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More Racing Does Not Always Mean Better Racing

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, July 18 2013

Brian Vickers and his crew had to survive overtime to win in New Hampshire. (RacinToday/HHP photo by Rusty Jarrett)

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor

Some notes and takes:

When Brian Vickers survived the green/white/checkered restart and went on to take the white flag at the end of the New Hampshire race last weekend, there was a feeling of relief. The guy who deserved to win the race, actually won the race in Loudon.

The downside of multiple green/white/checkered restarts – and a major reason why their use should be reconsidered – is they have the annoying potential of depriving the best car/driver combo on the track of the victory.

Vickers, his Michael Waltrip Racing team and fans who love a good story were deserving of the win in Loudon. It would have been a shame if some back-marker with a grudge, some have-not looking to become a have, a dry fuel cell would have sent the race to a second – or third – OT.

GWCs can also produce wonderful late-race action and drama. They can, in fact, increase drama and, even, turn boring races into boring races with fun finishes.

But that action and drama can seem artificial and manufactured.

Some  people freaked when the Indianapolis 500 finished under yellow this year, insisting it was time for racing that dates back 100 years to get with the times. Some understood and think, for a variety of reasons; that’s racin’.

NHRA Funny Car driver Courtney Force appears in ESPN The Magazine’s special edition not wearing her driver’s suit and fire-proof booties. In fact, she appears not wearing anything.

Force says she posed sans clothes to help promote her sport.

“I’m very passionate,” Force said, “about what I do as a Funny Car driver, in the NHRA, and I hope that showcasing how hard we work as drivers and being in this issue can help shine a light onto our sport and capture people’s interest. I’m hoping this can help drive a different audience right into the seats of one of the NHRA Mello Yello events this season.”

Dad, 15-time Funny Car champion John Force, was asked about his daughter’s decision to put the birthday suit back on and pose for a national audience.

“At first,” he said, “I didn’t understand. I was like, ‘Wow’, when I saw my kid, because I had not seen the pictures before. I’m a dad so I don’t really want to look. I started getting the calls. Yeah, a few negatives on TV because of kids watching. But I have to look at the big picture. The world has changed. We have to go to market different. As long as they do it with good taste. I was excited. I thought the nostalgia wasn’t about showing Funny Cars or dragsters. Somebody said, ‘That Mustang, she ran out of gas in the middle of the desert.’ That was the whole idea, to fit anybody that has a street car, loves the desert, loves nostalgia. They do it, you don’t have a say, and they pick the pictures. So far, so good.”

OK, this is getting serious. NASCAR may have to step in as the war of words between Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman has become profane, vile and disgusting.

After Sunday’s Cup race in New Hampshire, Kyle Busch was the first to go crazytown. He acutally – in front of recorders and notebooks – dropped an ‘O’ bomb on Ryan Newman. Yep, called Newman and “ogre”.

Then, this week, Newman responded with the outrageous remark that Busch is (put your hands over the eyes of your children), “not very bright”.

NASCAR is a family sport. No room for this kind of talk.


Next up for Cup is the annual Brickyard 400 at Indianapolis. That has come to mean ESPN takes over the broadcasts from TNT.

We take this occasion to offer one viewer’s list of best and worst television broadcast people:

Anchor: Best – Leigh Diffey. Worst – Adam Alexander.

Analyst: Best – Andy Petree. Worst – Andrew Marriott.

Pit reporter: Best – Jamie Little. Worst – Marty Snyder.

Based on? I like my anchor to be big on home work and knowledge of the sport and its history; I like my analysts to be adept at accurate and astute explanations of what’s going on with drivers and equipment; I like my pit reporters to ask short, good questions and then get out of the way.

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Thursday, July 18 2013


  • Steven says:

    Thanks for your insight. The manipulation of race finishes by Nascar has cheapened the sport. Kind of like seeing Danica in the Daytona 500. WWF stuff at best. I’d like to think that the old stereotype of toothless Nascar fans buying up advertising product feverishly has long gone by.

  • Tony Geinzer says:

    I feel there needs to be a cap again on GWC. Personally, lets retire of GWC for Daytona Talladega and Road Courses. Also, lets let spades be spades. Kurt and Kyle Busch are Grade Quad F Quad Minus Role Models For Kids. I hate throwing the Triple A Triple Plus Standard and Poor’s Horsesense that drove more of us the the Food Pantry, but its true. A good fishing trip, like Tom Higgins said, works when we are civil. Granted, there are more of us than in the 1980s, but, being responsible beats being cool.

  • Gina says:

    Totally agree about the over use of the GWC in NASCAR. I thought it was a bad idea when they started it. It was a kneejerk reaction to provide more “excitement”. Instead it has resulted in lots of wrecked race cars and often the dominant car losing out. If a driver and team have worked all race to be in the best position for a finish, it seems unfair and stupid to me to have it all go out of whack with NASCAR throwing a caution to make it exciting. If the races themselves were better with side by side racing & passing being possible, all the gimmicks wouldn’t be needed.

    I was surprised but very happy that they didn’t restart the race at the Indy 500. That could have produced mayhem as well and at the time I thought, NASCAR needs to look at this and pay attention.