One race down, plenty of questions to go

Feb. 27, 2013 @ 04:59 AM

Today’s disclaimer. The following column is meant to be entertaining and thought provoking. Any resemblance to a Sprint Cup driver or drivers is purely coincidental and in no way mean harm or disrespect to anyone and are the thoughts of an individual.

Remember the catch phrase from The National Enquirer? “Inquiring minds want to know.”

Well, after this past weekend at Daytona I have what I hope are some thought provoking questions that no one can answer. Let me rephrase that. They could be answered but no one will.

Let’s start with Saturday. Wrecks happen! They have always been a part of racing and as long as there are races there will be accidents. Look at the pictures of races from the 50’s and 60’s. Do you know where most of the fans were? Right on the track.

Of course the cars didn’t travel 200 miles per hour either, but as the speeds have increased, so have the safety measures used to protect the fans. The only thing that could have prevented anyone from getting hurt Saturday would have been a higher fence and that wouldn’t change anything. If they were to make the fence 20 feet higher and a tire flew over it would be the same story. The fence did was it was designed to do and that was to “catch” debris. Hence the name catch fence. Anything that disintegrates at 200 miles per hour is destined to scatter debris. I have sat on the fifth row on the front stretch at Darlington and never once did I think about a car coming through the fence. Let’s face it! It happens and NASCAR does not need a knee jerk reaction to go crazy trying to solve something that isn’t broken.

Who initiated the wreck? I’m not saying Brad Keselowski did anything wrong but he was in the same position when Carl Edwards flew into the fence at Talladega. I think that is a strange and eerie coincidence.

Brad didn’t knock Kyle Larson into the fence at Daytona but he was running second and nipped the leader who spun and made all Hades break loose behind him. Brad did the same to Carl. I’ve always been told once is an accident and twice is a trend.

How many times has the winner cut through the infield before starting his burnouts?

A couple of years ago, Chad Knaus was overheard on the radio telling Jimmie Johnson if he won the race to back the car into the wall. That would prevent the car from being inspected properly and NASCAR would not be able to tell if anything was illegal. Chad was fined by NASCAR but who is to say that it didn’t happen again? How was Johnson able to go so fast in the bottom lane? No one had been able to all day! Maybe his car was lower than the other cars and when he won he could drive it through the infield, tear up the front spoiler and thus it couldn’t be inspected properly. I don’t know. Just a thought.

I have two more thoughts from the weekend. Danica Patrick is a race car driver first and a woman second. I feel as though the other drivers (except for Ricky Stenhouse) do not yet respect her ability to drive. As difficult as it is for some of them to accept the idea a woman is beating them, they need to get over it and give her credit. She drove a really good race and should have finished higher but no one trusted her enough to push her to the front. Maybe next time.

The last thought, and I never thought I would say this, but I have a new found respect for Tony Stewart. Oh, he is still arrogant, but the way he handled his interview after winning the Nationwide race Saturday was outstanding and professional. He downplayed his victory and actually showed emotion. Not that Tony will ever know or care what I think but I was very impressed. He said all of the right things during a bad situation.

It’s on to Phoenix. Time to travel across the country for a couple of weeks. I hope the racing is a bit more exciting than Daytona. It will be interesting to see how this Gen6 car will do on the one-mile tracks and if they are more competitive. One thing you won’t see — there ain’t no grass in the infield! Think about that! See you after Phoenix!