This Week In Motorsports

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This Week In Motorsports

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By David Vodden

Motor Sports News by David Vodden

The NASCAR sports media is confused and hypocritical. Since the end of last year with all the changes that NASCAR implemented to “make the racing more entertaining”, all the SIRIUS radio talking heads have said “we need more drama, more excitement and “rivalries.” “Attendance is down. So are the television ratings, they ranted.” “What to do?”

Last weekend, following the Las Vegas race, Kyle Busch took a swing a Joey Logano for events that happened on the last lap of the race. The resulting melee was covered by all major sports media. Since then, comments and opinions have been non-stop and the video of the fight, where Busch emerges bloody and bruised, is still being shown. You could not buy this exposure for the NASCAR brand in sports media. It was awesome. Go get-em Kyle!

What caused Kyle Busch to walk over to the Pennzoil pit area? The answer depends on who you like. On the last lap of the race, Logano tried to pin Busch behind a rapidly slowing Brad Keselowski in their pathway. Expectedly, Busch muscled himself out of harm’s way preventing a hard-hit to the back-end of Keselowski’s Miller Beer Ford. His move created an incidental, side-to-side contact with Logano. Logano, who has a Jekyll and Hyde personality, drove into the final corner too fast. He slid up the track and spun Busch out of a top finish. Was there intent? I do not know but hitting Busch was not a result of Busch hitting him on the back straight. Logano took Busch out. That was about it until Busch, unwisely, entered the heavily staffed Pennzoil pit area and took a swing. Busch lost. Logano did his “bitch-slap” thing that he has done with other NASCAR drivers that have called him out, but Busch was already on the ground under several big tire-changers with the number 22 on their yellow shirts. Bad choice for Busch!

NASCAR said no penalties but the talking SIRIUS radio-heads seem committed to making the incident the source of increased callers and crazy comments about who did what to who. The callers go on to ask whether Busch should be drawn and quartered or NASCAR should create strict rules and penalties about fighting in the pits.

You can’t have it both ways media boys and girls! Either you want rivalries, people entertainment, excitement and drama or you don’t. Stop calling out the participants and encouraging people to call in and pass judgement. You want people drama then let people drama unfold, naturally, as it would without all the officials and barkers stirring the pot.

Looking at all the historical NASCAR promotional video clips you see people drama, fights, take downs and so on. Why use it to promote NASCAR if it is so odious? Donnie Allison and Cale Yarbrough are credited with getting NASCAR identified as a main-stream sport worth watching. They did so by beating each other up after taking each other out of a Daytona 500 finish. Really! Let me say this clearly. This is a people sport. Fans are attracted to the people, good or bad. Speaking out [Tony Stewart], pushing and shoving [Tony Stewart, Matt Kenseth, Jeff Gordon, Kevin Harvick, and many more], crashing rivals out of the race [Carl Edwards, Kenseth, Gordon, Earnhardt Sr, and more], saying pithy things about other drivers [All]. The list goes on and on.. Fans want people drama, people stories, people wins and people losses, people risk taking and car crashes. Back-off NASCAR-media. “Let boys be boys”. If you have some concerns about how this all looks in the world of political correctness, take on the ongoing dialog of profanity. Teach your drivers to talk with words of more than one syllable and four letters. It comes off so low-brow! Celebrate the raw emotion, the exchanges and incidents. Encourage rivalries and then use the video of celebrity drivers settling disputes their own way, to promote NASCAR as a playing field where brave young men and one woman risk life and limb, exist on the edge and need to win. Enough.

The NASCAR boys and one girl are in Phoenix this weekend where Kevin Harvick is the strong favorite to win and become the fourth different winner in the Monster Energy Cup program in just four races. For the record, Kurt Busch, Brad Keselowski and Martin Truex, Jr., have won main events and earned a starting spot in the ten-race playoffs that will decide who among them will be the 2017 Monster Energy NASCAR Series Champion.

It is worth noting that local NASCAR racer, Kyle Larsen is second in the NASCAR point standings after three races, just one point behind Brad Keselowski. Larsen has been the subject of much discussion because of his performance behind the wheel of the red Target Chip Ganassi-Chevrolet. He also has two starts and two top three finishes in the Xfinity Series. I hope this performance level holds and that the perennial late race-loser can get to victory circle – alot. Harvick is going to win in Phoenix. Larsen will win in Fontana next week.

This is the last weekend for the Red Bluff Outlaw Kart winter series of racing. It is a post season big-money championship so Google the Red Bluff Outlaw Karts at the Tehama County Fairgrounds and identify what day and time you want to attend. It runs Friday and Saturday evening and ends on Sunday. Good stuff.

Only 120 entries participated in last week’s Sports Car Club of America [SCCA] season opening road races at Thunderhill. It should have been closer to 200! I finished second in both of my races logging in as the first loser. I will redeem myself on April 1-2, when the SCCA returns for their second weekend of fender-bending, family fun on the three-mile road course. Several people read this column and came to the track over the SCCA weekend. Those I talked with were having a good time and said, “we would not have known that these races were going on if we had not read it in the Valley Mirror. See, this dribble does serve some useful purpose.

The Silver Dollar sprint car races on Friday night last were simply awesome. Sean Becker and Andy Forsberg swapped the lead, danced through traffic and kept everyone on the edge of their seats. Becker won! I think you should Google Silver Dollar Speedway and identify all the Friday and special Saturday night dates you can attend. Bring a friend with you and hold on!

Indy Car racing started last weekend in St. Petersburg, Florida. Sebastian Bourdais won the season opening race. The early Indy Car races serve as a warm-up for the legendary Indianapolis 500 on Memorial weekend. Formula One racing will start next weekend in Australia. The season is getting started with almost all systems up and running. Go to the races locally and across the land. You will be glad you did. I guarantee it!


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