Update: Nascar at Homestead, the After Chatter from “Just A Fan’s View”

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As the whole nation, (Nascar Nation, that is), already knows, Jimmy Johnson became only the second person in Nascar history to win three Cup Championships in a row. Joining him in that place in history with Cale Yarborough is his crew chief, Chad Knaus; the only crew chief ever to win three consecutive championships. The after chatter about the possibility of a fourth for the 48 Team has already started.

Although I know the airwaves, blogwaves and netwaves have been buzzing with the Jimmy Johnson three-peat, I have to say a few things about the weekend, but I’ll try not to bore you to death with repetition. I have my own view of the weekend and I just have to speak out about it and not all of it is just about the cup series.

It was no big shocker to me that Jimmy Johnson won the Sprint Cup and took his third consecutive title in Nascar. The 48 team, (and I purposely stress the ‘team’ part) is hard to beat. They have definitely raised the bar higher and could very well repeat this scenario again next year.
I do think several others will want to weigh in before they let that be accepted as gospel for 2009, though.

I know for a fact, Carl Edwards and Bob Osborn will have something to say about that. They ran exceptionally well this year and, except for some bad luck, could have very handily taken the Sprint Cup Title this year. I know they will be tough again next year and their performance over the last year warrants more conversation from this “Just A Fan’s View” during the off season. (This is another subject that will be run into the ground between now and Daytona in February, I’m sure.)

Along with the 99 team will undoubtedly be strong performers from this year like Greg Biffle, Clint Bowyer, Dale Earnhardt, Jr, Kyle Bush, Kevin Harvick and, yes, even Jeff Gordon, Jeff Burton and Tony Stewart. Although Tony is going to have his own team this coming year, I expect him to make some noise and show some strength in the 2009 season. I do expect all of these teams to show their strength starting with Daytona in 2009 and the new season is sure to be an interesting mix of several teams flexing their muscles for the entire year, possibly even some that haven’t been mentioned that much in the last year.

If there was anything that frustrated me while listening to the broadcast version of the Cup series race, it was the constant pumping by certain commentators in trying to keep the listeners on the “edge of their seats.” I have never heard so much overkill in recent memory. It seemed to me the commentators thought if they didn’t keep the viewers thinking that anything could go wrong at any moment, the viewers would change over to some other program and their ratings would plummet into the tank. They just kept on reminding us “if this, or that” happened it would be “The Thing” that would ultimately change the outcome. In fact, at times it seemed they hoped something would happen just so they could say, “See, I told you so.”

Hey … Commentators … Nascar fans watch Nascar races because they want to and they do it in their own way. They don’t tune in just to hear you talk and they may not watch every second of the race any more than the people in the stands do but they definitely know what’s going on.

I think the commentators often sell us, “the fans”, a little short. Maybe I should say, a lot short. It is almost as if they think we are completely ignorant of what the race is all about. You see, fan’s know that a part could break, a tire could blow or a driver make a mistake and end the drama in the actual competition for the championship. I find it more than a little disappointing that they think we, as fan’s, are completely in the dark without their input. That if they don’t tell us not to go away during the commercial breaks we could miss ‘the moment’ that changed the outcome.

I would merely present these as a couple of “What If” scenarios that very well could have happened on Sunday.

‘What if’ there would have been a major accident at the very start of the race that took Jimmy Johnson completely out of the race and him finish 41st or worse. I wonder how they would have tried to keep the fans interested then. What do you think the would have talked about for the rest of the broadcast?

‘What if’ Carl Edwards engine would have blown at lap 63. How would they have tried to generate interest until the end of the race.

‘What if’ both of these things had happened? What then …?

My point here is that anything could have happened, including these two I mentioned. Anything could have happened to remove the drama from the race and we, “the fans”, knew it. That’s why we watch it and why we don’t lose interest when certain things do, or don’t, happen. That’s why they call us fans!

Oh well, we can, and will talk about this and more in the “off-season”. I think that’s enough on that subject for now, though. (Feel free to leave a comment on the subject yourself, if you want.)

Since I first started this, I’ve focused mainly on The Cup series and I will continue to devote a lot of time to it next season too, but I am planning on expanding to covering the other two series, also. There will be plenty of stuff to talk about since there is so much going on throughout Nascar and I don’t want to ignore any of it. With all of the changes going on and with the economy’s impact on the sport, I know that there will be a need to look at it from “Just A Fan’s View” and that is what we will do.

In fact, I would like to start with a few thoughts on the Nationwide and the Truck Series championships in this week’s “After Chatter”. I just want to give you some thoughts as I reflect on the season ending races this last weekend in Homestead.

I was thoroughly impressed with the level of competition for all three series. In particular this weekend though, I acquired even more respect for the man, Ron Hornaday. He is not only one heck of a racer, but he is also one heck of good sport. Some of the situations he faced this year would have devastated others but he handled them with class and humility.

I have watched how he handled personal situations this year and how he handled the outcome of the championship race for the Truck series and I am more firmly convinced than ever, he is definitely a man of distinction, character and class. Although he was disappointed with not winning the championship, he was an impressively good sport about the loss. He even made a point in an after race interview that he intended to congratulate Johnny Benson on winning and then he went down and did it on camera.

He also had an impact on two other racers, one I knew about and one I did not. Kevin Harvick and … Jimmy Johnson. It has been interesting to watch Kevin Harvick mature as a person and an owner/racer over the last several years and I have more respect for him now than I ever did. As for Jimmy Johnson … well, he is … the three time champion. What more can I say?

As I watched the laps wind down to the end of the Nationwide championship, I found myself hoping that Clint Bowyer would win, just because … but I couldn’t help pulling for Carl Edwards. I think it is the first time I have watched a Nationwide series race all the way through in a long time, but it didn’t have anything to do with the drama of who might win. I just wanted to see who did win.

Just a little sidenote that I know others have already pointed out, Carl Edwards finished as runnerup in two of the three series this year. Wow, what does that say about his chances for next year’s championships?

Well, this is the end of the year for Nascar racing, but not the end of “Just A Fan’s View” for this year. We will be back the first week of December and, hopefully, every Tuesday after that with our “Just A Fan’s View” until Daytona when I hope to get back on the twice a week schedule.

Hey … this is Russ … and I hope to see you December 2nd here at “Just A Fan’s View”. Until then, Have a great Thanksgiving!

See ya next time …

Rusty

©2008 PCN Productions and Rusty Norman

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Author: Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.