Blogs > Nascar: Beyond the Track

Find out what's really going on in NASCAR. Look here to find out why your driver really lost his ride, or the real reason those two drivers can't stand each other. Learn about the hidden motives and reasons for the things that happen in NASCAR, from the drivers to the team owners.

Monday, May 31, 2010

Danica, Ashley Judd, blocking penalties and more

Danica ends month in style
The year of Danica Patrick – full-time Indycar driver and part-time NASCAR driver -- had its first real highlight, as her tough month of May has ended on a high note: A 6th-place Indy 500 finish. You wouldn’t have predicted that at the beginning of the race, as she was running around 25th and seemed destined for another terrible day like she’s had all season in her Indycar ride.

But she slowly made it up through the field, and picked up several positions late due to others pitting for a splash of fuel, and ended up with a very solid run in the biggest race of the year. The trick now: Do it every week. That’s not an easy task, and her team has a lot of work cut out for it.

Ashley Judd vs. possible fatal wreck: Judd wins
I, like any red-blooded male, don’t mind the image of Ashley Judd running around Indianapolis Motor Speedway celebrating a victory by her husband, Dario Franchitti. In fact, I almost expect to see it each year at the Indy 500.

But here’s a note to ABC: There are times you might want to deviate from your plan to show every moment of her celebration of her husband’s win.
For example, When a car has just flown into the fence and you don’t know if the driver inside is alive, I would advise ABC to perhaps move the camera away from Judd for just a few minutes to focus on the rescue efforts. Mike Conway took a hard hit, and thankfully survived mostly unscathed, but it would have been nice if the network acted like it cared.

I’ll put it to you this way, ABC: If Mike Conway had died and you were focusing on the happy wife, people might be a little annoyed with you. Don’t worry, Ashley will be back in another sundress in 2011.

Blocking penalty? Isn’t that the point?
I must air a grievance here, and say that I never understood the idea of a “blocking” penalty, like John Andretti got in the 500. Isn’t the point of racing to hold your position? If they’re fast enough, they’ll pass you eventually, no matter how much you “block”.

I can see some rare examples, like a car a dozen laps down purposely blocking the leader. But Andretti was just trying to avoid being passed, and if he can hold off the guy trying to pass I don’t see any harm. Racers do not like to give positions away, and it seems far too often that big-name drivers feel like they are entitled to get around someone without actually doing the work. They basically expect people to pull over, a concept I’ll never understand.

Teammate fights in Formula 1
Hooray for the new era of Formula 1 racing, where team orders seem to be disappearing. I remember back when Rubens Barichello would just pull over for Michael Schumacher, and it would drive me crazy as a fan, and that’s how it was with all the major teams for many years.

On Sunday in the Turkish Grand Prix, two sets of teammates made it clear they’re not going to let team affiliation stop them from racing their hardest at all times. For team Red Bull, it was disaster though, as Sebastian Vettel tried to aggressively pass teammate Mark Webber, but ended up knocking himself out of the race. He also knocked Webber out of the lead, and into third. The two Red Bull drivers are among the favorites for the title, and it appears they won’t be best friends this year. Webber was clearly not happy after the race.
Finishing 1-2 were McLaren’s Lewis Hamilton and Jenson Button, who also battled side-by-side for a while and nearly wrecked each other before Hamilton pulled ahead. It’s clear both these former champions want to win the title again.

The lesson of all this battling, which is very rare for Formula 1: At these teams, two of the top teams in the sport, there is no No. 1 driver, and that’s probably the case at many other teams. That’s good news for fans who want to watch good racing and not people pulling over to let teammates pass.

Formula 1 coming back to U.S.
On another Formula 1 note, the series will return to the U.S. in 2012, at a brand new track that will be built in Austin, Texas. I sure didn’t see that one coming.

I can’t picture Lewis Hamilton or Michael Schumacher wearing a cowboy hat and cowboy boots, thought it would be hilarious to see. Seriously, though, I hope this plan goes off well and the race stays around for a long time. The biggest racing series in the world should make a stop here every year.

Become a fan of the Facebook page NASCARBeyond


Post a Comment

Subscribe to Post Comments [Atom]

<< Home