I have not had the opportunity to put together a new article since prior to the trip up to Indianapolis. Let me first start out and say thank you to Dave for all of his hospitality last weekend. Another great weekend of hosting courtesy of Dave, and both Alan and I had great time at the races. As many of you know, Jamie McMurray took home the checkered flag last week at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Brickyard 400. By the way, Dave did win the corn hole tournament again. Congratulations Dave, well played.
Before we get to the race at Pocono, let me start with a little rant. Before getting into this, I will first say that last Friday nightâ€™s experience at the beginning of the race was not the first time it has occurred. I am sure by now you are all wondering what the experience was. Here it is a nutshell, old people at a race. Let me set the stage. The troubleinturntwo.com gang, just off the NHRA Drag Strip where we were parked, sat for a number of hours enjoying some beverages in the 110 degree heat index weather. We made our way into the speedway and realized that the grandstand we sat in year before was no longer there. Actually, this turned out to not be a problem because we received a seat upgrade into the main grandstand. Great seats with a great view of pit road, the start finish line, and the end of pit road line.
If you have never been to a race before, let me explain what happens after the start your engines command. The trucks, or cars, roll off of pit lane or the front stretch and begin the warm up laps. When the lights on the pace car get turned off signaling one lap to the start, the entire crowd stands up. The start of the race is an adrenaline filled time for not only the drivers, but the spectators as well. The green flag flies, the engines roar, and the race is on.
As this happens at Oâ€™reilly Raceway Park last Friday night, the trucks had completed the first lap and a half of the race, and the entire crowd is stilling standing. Dave, Alan, I hear from behind us â€œsit downâ€! I immediately turn around and give the most proper response to this request, well I cannot type that response as we try to keep our website somewhere between PG and PG13.
So who made this request to us to sit down? It was the group from old folksâ€™ retirement home out on a field trip to the race track. Do not get me wrong, everyone should have the opportunity to purchase a ticket and come enjoy the race. There are some limitations though. If you cannot stand for a couple of laps at the start of the race and during restarts, you should stay home. If you must be at the track, sit in the front row where no one will be standing in front of you. It was not that we were the only people standing; all of the people in front of us were still standing as well. If we sit down per the request, we then can only see the trucks go through part of turn one and two. We were not being disrespectful, but do not call someone out when they are not in the wrong. Finally, if you are old and cannot stand for a couple of laps of the race, stay home. One more side note, the old folks were not in wheelchairs, did not have walkers, nor did any of them even have a cane.
Interesting race at Pocono today. As previously stated during the first race there this year, it always has to rain at Pocono. Now, they did make it the full distance and congratulations to Greg Biffle for taking the checkered flag. Biffleâ€™s win puts Ford in victory lane for the first time since like the Stone Age or something like that. Biffle got it done the way he had to get it done. He was the master of the two tire stop all day long. He would take two tires and drop spots over the green flag runs. He made it work when it really mattered.
The race was funny though. For a long time in the first half of the race, it appeared that the Evil Empire (A.K.A. Jimmie Johnson) was going to run away with the race. The Evil Empire would give up some time during the pit stops, but would then motor back out to a five second lead. Jeff Gordon of the #24 Dupont Chevrolet finally ran the Evil Empire down and took the lead of the race. What happens as soon as this takes place, caution for debris.
Gordon continued to lead for awhile, and then it broke loose. The Evil Empire bump drafts Kurt Busch in the #2 Miller Lite Dodge. The only problem with this bump is that it turns Busch to the outside wall in front of Clint Bowyer. Busch goes on a wild ride which includes a torn front tire off of the car. The television audience then sees Elliot Sadler’s car destroyed sitting on the track with the engine sitting just on the track next to the grass. Let me say it again, the entire engine is outside of the car sitting on the race track with smoke rising from it. ESPN only had one camera catch what happened to Sadler. The shot only caught the car hitting the guard rail on the backstretch backed up by dirt. Sadler indicated that he was hit from behind when he checked up for the wreck and was sent to the guard rail. Sadler hit with tremendous force from what the replay showed. The next shot showed Sadler struggling to get out of the car. Sadler got out of the car and immediately laid down on the track. My feeling at this point was this would be the last time this season we would see Sadler racing. Luckily this is not the case. Sadler ended up being fine. How he was fine I will never know, but glad to see it.
The race was red flagged for this wreck and rain began to fall. The race was about to get back under way, when rain began to fall again. Pit stops occurred and Gordon was out of the lead. Sam Hornish Jr. somehow got to the front, and gave it a good ride down the finally laps. With old tires he just did not have enough to stay out front. Biffle took over and the rest is history.
The End of NASCAR?
Leading up to the Brickyard 400, there was speculation that many of the seats at the track in Indianapolis were going to be empty for the race. We all know now that this was truth. The seats were about 50 to 55% empty for the Brickyard 400. Many articles and websites I have read are calling it the end of NASCAR. Somehow the entire series is going to fold up at the end of this season and go away.
Now, I will not sugar coat it and say that everything is good in NASCAR. There are problems with the series, and it goes directly to the France family. NASCAR is a privately owned sanctioning body that answers to no one. Decisions are made privately without the consultation of race tracks, race team owners, competitors, or anyone else for that matter.
Now sometimes you hear about meetings with the teams and drivers, but most decisions made by the sanctioning body is done strictly at their behest. The France family needs to get their head out of the mud and start thinking about some consistency for their top series. Changes to the cars, changes to the Chase, changes to how the series is officiated all need to stop. The casual fan does not want to tune into a race and try to figure out what the new rules are.
NASCAR is not going to go away. Economy does have a piece in what is going with attendance in NASCAR, but the fleecing of the fans and the feeling that no matter what we do the fans will keep coming is over. The Frances better wake up and start listening to the people. You have to turn a profit and we all understand that, but filling your private coffer has to take a back seat to fan experience if NASCAR expects to see overflowing race tracks ever again.