Woody: As Exciting As Watching A Tank Dry
Larry Woody |Senior Writer
Tony Stewart should change his nickname from “Smoke” to “Fumes.”
After going winless through NASCAR’s regular season, Stewart has won back-to-back Chase races by getting superior gas mileage.
Or at least that’s what I hear; I didn’t watch much of last Sunday’s race at New Hampshire or the previous week’s event at Chicagoland. There was some paint drying on the barn and I went out to watch it. It was about as exciting as watching the races, and without the banal commentary and commercials.
I don’t know what the solution is, but NASCAR better find one soon. Many more races like the last two and its playoff TV ratings will be competing with celebrity bowling.
I’m not sure what we’ve been watching the last couple of weeks but its not racing. In racing, somebody passes someone once in awhile instead of just driving around in circles until everybody runs out of gas.
Drivers insist there’s lots of drama involved in a fuel-mileage race and I suppose that’s true
from their vantage point. If I’m going down the interstate on a dark and stormy night, my gas gauge reads “Empty” and the next exit is 10 miles down the road, it’ll be fairly interesting from my perspective. But I don’t expect someone to buy a ticket or watch on TV to see if I can make it.
Maybe I’m just getting absent-minded, but during my previous 40 years of covering NASCAR it seemed like the racing used to be a tad more intense and competitive. Back then they had something called “passing.” Sometimes drivers bumped into each other in the process. It tended to make the races more interesting. Now it’s all about pit stops and fuel conservation.
If your idea of excitement is watching somebody change a tire you ought to hang out at the corner filling station. The restroom lines are shorter and you won’t have to fight race traffic.
I recall an era when fans argued over who was the fastest racer. I suppose a few years from now there will be heated debates about which of today’s NASCAR drivers got the best gas mileage.
I’m kidding – well, sort of. Tony Stewart is a tough, hard-nosed driver and sputtering to victory is probably not the way he prefers to win races. But a win is a win, and after going 0-26 during the regular season, getting two in a row is a relief.
I don’t blame Tony or anyone else for taking them any way they can get them. But it sure is boring to watch.
And another peeve: After his wins, Stewart gave credit to his engines provided by Hendrick Motorsports. That’s same Hendrick Motorsports for whom three Chase drivers race –Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Dale Earnhardt Jr.
I suppose it’s a business decision, selling engines to the enemy, but I’ll never understand the mindset of helping the competition beat your drivers. But that’s what Hendrick has done the last two weeks, providing Tony with the wherewithal to beat Johnson, Gordon and Earnhardt and souring their championship chances in the process.
That’s another reason why it seems like Tony’s rivals would be fuming.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments