Summer is here in Dallas, and its getting hot. Might even hit triple digits this weekend. But that didn't stop me from making it to the track last night to see the CTS running at TMS. Here are a couple of random thoughts.
The Candy Man:
I decided to listen to Kyle Busch on the scanner most the night and first and foremost, his channel is not 'family friendly'. Be prepared for numerous 'F'-bombs and other words on George Carlin's '7 words your can't say on TeVee'. But once you filter through that, one can see and hear that this driver has 'it'. 'It' being that unique combination of skill and daring that sets them apart from the field. Early in the race, he (yes he, and not his CC) chose to give up track position and make major changes to the front end of the truck, under a caution by opening the hood and adjusting the front suspension. The 51 team not only did this once, but twice under the first two cautions. Both times falling back to the rear of the field.
One of my main complaints over the years with 'my driver', Elliott Sadler, is when the car 'stinks' early in a race, many times the choice is to not to try to fix the car, but to 'go for track position' with a two tire stop or even by staying out. More times than not, this strategy does not work. And last night, watching the 51 truck only solidifies my opinion.
What a difference a spotter makes:
I am not sure if Busch's spotter was his regular CUP spotter, but after listening to Brett Griffin for 9 or so years, Brett should be offering a school on how to be an effective spotter. From the drop of the first green flag, where the 51 spotter said; 'pace car is off.......hold...hold....there he goes...' to 'car high......car high.....almost.....almost....you got him', I was dismayed at the lack of precise spotter to driver communication. It will be refreshing to hear Brett and his immediate 'clear' or 'green flag' tomorrow. On race day Brett, you still da man! (Now if we can just work on that Monday thru Thursday 'PR' stuff)
Where is David Hoots when you need him:
I think last night was the first NASCAR event I have attended live and with a scanner where Race Director David Hoots was not in control, and it showed. Cautions, especially late in the race took an eternity to go back to green, and I don't think it was because of the severity of the wrecks or the cause of cautions. It just seemed to be a reactive attempt on the part of RACE CONTROL to get the track race ready and not proactive. From finding debris 4 or 5 laps into caution, or deciding to bring 3 jet dryers on the track to blow stay-dry that had been placed on the apron. Note to who ever was in the tower; and Kyle Busch said it best. "We don't race down there." And then after all of that, finally taking account for the Lucky dog, thus losing one more green flag lap. I guess it just gives you a greater appreciation for the job David Hoots does and has done over the years. I know someday David will retire, I just hope there is someone waiting in the wings to take the ball and go to the mound.
Dirt is for Farming!!!!:
I just read Steve Wronkowicz' blog from On Pit Row about the Prelude to a Dream race held earlier this week. He thinks and others agree that the CUP series should run a race on the dirt and I agree as well. But I do have a different spin from simply running a race at one of the ARCA dirt tracks. Many years ago, I wrote a commentary on CatchFence.com concerning this very issue. So hear me out.
If Bristol can cover a track with 36 degree banking with dirt and run sprint and modified cars, then why couldn’t some other track do that? This track would have to be at least (or close to) a mile in length, and have a long enough pit road to accommodate up to 43 cars. I am thinking that a track that is currently not on the Cup schedule should be used in this venture. A track that is wide, relatively flat, and in a pretty large ‘market’ area.
The perfect track that fits this bill just might be Gateway International Speedway near St. Louis, Mo. The flat, egg shaped oval would offer some great challenges to all CUP teams and some great racing to boot.
Of course, there would be some other logistics other than simply putting a dirt surface on the track. Would you also cover pit road with the same surface? For safety reasons alone, I would leave pit road alone as I wouldn’t want to put the over the wall crews in any more danger with a slicker surface than what is already being used.
Could NASCAR and some savvy engineers make this work? I really don't know, but what a sight and spectacle it would be. I'd go for sure.
On to the IRL race tonight and Danica Mania'