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Woody: A Race Only Jacques Cousteau Could Love

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 26 2009
David Reutimann gets the word that he won his first Sprint Cup race. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images for NASCAR)

David Reutimann gets the word that he won his first Sprint Cup race. (Photo by Scott Halleran/Getty Images for NASCAR)

By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

You hate to see a nice guy like David Reutimann, who has worked as long and hard to win a Cup race as he has, apologize when he finally gets one.

But that’s the kind of NASCAR season it’s been.

Reutimann won Monday’s rain-delayed, rain-shortened, watered-down Coca-Cola 600 by staying out when rain started to fall for the umpteenth time in the two-day marathon event.

In his victory speech Reutimann should have thanked the weatherman, who made it all possible.

A win is a win is a win. But it’s probably not the way David dreamed it would be when he was a little kid lying in his bunk at night with visions of checkered flags dancing his head.

Understand, it’s not Reutimann’s fault that the big event was a washout. But what a damp shame for one of NASCAR’s showcase events.

The premier Daytona 500 slogged to a similar soggy conclusion with Matt Kenseth the winner of the Lucky Water-Dog Award.

I wonder if the FOX announcers got paid by the word? Never has so much been said by so many about so little.

Again, it’s not the announcer’s fault that they were forced to squeeze 30 minutes of information into eight hours.

I assume if they’d had a vote they’d have tossed the telecast back to the station where they could have gone to some sort of alternate programming – old cowboys movies, Lassie re-runs, Lawrence Welk – anything.

On TV it appeared that most of the fans had left/drowned by the time NASCAR finally pulled the plug.

Back home, in between checking on the race status, I mowed my lawn, painted the deck, mastered classical guitar, grew a beard and became fluent in Portuguese.

Rain remains racing’s nemesis. It’s the one thing – maybe the only thing – that NASCAR can’t control. I assume it’s working on it.

It’s a serious hang-up. If a fan goes to the Super Bowl he knows he’s going to see a football game. But if a fan goes to a big NASCAR race he may or may not see a race. At least not at the announced time and for the advertised distance.

And that brings me to my Pet Peeve: counting caution laps at the start of a race.

That’s absurd. Dry the track and start the race, but don’t use the race to dry the track. The fans get short-changed by paying to see “racing” laps run under caution. Better to cut the race short at the end than to count caution laps at the start.

Again, blame it on the rain.

There’s only one good thing that could possibly come out of the kind of downpours we sat through during the weekend’s Mildew 600:

Maybe Digger drowned. 

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Tuesday, May 26 2009
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