400 Miles of Mayhem
I have sat back all day watching the replays of the crashes over and over from the Daytona race on Saturday night. I have looked at each and every one of them in “slo-mo.” I have evaluated each and every one, looking for what truly caused such carnage.
my humble opinion, it boils down to a couple things.
1) Ricky Stenhouse was driving over his head.
2) The cars really are the problem.
Let’s look at each of these two things…
First I like Ricky Stenhouse. I have always thought he was a bit brash, and needed a crew chief who could calm him down some, but last night it was like he was possessed. He didn’t care about anything but getting to the front, anyway he could, and it wound up costing him, because that karma train runs in circles, and it ran up and got him last night.
Now some will say he just wanted to win, and this may be true, BUT in order to win you have to be there at the end. He had a “don’t care who I hang out or run over” outlook from the drop of the green, and his driving style left lots to be desired. I have heard that Jack Roush is tough in his Monday Morning meetings. Well I sure wouldn’t want to be Stenhouse walking in on Monday, because he for sure has one hell of a chewin’ coming.
let’s look at the 2nd part of this, the cars…
The cars of today are so aero-dependent that it isn’t funny. The side drafting, the pushing, and blocking all add up to disaster, no matter how you look at it. Look at Saturday night, with the entire pack pulling the side drafting over and over. It dragged the pack down, speed-wise, so that when a car did get a good run, with help from a pusher, the closing rate was so bad that it was just an accident waiting for a place to happen. William Bryon in the 24 car out front, with the blocking, which is a whole separate topic, caused a lot of the problems too; it caused the 2 of Keselowski to have to check up in front of Mr.” I am going to the front” Stenhouse, taking out half the field. Yes, over 20 cars were damaged in that melee, but did it stop any of it? Nope, everyone has that “gotta win and I am going to do it on the 24th lap” attitude. Lap after lap it was the same thing over and over. All because these cars are so aero-dependent, you can’t drive them in tight quarters without contact, and it doesn’t take much to send a car flying around these days.
The legends of the sport, drivers like Rex White, Travis Tiller, Bobby and Donny Allison, all say the same thing; the cars are the problem, but NASCAR is so committed to this car they refuse to even talk about changing it. They keep looking for other ways to stop a gushing artery. “Let’s find another Band-Aid to stick on it.”
But if you try to tell the powers-that-be what the real problem is, they just blow you off. The drivers of the past have been telling them for years this car has got to go; that it is killing the sport that they poured their sweat and blood into to make it what it is today. To some of these legends it’s like a child; they love this child, but not what the child has become, and they try to offer advice on how to fix it, but NASCAR insists they know what they are doing. They don’t want to hear what the men who know, are telling them.
What is it going to take to get NASCAR to understand that they need a real racer in charge, not someone who doesn’t even like racing? Not someone who only sees dollar signs, but a racer, who loves the sport; a racer who understands what it takes to put on a good show for the fans. I mean, think about it NASCAR; when the fans first stopped coming to the races, you pulled seats out of the tracks to make it look like you were still selling out races, but now, fewer and fewer fans are coming out to the races. What will you do next? Take out all the seats and only do it on a pay-per-view?
I know it seems like I am only bitching, but you know, when you spend 50 years loving something and it gets messed up, you can’t help but want to fix it. And there is a lot that needs to be fixed, or we will all be going to local dirt tracks to watch any form of racing before too long…
Change is needed, and one way or the other change is coming. Where and what changes, is yet to be seen. But the cars, the green drivers who have not paid their dues on short tracks and the rules are killing this sport, slowly but surely and I for one don’t want to see it go.