June 16, 2012
By Jim Fitzgerald
Up In The Marbles…After The Pocono 400 Presented By #NASCAR
“Blah blah blah, Pocono is the most boring race on the schedule, and we have to go there twice. Blah blah blah.”
Keep talking naysayers. In fact, can someone now tell me how boring Michigan is? Because if all we needed was people complaining about boring races to give us the days we had at Dover and Pocono, all I can say is “Bring It On”, complainers.
The action on the two and one-half mile triangle shaped track, which included pit strategy and a pass for the lead in the closing laps, provide for a very entertaining race at Pocono. The repaving of the Pocono track combined with the shortening of the race distance by one hundred miles seemed to be just what the doctor ordered. Not only was the race entertaining, it was completed in just over three hours.
In today’s fast paced, short attention span world, that length of time for a race is more effective for keeping a race fan in front of the television. If you consider baseball and football games that you would see on television, very few, except in the instances of overtime or extra innings, run longer than a three hour window.
Not too long after the checkered flag fell to close out this past weekend’s events at Pocono, some talk quickly shifted from Joey Logano’s late race pass over Mark Martin to the future of one of NASCAR’s most talented stars, Kurt Busch. Busch was coming off of a one race suspension from NASCAR after delivering a verbal threat to a member of the media. Now that the suspension has ended, the questioned turned to Busch’s relationship with his car owner, James Finch. After meeting with Finch on Tuesday, Busch and his owner agreed to continue on a race-by-race basis.
Finch stated after the meeting, “We have met with Kurt. At the end of the day, we are racers, so we’re going racing together with Kurt and the No. 51 Phoenix Racing Chevrolet. We know adjustments have to be made, but how we fix that is between Kurt and myself. We’re going to go to the track, work hard, race hard and work on trying to attract a sponsor — and we’re going to do that together.”
Kurt may find himself now in a place his brother, Kyle, felt he may have been near the end of last season. After being parked for a race by NASCAR as well, Kyle wondered if he would lose his ride with Joe Gibbs Racing. Now, Kurt, teetering on the wall between continuing his driving career or having to find something else to do, must find a way to control his emotion. He must be passionate, but he must be controlled, and he must be civil, both on and off the track.
Growing up, it was Tic-Tac-Toe, and in cartoons, it was a loose way to show someone was in a scuffle. As I grew older, I came to know it as the “Number Sign.” Then it became the “pound” sign, which I still use, but since the advent of Twitter and the ways we keep up with everything in which we are interested, it is also now called a “hashtag.” You know…it’s that “#” thing.
Hashtag NASCAR. Hashtag This. Hashtag That. It is how we know what the hot topics of Twitter are.
On Monday night, I watched wrestling. (Yes, I know.) They talk about things that are “trending” on Twitter all the time. Last night, one of the things they had trending was #Goatface. I’d love to see more of, during a race broadcast, since NASCAR and Twitter are arm in arm now, things that racefans are using the hashtag for. Hashtag Logano Pass. Hashtag Pit Road Scoring Lines. Hashtag Kurt’s Still Racing. How about Hashtag Hashtag? I don’t even know what that means.
Gordon’s Gotta Gouge
After fourteen races in the 2012 NASCAR Sprint Cup Series racing season, four-time series Champion Jeff Gordon would have to sit back, look at those fourteen races, and ask himself “What the heck happened?”
Bad luck which has led to bad finishes has been the undoing of Gordon this season, and as a result, he and his Drive to End Hunger/DuPont racing team now sits in the 22nd position in points. In fact, the only thing Gordon and his team can be really be happy about this season is that they are not 23rd in points.
Can Gordon still make The Chase? Absolutely, but he is going to have to put on the grind of his career. With twelve races remaining until the cutoff, Gordon is ninety points behind the tenth place driver, Brad Keselowski. If Gordon were to replace Keselowski in that very important tenth slot, he would need to gain an average of 7 and one-half points on Keselowski each week. That does not even take into consideration the other eleven drivers between them.
Perhaps a better option for Gordon would be the wildcard. With Kyle Busch and Ryan Newman occupying them currently, you would figure Gordon will need at least two wins to make the wildcard spot, possibly three. He will also need to get into the top twenty in championship points, but winning a few times would most likely accomplish both. Whichever path Gordon may take, it will be one which will test him, his team, and the equipment they will be racing. If he is to make the Chase in 2012, Gordon needs to turn his season around soon, and the clock is ticking.
I would like to take this time to say to all the Dad’s out there, especially mine, “Have a happy and safe Father’s Day!!”
Remember to follow me on Twitter: @forewasabi. I always have nothing important to say.
"The horizon is out there somewhere, and you just keep chasing it, looking for it, and working for it."
You can contact Jim at.. Insider Racing News
The thoughts and ideas expressed by this writer or any other writer on Insider Racing News, are not necessarily the views of the staff and/or management of IRN.