NBC Sports ran this great ad during the Super Bowl, starring Nick Offerman, espousing the bad-ass virtues of NASCAR and inviting you to “get some NASCAR in your life”.
Wouldn’t it be great if Crazy Uncle Bernie would allow this kind of promotion for Formula One? Oh wait, he thinks there’s no point in trying to reach teenagers because “they could not afford anything the sport is promoting”.
It’s time for some warm cocoa and a nap, Bernie. A very long nap, far, far away.
Defending NASCAR Nationwide Championship Series driver, Ricky Stenhouse Jr, had the audacity to actually win the Nationwide race at Las Vegas Motor Speedway yesterday. Did he not read the script? Get the memo? Nationwide races aren’t supposed to be won by young, up and coming drivers who run in the series all year long – they are supposed to be won by NASCAR Sprint Cup drivers looking for a little more practice time (or in some cases, glory)!
How dare he upset the apple cart by winning a race in his own series. No doubt TV execs were complaining to NASCAR officials within minutes of the checkered flag. Stenhouse Jr is, however, a repeat offender having won 2 (yes, two!) of the 34 races in 2011 while on his way to the crown…
Seriously? 2 out of 34 races? How are these young guys supposed to show off their talent and more importantly, attract sponsorship when their races are a constant blitz of showboating Cup drivers? Yes, NASCAR made it so they don’t score any points but something way more drastic needs to be done about the Buschwhackers – and soon.
I like the number 3. Limit the number of Cup drivers in each race to 3 and the number of starts a Cup driver can make in Nationwide races to 3. It would make their guest appearances more special and it would leave plenty of room for the young guns to shine.
It is not really a surprise that she was relatively quick, qualifying 12th in the grid just half a second off pole, since her best IndyCar races have been on super speedway type tracks. Patrick knows how to run in the draft, drive efficiently and carry speed through the corner, all basic requirements for big oval success.
The big test will be how she handles being in the middle of 43 stock cars, rubbing fenders and banging wheels for 200 miles at those speeds. Driving fast is not the only key to NASCAR success; being able to anticipate trouble – and avoid it – is just as important. That will be the part that will come slowly, and probably frustratingly, for Ms Patrick. She has the basic driving chops, now she has to prove she has the race craft.
Lost in all the “Danica-mania” is the fact that disgraced Formula One refuge, Nelson Piquet Jr out-qualified Patrick in his first visit to a super speedway. With just a Craftsman Truck test under his belt, the Brazilian qualified 7th. Piquet will certainly have his work cut out during the race, as he tries to learn the nuances of drafting and oval racing strategy while trying to avoid tangling with young guys brought up on the rough and tumble world of quarter midgets and dirt tracks.
My prediction for today’s race? Piquet will get punted into the wall about half-distance after running in the 20th-30th spots. Patrick will bring it home in the 10th-15th place range…and no one will remember who won the race by Sunday.