Why does it seem that the Daytona 500 was now forever ago. I realize that it only four weeks ago, but the weeks are just flying by. Fourth race of the season was completed last week at Phoenix. For the third straight race as the laps were winding down, it appeared that there was going to be a clear and concise winner. The clear and concise winner ended up not being the winner, and we all end up being surprised. Seems in racing that just because you have the fastest car, that does not mean you end up winning the race. Ryan Newman stayed out during a late race caution that brought us overtime, and he captured a huge win for Richard Childress Racing.
The most puzzling driver I have seen through four races so far is Chase Elliott. Elliott dominates the first three quarter of the races, then falls like a stone in water the last quarter of the race. This tells me that the right changes are not being made to the car to stay up with the track. If those changes were being made correctly, there is a chance that Elliott may have won two or three races already this season. The question is whether Elliot is giving enough, and accurate, feedback to crew chief Alan Gustafson. The flip side of that question is whether Gustafson is making the right changes if Elliott is providing accurate feedback to what the car is doing. In the closing laps of races this season, Elliott has lost a total of 21 positions over the four races we have run so far. Only Austin Dillon is worse than Elliott in this category in the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series.
Last week during the Cup race, there was a heated exchange between one of NASCAR inanimate objects and a member of NASCAR media on Twitter. The best I can tell is that the media member writes for a racing website. The argument swirled around comments from the media member about the production value of the race by Fox. The inanimate object, which is one of the most highly followed on Twitter, took big exception to the comment. Inanimate object expressed that those folks work hard and suggested media member ought to do all the TV stuff himself and see how well he can handle it. A lot of colorful language was used by both in this exchange.
Now, I am not a fan of Fox and their broadcasts. I do believe they have reduced the effort and professionalism that comes along with the broadcasts, meaning that Fox is not holding their broadcast team to a higher standard. The mistakes that are made by the commentators, lack of following on track action as it happens by the producer, and other very common mistakes that are clearly noticeable by the viewer only seem to have increased year over year. I am not an expert on journalistic values, so I am not sure if a member of media should comment on the broadcast. At the same time, I do believe he does have a right to say what he wants about the broadcasts. The inanimate object has never, at least to my knowledge, divulged who he is and what he does. It did seem that the inanimate object might be part of the production staff with how his comments played out.
So what does this all have to do with anything. What I have noticed in the mainstream media covering NASCAR, rarely are negative comments in regards to NASCAR or the broadcasts ever made. The only way the broadcasts are going to get better is to have criticism. Also, in my humble opinion, the Fox executives that handle NASCAR, need to demand better production value, as well as clear and concise commenting from the staff on hand each week covering the race. It seems that media covering NASCAR is scared to say anything negative. Me, I am not. Again, the only way to push for improvement, is to voice it. I have written more than once that the entire Fox commentating crew should be fired other than Jeff Gordon.
Again, it was an odd exchange and I just really wonder why the inanimate object took such objection to what ended up being what was a spot on comment by a member of the media.
California is on the docket for this weekend. I am going to take the pole sitter for the win. Kyle Larson is going to lock it down and take it home. My want to win this weekend is Chase Elliott. With all the backsliding, I want to see that team go the other way in the closing part of the race. The underdog pick for the week is Ricky Stenhouse Jr.