Random thoughts on the recent news in NASCAR:
Chase Elliott wrecks Denny Hamlin at Phoenix
You know what they say about payback, right? This wasn't so much about Elliott standing up to Hamlin and his chicken s**t move at Martinsville. This was about Elliott, all of 21, putting all of the other drivers on notice. Mess with me, and I will kick your ass, one way or the other. We probably haven't heard the last of it between these two, and that's good for the sport.
Matt Kenseth goes out in style
Feel good story of the week, no? Kenseth, at 45 and a liely Hall of Famer, got dumped by Joe Gibbs Racing because he's not young and cheap. (Business has no heart folks). Even though he had a chance to keep racing, he wasn't going to get on the track in crappy cars whose sponsors might as well be "DNF." Instead, he gave two figurative middle fingers. First, he won Phienix, and then, he announced he's ready to walk away from the sport. Good for him.
Jimmy Johnson and Char Knaus bickering again
Johnson has said over and over again that he wants Knaus as his crew chief for the long haul. I actually see their on-track bickering as a sign of a very strong relationship -- sort of like an old married couple that argue over what to ea for dinner, end up fighting over it, then go home and hold hands and watch a movie. Not that I'm suggesting Johnson and Knaus go home, hold hands, and watch a movie but -- you get my drift.
NASCAR TV ratings down. Again.
What's below bottom? NASCAR has a real audience problem on its hands and, so far, has no real solution to turn it around. The sports can't rest because it has a nice, long, cushy TV deal ($6.8B total on a deal that ends in 2020 on Fox and 2023 on NBC). Ratings are king, and TV can't sell adds for a sport that's hemorrhaging viewers. Alt-Driver reads got into the act and took a poll in which 63% of the respondents said they won't watch NASCAR next year. While not scientific, it's an indicator that should worry Brian France and Co.
Danica Patrick was bad on the track because she had a crappy car
Now, I'm on the outside looking in and have no idea about the support Danica Patrick received when she was with Stewart-Haas. She's hinted -- and so has her crew -- that she didn't have everything she needed to win. But I keep coming back to this -- next to Dale Jr., she's the most popular figure in NASCAR, hands down. Wouldn't any team she's on want her to succeed? I mean, if she could consistently race in the top 10 -- heck, maybe the top 15 -- she'd make more sponsorship money than all of us can count.
- Peanut the Vulture picked Kyle Busch to win the championship at Homestead. Sorry Peanut, I got Harvick.
- My heart aches for the family of Anita Board, the 8-year-old dragster who died on the track
- F1 has got to pull all races out of Brazil. Can't have team members being robbed with guns pointed at their head, and it's not the first time this violence has happened.
- A guy gets arrested on a DUI and answers cops questions by farting. Original. And, gross.
- 5 Michigan teens face life in prison for dropping rocks from an overpass. They said it was a joke. One man on his way home from work is dead and will never see his family again. Where's the humor?
- Dale Jr. getting lots of love on his way out. Gonna feel weird with no Earnhardt on the track for the first time in four decades (sorry, Jeffrey).