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Wednesday, June 17, 2009

Ignore the haters … Road courses are true test of what drivers are great

Twice each year, the haters come out of the woodwork.

These are the people who are afraid of right turns, and blast the races at Sears Point and Watkins Glen as terrible wastes of time. They would rather see even more oval races added to the schedule, in place of these two weekends.

They don’t like the slower racing and constant turning of the road courses, and long for another trip to a superspeedway.

What these fans don’t realize is that every track can’t be Talladega and the road courses are a true test of talent … the places where they will see the men separated from the boys. The cars may not be four-wide, but it’s still a good show most of the time.

A road course is the ultimate test of a driver, and completes the resume of the greatest drivers of all time. Don’t believe me? Look at the list of road course winners of the past: Jeff Gordon, Kyle Busch, Mark Martin, Rusty Wallace, Dale Earnhardt and so on.

And watching ringers like Boris Said and Ron Fellows come up through the field at these events, storming by Cup drivers who normally are the ones marching to the front, you see just how hard it is to achieve success on a road course.

I would go even further and say that a road course should be included in the Chase. If a driver is going to be champ, he should be able to handle a few right turns. I recognize this is unlikely, but it makes a ton of sense to me.

So those of you who hate the road courses can make some other plans for Sunday, while I and the other true race fans find out which Cup drivers are the complete deal as racers.

I repeat: Danica is not coming to NASCAR
I see a new story every day about Danica Patrick possibly coming to NASCAR, I repeat: Don’t believe the hype. As I said weeks ago, Danica is the queen of hype (and terrible commercials), and all this talk of “I’m exploring all options” is just a way to get more money from her new Indycar deal that she'll sign in the fall. She’s not a stock car driver and never will be a stock car driver. Those who promote it as possible are falling for her hype machine's nonsense.

Good and bad news about Indy
The good news: Goodyear’s tire at Indy should be good to go, after endless tire tests, so everyone is celebrating. Goodyear officials are “100 percent” sure that we won’t have to talk about a race where the drivers had to pit every 9 laps.

The bad news: It’s still Indy, a track that has never done well for stock car racing, and the race will still likely be boring … but at least we’ll be able to call it a race, unlike last year.

Benson out of hospital
Grand Rapids native Johnny Benson has been released from the hospital after he was admitted following a scary wreck this weekend at a local track in Michigan. Johnny’s a good guy and didn’t deserve to lose his ride, so I wish him well in his recovery and expect to see him in a race car or truck very soon.

Bad week for Mayfield so far
Things aren’t going so well for Jeremy Mayfield this week. First, he’s being sued for more than $80,000 for parts and chassis work. Considering he’s not working right now, that’s a lot of money to owe someone.

Also, NASCAR is claiming that an expert for his side as he fights his suspension for the allegedly failed drug test does not have the medical credentials he claims to have.

From the looks of things, even if he can work a miracle and get the right to drive again, Mayfield’s team might be too broke for him to do it.


Anonymous Dan said...

Matt: this just simply amazes me; comes out of your head--that you call yourself "an unhealthy addicit to anything NASCAR":

"The bad news: It’s still Indy, a track that has never done well for stock car racing, and the race will still likely be boring … but at least we’ll be able to call it a race, unlike last year..."

For friggin chrissakes will you get a life? Many in the mainstream and "citizen" media show their ignorance when they write "boring." I just don't get your kind Matt. Is you generation so figidty that anything that isn't Twittering or vibrating (text wise) every minute of every day is boring?

Indy has produced some of the greatest stock car moments and racing there has been in its short history. I was there as a fan at the first one and it was gonna be an absolute classic battle down to the wire when Ernie Irvan blew his tire out. Dale Jarrett and Ernie Irvan battling for the win on the same team for 2 races in later years. I covered the race for a mag in 2000. Dale Earnhardt's great victory. Ricky Rudd's, Jeff Gordon's multiple wins. Kevin Harvick's for RCR. There have been planty of battles all day at Indy. It has become one of the most premier races in the world and while it isn't fake Talladega passing(competition?), there is plenty of drama at Indy.

I really think you need to do something else Matt. You just do. Anyone finds Indy boring is just in the wrong profession. You just are and you need to take your negative crap and go home and stay there. If it's boring what does that say about you? watching and covering something that is boring? Go cover hockey or the NBA. Quit leaving your supreme words of wisdom for the rest of us losers here who find Indy the ultimate competitive venue. You have no clue whatsover Matt. I wish I could help you see.

June 17, 2009 at 6:23 AM 
Anonymous Ed said...

Matt just a simple Internet search to refresh your memory of how "boring" Indy is will show the opposite. In my other post of course I was so mad that I forgot to mention Bill Elliot's great victory in Ray's Dodge; where Rusty Wallace got run down 2 different years while leading late and lose the win; how about Tony Stewart's great victories there? The drama and competition go on and on. It's only this short attention span (SAS) generation I will call it that thinks things are "boring" because they don't have a long enough memory beyond the last "Twitter" or Tweet to think straight...there have been some good things that come from your keyboard Matt and then there have been some goofy things...The comment about Indy is one of the goofiest thing to come out of your head. I would be dying to get your butt in a crew suit and see how long you would last out there on race day, let alone the weekend...I know I know you were simply doing a David Letterman, 'didn't mean to say' but like him you did and it was and is trash. Indy may not produce the passes for the lead this year and maybe it's the CoT, who knows? But last year were a lot of lead changes and the CoT was there of course. Michigan, one of the most comeptitive tracks on the circuit (where your feeble memory doesn't know that 3-wide all day used to be the norm not the exception) produced nearly the fewest lead changes this past weekend than ever before (11). Used to they would have 11 by 50 laps. So it's the CoT that is producing less than stellar racing, not the venue. Indy produces great racing...Let your panzy butt go down into a square corner at 200mph and see if you get out of the car and call it "boring." I will say what Jeff Burton said to a "reporter" about Bristol when the guy said "boring." If you think Indy is boring racing that's the stupiest question you could ask and I have nothing more to say to you, except this: if you haven't Matt, you need to get your paper to send you to a racing school or pay $350 yourself and see how boring this is...I did. I was at the Charlotte media tour in 2001 and got a ride with rookie (white helmet) Kurt Busch for 3 laps around LMS. And lemme tell ya I came out of there dazed and amazed of how hard it must be and demading racing is...And this comes from a guy who worked at a 1/2 mile dirt racetrack when I was 12 when Ralph Earnhardt reigned supreme; and who worked for James Hylton a bit when he was finishing in the top five in points and who worked for DiGrad a bit when Gary Nelson was there and worked a bit for Race Hill Farm and Ron Bouchard and was on the winning Grand National team at Ron's darlington victory and who later in the late 90s went on the write for a racing magazine for 4 years...I was blown away by 3 laps at speed with Busch and what you felt in that car the G forces and the wind was blowing hard that day and how he held the wheel straight on the back straight and we were nearly all over the track and the height of the banking and walls and how in the world could these guys do this with 42 other cars around them for 3-4 hours in the heat...Tell me what boring is.

·Closest Margin of Victory: 0.183 of a second – 1997
·Largest Margin of Victory: 4.229 seconds – 2000
·Fastest Winning Time/Average Speed: 2 hours, 33 minutes, 56 seconds; 155.912 mph, Bobby Labonte,
Aug. 5, 2000
·Slowest Winning Time/Average Speed: 3 hours, 29 minutes, 56 seconds; 115.037 mph, Jeff Gordon,
Aug. 8, 2004
·Most Lead Changes, Single Race: 26 – 2008
·Most Drivers to Lead in a Single Race: 16 – 2008
·Fewest Lead Changes, Single Race: 9 – 2000, 2004
·Fewest Drivers to Lead in a Single Race: 5 – 1998

June 17, 2009 at 7:27 AM 
Blogger Matt Myftiu said...

Re: Indy, here's my take on it.

I have no lack of respect for the track and its history. I have been there and stood in awe of its hugeness and importance in the racing world. I also recognize that the Indy 500 is often a great race, and there has been an occasional Brickyard that was interesting, and know it is not an easy track to drive.

When it comes to Cup though, I don't see how NASCAR fits at Indy.
To me, exciting doesn't have to mean Talladega racing, just good racing and battling for positions all day, and preferably some on-track passes for the lead. I must have some kind of amnesia, because I don't recall seeing that happen in most races at the Brickyard.

I recognize that NASCAR is the biggest motorsport in American, and Indy is the most famous track in America, so I understand the race will continue on for a long time. But in a nutshell, the track may be great and historic, but I don't think it provides a thrilling Cup race on a regular basis, and I would have said that before last year's debacle.

I hope I am proven wrong and you are proven right next month.

I appreciate the insight,

June 17, 2009 at 9:39 AM 
Anonymous Anonymous said...

It may be fun to watch a road race if you're at the track, but on TV it is more boring than watching grass grow. If I wanted to watch drivers turning right, I would be a fan of another series instead of Nascar.

June 17, 2009 at 10:37 AM 

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