’s start this week off with one from Eddy Arnold, the Tennessee Plowboy, who coincidentally… or not… is the star of the disc currently found in my rolling CD player aka Cobalt. Here then is Eddy, proclaiming himself to be “The Richest Man in the World.”
Next up is a bouncy little number from the Disney movie, “Westward Ho the Wagons” performed by Fess Parker. This is “Wringle Wrangle” and remember, it doesn’t have to make sense to be fun.
Next we have a happy entry from Mama’s favorite, Red Foley. Here’s Red, singing one for you entitled, “A Smile Will Chase Away a Tear.”
This last one comes from Jimmy Dean, who gave this world a whole lot more than sausage, I promise. Jimmy was known for his storytelling, and this has long been one of my favorites, “Drinking from My Saucer.” Please enjoy!
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!