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The Nascar at Phoenix ‘After Chatter’ from Just A Fan’s View

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Hey, everybody. The race in Phoenix Saturday night was another feel good race, especially if you are a Mark Martin and/or a Tony Stewart fan. Mark Martin taking the victory made him only the fourth person over age fifty to claim a victory in cup and Tony Stewart finishing second made a good case for his going from just driver to owner/driver look like a great move on his part.

As I said in the pre-race blog/cast on Saturday, if there was anyone I would like to see win, it was Mark Martin. I am so happy to see him doing well this year. For someone that was going to retire, (and did…kinda…), he looks to be a strong possibility for being in The Chase and possibly even taking it all by year’s end. Of course, there is a lot that can happen between now and the end of the year, but what a story it would make for Mark Martin, and Nascar, if he did take away the trophy for the Sprint Cup Series. Oh well, time will tell on that one…

Tony Stewart continues to amaze many with his strong finishes. I personally think he is close to bringing home a victory. There’s just not much left to do but take the checkered flag at the end of the race and, from this fan’s view, it could be much sooner than later. I don’t want to give him more credit than he is due, but, who can argue with the way his team is performing. I really don’t know anyone who thought he would be doing this well, especially this early in the season.

Kurt Bush again looked strong on what I call one of the intermediate tracks. On 1 – 1 1/2 mile tracks they seem to have something figured out this year and it certainly appears they have no intention of letting up on their progress. Kurt is holding his own in third place of the standings so far this year. Since these type tracks make up a good number of the ones left to run at, look for Kurt Bush to keep on making a charge for the Chase…in fact, he’s another one who could walk away with it all at years end.

A couple of things are leading the conversations in the after chatter this week. One is, whether or not Nascar needs a set ruling covering the way drivers sometimes use their cars to express dissatisfaction with another driver (like what happened between Dale Jr and Casey Mears). The second is, why are so many teams having problems on pit road, in particular, with tire changing and lug nut situations.

My opinion on the first one is this, (and I know this will cause a ruckus because I pretty much agree with the way Nascar handles it). I think the punishment for displays of dissatisfaction should be handled on a case by case basis. Ones that basically concern only the drivers involved and no injury should be handled differently than ones that put innocent people in harm’s way.

Sure, I know there is a possibility of something unfortunate happening but, in most cases, these are just expressions from too much adrenaline in their systems. Having raced at one time, I know how easily you get worked up when that competitive adrenaline is flowing. You do, and say, some pretty dumb things and, in my opinion, having a preset punishment or rule in place isn’t going to deter anyone and they are still going to express their frustration by using their bumpers and fenders and spinning out the person they think deserves it. It all depends on how and where they express their frustrations with the other person.

As for the second, I think the new, longer studs may have something to do with the problems on pit road, but, I also think they are a good excuse for when things actually go wrong and no one wants to take total blame. Besides, using Jeff Gordon’s situation Saturday night as an example, it was a missing lug nut, not a loose one. That particular situation could be more attributed to poor lighting on the left side of the car in the pits as opposed to the extra threads on the studs. It could be that the tire changer just couldn’t see that one of the lug nuts was missing.

It seems to me, as just a fan, one of the biggest problems is the lug nuts falling off the wheel as they slide them on the studs. Via the television screen this year, we have seen the tire changers scrambling to grab an errant lug nut that has fallen off many more times than we have seen loose wheels. Look, I know I don’t know all of the problems the new studs cause, but, it does seem the crews have adjusted quite well to the longer studs. The glued-on lug nuts falling off during a pit stop have been causing problems for the tire changers all along and well before the longer stud rule.

Well…that’s it for Phoenix from this fan’s view. Next weekend is restrictor plate racing at Talladega…

See ya next time…

© April 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

By Rusty Norman

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