Monday, November 13, 2017

40 Random Thoughts After a Wild Weekend At Phoenix

1.     When you wreck the Most Popular Driver, you get booed and called a “dirty driver.” When the Most Popular Driver wrecks you back two weeks later, he is praised for “standing up for himself.” Do not attempt to make sense of these two statements.

2.     Most NASCAR fans are less interested in what happened than who did it.

3.     That’s because “fan” is short for “fanatic” and fanatics are generally not the most logical people on the planet.

4.     Fans root with their hearts, not their heads. And that is a wonderful thing, even though it makes them a little crazy sometimes.

5.     Hang around this sport long enough and you will hear the words, “Red flag! The wall is on fire.”

6.     Kevin Harvick is lurking like a vulture on a low branch right now. He’s not the hottest driver in NASCAR, but he might be the hottest driver on Sunday night. And that’s all it takes.

7.     Of all the drivers I expected to see shed tears in Victory Lane, Matt Kenseth was ranked 272,603rd. And it was awesome.

8.     Kenseth and Dale Earnhardt, Jr., arrived in NASCAR at the same time. And it is somehow fitting that they appear set to leave together, as well.

9.     I hate the fact that Kenseth is effectively being forced out of his ride, in favor of a younger driver. And if I was Joe Gibbs, I would almost certainly make the exact same call.

10.  Complaints are a dime a dozen. Solutions are tougher to come by.

11.  All you Hendrick-haters, enjoy it while you can. Because Jimmie and Chad aren’t going to take this lying down.

12.  Father Time is undefeated.

13.  During driver introductions, the best thing to hear is cheering. The worst thing to hear is not booing, however. It is silence.

14.  Kenseth telling “Dad Jokes” in the post-race press conference? Pure gold.

15.  Those who dislike the “winner take all” championship format at Homestead Miami Speedway are too young to remember when the late Dale Earnhardt showed up at Atlanta Motorsport Speedway for the season finale wearing the champion’s leather jacket he earned two weeks earlier.

16.  Or when Jimmie Johnson showed up at Homestead Miami Speedway needing to finish 27th to clinch the title. #Exciting

17.  Trevor Bayne hit the wall so hard, it hurt ME.

18.  There are two kinds of NASCAR fans; those who say they get charged-up by the wrecks, and liars.

19.  Brad Keselowski is playing with house money this weekend at Homestead. And that should worry the competition.

20.  Daniel Hemric and Cole Custer raced their asses off Saturday in Phoenix -- with a playoff berth on the line -- and nobody got wrecked. Nicely done, boys.

21.  My guy is a saint. Your guy is a jerk. Nothing will ever change those facts, so stop expecting it.

22.  This sport needs more guys like Landon Cassill and Matt DiBenedetto. You know… goofy.

23.  “What goes around, comes around” is more than just a cliché. It is the truth, especially in a sport as volatile and testosterone-rich as stock car racing.

24.  Avoid clichés like the plague.

25.  Ryan Blaney is going to be a huge star in this sport.

26.  The same goes for Kyle Larson, Erik Jones, William Byron, Daniel Suarez and a bunch of other kids under the age of 23.

27.  In fact, I’m not sure NASCAR has ever been as flush with outstanding young talent as it is today.

28.  No offense, but remember when guys like Kevin Conway won Rookie of the Year in the Cup Series just by showing up for some of the races?

29.  Austin Cindric is an aggressive, rookie driver whose exuberance and desire to win sometimes put his fellow competitors at risk. This pisses of some of those fellow competitors, who did exactly the same thing when they were rookies.

30.  Many of those fellow competitors seem to be harboring grudges against young Mr. Cindric, which is disconcerting for anyone betting on him to win the 2017 Camping World Truck Series championship this weekend at Homestead Miami Speedway.

31.  Is it just me, or does William Byron have that “All American Boy” thing, down-pat?

32.  If Chase Elliott wins the season-finale at Homestead, it’ll be okay with me. The kid’s due.

33.  Denny Hamlin winning would be good for a few extra storylines, as well.

34.  And while we’re at it, Brendan Gaughan parking it in Victory Lane in what is (almost certainly) his final NASCAR start would also be a bit of a heart warmer.

35.  JR Motorsports has quietly assembled an Xfinity Series dynasty. Compared to where they were five years ago, three cars in the Championship Four is an amazing achievement.

36.  Kyle Busch is getting along with everyone this season, and contending for a championship. Those two statements have something to do with each other.

37.  In sports, you don’t get what you deserve, you get what you earn. If that were not true, Martin Truex, Jr., would be a MENCS champion by now.

38.  And Elliott Sadler would have a half-dozen Xfinity titles on his mantle.

39.  You cannot feud with your fellow drivers and win a championship at the same time.

40.  Austin Cindric, read No. 39 again.


  1. J. Snyder1:33 PM

    Did you bring these tablets down from the mountain? They speak volumes about our sport. You can change the names and these truisms can be inserted in every division at every track and series in the country!

  2. It's a great day to be a NASCAR fanatic, for these 40 reasons.

  3. Anonymous5:59 PM

    I think the Hamlin/Elliott feud is just beginning. I know Coach doesn't like to mix it up but Kenseth kept the last hope Chevy had for getting into the Championship out of the show. Hamlin won't forget what happened at Phoenix in spite of his comments after the crash and he doesn't seem to care about being the most popular driver on the track.

    Thw wild card in all of this is Busch. Next week may be his second championship if the racing is clean and there is no interference from the Chevy drivers. Just my opinion.

    One last thing. Jr is going to be missed in the sport, not because of being a fan favorite but by being a class act most of these younger drivers should aspire to. I hope the sport survives without him.

    Pistonhead in Texas

  4. I hate the winner-take-all playoff format and I do remember when Earnhardt clinched the title in 1991 by simply starting as well as when the same thing happened in 1986 and 1987 as well as 1994 and the other seasons where the champion was clinched well before the last race. The answer to that issue was never a playoff format, it was simply increasing the point total for each race win and increasing the point bonus for most laps led per race - make wins and laps led erase the points damage of DNFs and thus incentivize going for the win, no matter the race.

    Great advice about silence toward drivers during intros - it's why I say nothing when a driver I don't respect is introduced.