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Nascar at Charlotte After Chatter: Five Down and Five To Go, But, Some Say It’s All Over But Awarding the Trophy

Well, the results of the race Saturday night at Lowe’s Motor Speedway surprised even me. I couldn’t believe how many of the Top Chasers had problems and how many of those that did have problems were whining after the race about how unfair the Chase is.

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Funny … as long as they were running up front and others were having problems it didn’t seem to matter as much. Now it seems, considering they had a bad race or two in a row and no longer have much of a chance at finishing in the top five, all of the sudden the Chase isn’t fair.

Sorry, I just don’t see it that way. I haven’t heard this much griping in a long time. It seems that it is no longer good to perform consistently strong and finish up front and, if you can believe it, some even say it is more important to make changes so Dale Jr can run better as if that is the answer to all the “so-called” woes in Nascar.

Hey, I’m just a fan, but I’m absolutely, positively frustrated with the way many of the fans and reporters complain about everything in Nascar Sprint Cup. They complain about all things such as which tracks Nascar visits during the Chase and how unfair it is because they seem to favor the Hendrick teams.  They say it isn’t fair that Jimmie Johnson and Chad Knaus be allowed to stay together as a team because others aren’t performing as well as they are. They somehow have an unfair advantage. It has even been rumored they are cheating but Nascar just can’t find out how. (Hmmm, do you hear the sound of some ‘black helicopters’ off in the distance?)

You know, I’ve been a Nascar fan a long time and I don’t recall people calling for Richard Childress to make changes to Dale Sr’s team just because he was winning too much. Nor do I remember people complaining as Richard Petty went on to win his 200 Nascar races. Well, they may have complained, but it didn’t stop him from winning and it didn’t make people turn away from the sport.

Racing is a funny sport and whether people want to believe it or not, a certain amount of breaks have to go your way for you to win the Sprint Cup; (Yes, some people actually call that racing luck.) It is this fan’s view that sometimes dynasties arrive on the scene in just about every sport at sometime or other and no matter what others try to do, those dynasties just can’t be beaten or out-performed for a time. That doesn’t mean they will be on top forever, nor that everyone else will quit trying to beat them. In fact, I’ll even go so far as to say, because they are performing so well, it raises the competition level to a new height.

Jimmie Johnson and his #48 team have something special going on right now and, it seems to this fan, people ought to applaud them and their accomplishments. What they are doing is historical and should be accepted as such. Instead, it seems to me that a lot of people would rather heap criticism on them and blame them for the poor attendance at some tracks and for the number of sponsors that are pulling out of Nascar, at least for now. (Gee, I guess no one thinks it has anything at all to do with the economy…)

You may be a little weary of me inserting little tidbits from when I used to race on our local track, but I do think this relates somewhat to what is going on is Nascar these days. In our class, there was one person that absolutely had the rest of us covered. It didn’t matter where he started, he was winning every week. A few of us took it upon ourselves to make our cars better and spent several weeks trying different things, keeping the things that worked and discarding the ones that didn’t. My dad and I stumbled on a few things ahead of the rest and soon we were able to beat that other guy, much to the delight of the fans and ourselves.

We discovered things about the tires that made us run better and we found we had to work harder to catch up with what that other guy knew and had. In particular, we had to find out more about front end geometry, ride heights and weight distribution, (along with all sorts of little things.) Soon we were able to beat the guy that had been smothering the rest of us regularly and soon after that we had won five features in a row.

Eventually our other competitors (and friends) began to run better too and a few weeks later, someone else was dominating the class making all of us work even harder to stay competitive. That’s just the normal competitive spirit that’s in us all.

You see, that’s why I like Nascar racing so much. There always seems to be times when one team or organization hits on something that works really well for them and gives them an advantage over the others they compete with. When they’re beating the guys I’m rooting for, I don’t like it at all but when my guys start performing better than them, hey, I’m as happy as I can be.

That’s just the way of human nature, I guess. The favorite or the underdog is always the one many are pulling for and when someone comes along and dominates the way the #48 team has, as long as they’re playing by the same rules as the rest the idea isn’t to change what they’re doing so the others can catch up or pass them. The idea is for the other teams to raise the level of their performance so that the team, or teams, that were dominating them have to play catch up.

It is interesting to me that there are four teams in the Hendrick camp and three of them are leading in the Chase at the moment. In fact, one of them has come from tenth to third in the last three weeks.

Even though many have stated the Chase is already over, I don’t think we can forget that, this last week, Juan Montoya lost three spots and went from third to sixth in the standings. There is nothing that says the very same thing can’t happen to the #48 team, and several others, this coming weekend totally shaking up the points again. Am I saying it will happen? No … but it very well could…

See ya next time…

Rusty

(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)

© October 21, 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.