The Contrived 400

Another race is in the can.

It certainly could have been worse. Not many can be disappointed by Paul Menard’s victory. Regardless that his career has been family financed, he has worked hard, stayed out of trouble, always gives an enjoyable interview and has shown decent ability. This week his team put him in position to win, and Paul did an excellent job of keeping it.

However, if it weren’t for Nascar‘s inability to restrain itself from interfering, the outcome would no doubt have been very different. If they had thrown the yellow every time someone brushed the wall like they did for the 18, there would have been more cautions than the “tiregate” race of  ’08. Up until then it was just another less than mediocre race at IMS. Nascar probably realized – like, I presume, many of us viewers – something must be done. I know what should be done, but that’s not going to happen any time soon. As I’ve said before, Nascar’s solution for tracks that don’t lend themselves to good racing is giving them another race.

Rarely have I noticed Mr. Helton in Victory Lane, but he had good reason to be there Sunday. His organization played a big role in the outcome of the race.

I can only think of 2 reasons why the racing at IMS is less than desirable: 1. the drivers are in such awe of the place (as they indicate in interviews), that they can’t devote all of their attention to racing; 2. Stock Cars shouldn’t be racing there. First, the “awe” is derived from the long history of Indy-type cars racing at such a mammoth facility, and I don’t believe the drivers are anything but focused once the flag drops. That leaves 2.

As sorry as the state of the Nationwide Series is – some trouble filling the field, 1/4 of the cars without sponsors, 1/4 of the field parking in the first 10% of the race – the racing at IRP/ORP/LOR is still more exciting than at the other track near Indianapolis.

OK. OK. I’ll shut up about it. At least for a year. I should have listened to what my mother used to say (as I’m sure yours did too): “If you can’t say something nice about a race track, don’t say anything at all”. I got one! You could play 3 holes of golf and then jump in the lake.

Generally speaking, if pit strategy has to be such an important part of racing, wouldn’t it be more interesting to watch the drivers have to conserve tires rather than fuel?

7.30.79: At Pocono, Harry Gant, on McCreary tires, got his first pole. The tires would not hold up during the race.

Ned WAS in the booth but he didn’t say anything about what’s up with Donnie Richeson.

Ref:, Greg Fielden’s “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing”, Richard Sowers’ “The Complete Statistical History of Stock-Car Racing”.



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