Monday, April 10, 2006

Poor Robby, Sorry About The Jinx, Cute Little Guy, Divas, and More!

First of all, I have to apologize to all the Elliott Sadler fans for my jinxing him. I didn’t mean to do that, honestly. I promise, next time I pick the Candyman to win, I will mention him first, ahead of the pole winner. For what it’s worth, I think I jinxed Tony Stewart, too, by not picking him to win.
On that note, Happy Birthday and congratulations to that cute little guy, Kasey Kahne. He has shown all the naysayers and doubters that he is for real, winning his second race of the season, and his third career Cup race. The man is good--his immense talent has only begun to show. He won it in a Dodge Charger, the car that many, including other Dodge team racers, have complained that is poorly designed for the intermediate tracks. If you remember, at the beginning of the season, Penske South decided to forego use of the Charger in favor of the Intrepid. The team explained that it was to make the transition from Ford to Dodge easier for Kurt “Boo Bait” Busch, for whom the Intrepid was allegedly more similar to the Taurus he had been driving. However, it also highlighted a distrust for the newer Dodge, justifiably stemming from aero problems that handicapped the Dodge teams last year. Whatever problems, if any, the Chargers present, Kahne has obviously overcome them.
As has Scott “Under the Radar” Riggs. After missing the Daytona 500 in qualifying, he has stepped up and brought his team up to 26th place. I have been following Scotty’s career for five years, expecting him to do well. A skilled driver, he showed high potential with MB2, but that team’s program with the #10 car left a lot to be desired. Moving to Everham Racing this year, he has found a team and crew that can bring out his potential. I expect him to win some races this year. I think he can live up to that expectation. Unless, of course, I have inadvertantly jinxed him.
Petty Racing has also stepped up. The changes made to their teams this year seem to be paying off. I believe this is the second top ten finish for Bobby Labonte this year. I am very happy to see Labonte doing well again.
My favorite underdog, heck, everybody’s favorite underdog, Robby Gordon seems to have NASCAR against him. I’m sure it’s just coincidence, but having a caution for debris, with Robby in the top ten at the time he made his final pit stop, put Robby back in the 20th position. Bad luck of the kind we don’t like to see any driver have. The fact is, if NASCAR calls a caution for debris, it is usually for a good reason. However, if we can’t see the debris, we start thinking about “fixed” races. As a fan of racing, I won’t deny that race fixing has ever happened, think about the Barrachello-Schumacher fixing in Formula One that was evident a few years ago. But I like to think that NASCAR racing remains as fair as possible. As in all sports, there is a human element involved in officiating, and, as we all know, error is a human quality.
Error also happens in racing. Greg Biffle and Boo Bait Busch had an altercation which took Da Biff out of the race, while he was having a good run. Of course the drivers blamed each other, and, of course, fans chose different sides to defend or attack. In fact, we fans love that kind of stuff. It takes two to tangle, you get raced the way you race, and I am sure there are other cliches to cover the incident. It was nothing more than a racing incident, and I am gratified that NASCAR treated it as such. That means that there is a part of racing we like that won’t get taken away in the name of political correctness or safety. I, for one, am happy that NASCAR officials don’t get involved in judgement calls on normal racing incidents resulting from beating and banging.
Before the cars even got to the pits, an interesting incident occured. Controversy creates headlines, and headlines sell the product. Da Biff’s girlfriend went to Boo Bait’s pit and confronted Busch’s fiance, ostensively about the racing incident. You can’t stage this kind of stuff, unless Vince McMahon was in charge of NASCAR public relations, in which case there would have been some semi-erotic rasslin’. There was actually no slapping or slugging, it was more like, I imagine, “You tell your idiot boyfriend to leave my idiot boyfriend alone!”
If Greg Biffle doesn’t announce his engagement to that woman in the near future, he is missing out on a good thing. I hope he is as emotionally supportive of her as she is of him.
NASCAR has a way of staying in the news without even trying. It is definitely good and satisfying entertainment, and, I hope, will continue to be that way for the rest of the season.

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