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(photo source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page)

Since the race was on Monday- there seem to be fewer lugnuts pinging around my brain than normal- but here are the few that are pinging around. One gets a little soapboxy…so sorry about that.  Let’s get to them shall we?

1. First and foremost on my mind is Brad Keselowski and his comments about Jeff Gordon in the booth.  According to Sports Nation this is what Brad said:

“They need to get some people that aren’t inbred to the sport and own teams and have internal knowledge, because that is pretty crappy. It is what it is,” Keselowski added, via ESPN. “It’s not that I don’t like Jeff Gordon in the booth, it’s just that you need to have people in the booth that don’t own teams or have commercial interests to the sport, because they say things that are very biased.”

So first thing I am going to address is Brad using the term “inbred” in his statement because I have seen comments from several Jeff Gordon fan’s who have taken extreme offense to that term.  I do not think (and I could be wrong) that brad meant it as an affront to Jeff Gordon- stating that he is inbred.  I think that was just a poor choice of wording on Brad’s part. I think Brad meant it more in the way that one would use the words ingrained or inherent not in the “persons conceived of breeding between two closely related individuals” sort of sense.

However I do not agree with his assertion that Jeff Gordon shouldn’t be announcing in the booth because he is biased because he has a commercial interest in a team on the track. You can NOT tell me that any announcer or reporter for that matter is not biased in some fashion or other. It’s how they deal with that bias. While yes Jeff Gordon is financially involved in a race team on track (in an owner role with Jimmie Johnson’s team) it’s not like he is sitting there jabbering on and on about how great Jimmie is and that is it it. Jeff provides insight into the race from a fairly current driver stand point- he is more familiar with the cars than the other announcers. I appreciate and like his insights above all the other announcers to be frank (although Mike Joy is a close second). I would rather hear the race from the point of view from an announcer/commentator that knows the sport from the inside than have say…an ex-football player who knows nothing about racing sitting up there trying to commentate on what is happening on the track. I am sure that football fans would rather hear their games commentated on by ex-players and coaches than by say…ex tennis players who don’t know the sport. See where I am going with this? Do I want John McEnroe commentate a NASCAR race? Um no, not really. I want to hear about it from someone who knows what it’s like in that car, and who knows what officials are looking at.  It’s not like Jeff Gordon is the one that reported the possible hip check by the jack man on Brad’s car. He was just explaining it and the penalty and comparing it to a similar penalty in Vegas (which I would compare it to as well). They explained it on the MRN broadcast too (for those of us who had to listen instead of watch because of work obligations.  Brad’s not being picked on. Tony’s team got penalized for illegal body modification prior to a race last week at Charlotte- it was why he started at the rear of the field and why his crew chief is now on probation through the end of the year. I really do not understand what Brad’s issue is. Does that mean Dale Jr shouldn’t commentate before the Xfinity race series? It just seems like a pointless complaint. Plus- and I mentioned this on twitter- what does it really matter to Brad since that he is in the car and not listening to the commentary anyway.


(photo source: Tony Stewart Official Store Facebook Page)

With the long weekend it seems like all my posts have been pushed off by a day because honestly- I was hiking with the dogs and not thinking about writing blog posts…and I readily admit it. Sometimes even an Amy needs a break. But this is what has been pinging around my brain this week like lugnuts in a pitbox during a green flag pit stop:

1. I am not the only one off by a day. NASCAR announced their post race penalties on Wednesday this week instead of their usual Tuesday- likely because of the holiday.  Smoke fans seem up in arms about Tony Stewart crew chief Mike Bugarewicz (wow that was the first time I spelled it right without having to look it up all season) being placed on probation through the rest of the 2016 season because of the unapproved body modification that was done as the car was being pushed out to the grid on Sunday. This was the reason Tony Stewart dropped to 39th position before the start of the race despite having qualified 21st for the Coca-Cola 600. The penalty seems fair to me. However accidental the modification was the body was still modified.  It’s no different than in March of 2015 when Paul Wolfe was put on suspension after the crew was caught pulling out the side fenders on the 2 car prior to qualifying for the 2015 Kobalt 400.  The crew chief is responsible for the crew right?  As a fan I hate for my driver and his team but I understand that it has to be done.

2. There were quite a few other penalties dished out this week including: Brian Pattie, crew chief for Greg Biffle, who was fined $50,000, suspended from all NASCAR points events through June 15, and placed on NASCAR probation through Dec. 31. Additionally the 16 team has been assessed with the loss of 15 championship owner and 15 championship driver points. This was also do to unapproved body modification. Crew Chiefs Tony Gibson (Kurt Busch) and Randall Burnett (AJ Allmendinger) were each suspended from competition for the Pocono weekend, fined $20,000, and placed on probation through the remainder of the season  for lugnut violations.  Paul Menard is docked 15 minutes of practice time at Pocono for pre-race inspection issue. The teams of Aric Almirola, Dale Earnhardt Jr., Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth all received written warnings for pre-qualifying inspection issues.  Whew- is that a load of penalties for one race or what?

3. In cased you missed the NASCAR RACEDAY interview Kenny Wallace did with Tony Stewart you can view that here:  (more…)

I just want to take second to THANK everyone for all the support for the last post (the Open Letter To GMA). It was truly overwhelming to see how many of you out there not just felt the same way as I did but shared the link, shared your thoughts (either on the original post, on FaceBook, on twitter)! While I have no doubt that my letter did little in the overall scheme of things- especially judging on the ABC Nightly News coverage this evening, I like to think that us fans banding together at least showed that Tony Stewart fans NASCAR fans are not blind to slanted, biased reporting.  Hopefully it somehow got back to Tony and his people that we support him on a wide scale. Onto the actual post.

I think after the post-race antics last Saturday night, most of the NASCAR world was waiting and watching to see what the NASCAR sanctioning body would dole out.  I know I certainly was. In case that you haven’t heard yet (and I know most of you have) these were the penalties doled out by NASCAR today:

Brad Keselowski was fined $50,000 and placed on probation through the Phoenix race. Tony Stewart was fined $25,000 and placed on probation through the Phoenix race.

I know everyone has thoughts on what should and should NOT have been done with the penalties. I know I certainly do and judging by some of the things I read on social media afterwards my thoughts may not be the most popular ones. So I ask that you approach my thoughts with an open mind- and remember these are MY opinions and nothing more.

What NASCAR Did Right (more…)

I really do NOT want to continue to beat a dead horse by going into the Richmond stuff again- but I feel that I have to respond to the penalties that followed the NASCAR race at Richmond especially after I posted my opinions on what happened during the race and what I thought NASCAR should do and what I thought they would do (which as I mentioned were two separate things). I posted an initial reaction to the penalties on my Facebook page, and retweeted several tweets if you follow me there- but I really feel the need to expound on what I said in both places.

Well, I think the first thing is all of us to remind ourselves, it’s a sport.  It has a tremendous amount of fun to it.  Occasionally, and particularly our role, is to regulate the sport and police it and officiate it so that everybody has got a reasonable playing field to participate in.  So we have days like today that we run across and have challenges that our role is to react to, and this is one of those days.-- Mike Helton, NASCAR President (source: 9-9-13 press conference transcript)


I wasn’t going to discuss the roe between Carl and Brad more than I did on my previous post.  I was, literally, all set to publish my next entry (about NASCAR -related commercials if you are curious) when I found out that Carl Edwards was given a three race probation for his antics with Brad Keselowski at Atlanta on Sunday.  So I have to interrupt my own regularly scheduled post to rant a bit.

Now, I realize that NASCAR is trying to loosen the reigns on the drivers so that the drivers can feel free to be a bit more aggressive with their driving.  I get that and frankly I agree with it and am all for it.  But wow…this wasn’t a little bit of aggressive driving gone too far. This was a blatant attempt to take out another driver- revenge style. This was not a bump and run,  this was an all-out crash and burn.  Add that to the fact that national broadcast commentators told us several times during the race that Atlanta is THE FASTEST track (because of restrictor plates being used on the super speedways) right now in the series- it’s really scary! It’s one thing to bump a guy’s bumper to make a point or rub some fenders making a pass. It is a completely other thing to take a 3400 pound race car at speeds of 190+ mph and purposely aim for another guy also in a 3400 pound car, also going 190+ mph, for two laps.  That is not being an aggressive driver- that is being a vigilante.  While neither Brad nor Carl are favorite drivers of mine I don’t want to see ANYONE get hurt. Do I want to see some exciting racing? YES. Do I want to see ANY driver or fan (or crew member, track official etc) maimed or killed? ABSOLUTELY NO!

A huge part of me wants to bring up the whole Kurt Busch/Tony Stewart Bud Shootout practice from 2008. That really didn’t put anyone in danger. That was expressing some frustration.  The bumping was fairly low speed; neither Kurt nor Tony were pointing their cars at each other going 190+ in front of a grandstand filled with spectators. Yet if memory serves correct Tony got put on probation for an entire year (and there may have been points and monetary fines as well I don’t remember honestly- it was a long time ago and my brain is nearly filled to capacity).

I mean I know that I am kind of comparing apples to oranges in a way since the Kurt/Tony incident happened two years ago before NASCAR adapted their looser stance on penalties. But let’s be honest here…what the heck is probation going to do? Nothing. Just make Carl mind his p’s and q’s for a couple races? That’s like slapping a kid’s hand for getting in the cookie jar- then giving them a cookie– in my opinion (obviously you can probably tell by my analogy that I am not a parent).

Mostly I guess I just was using this post to try to work through why NASCAR would do a 180 and be so lenient. As always comments are totally welcome….