VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. — The Brickyard 400 continued the trend of no side-by-side NASCAR racing, but at least it got a little interesting near the finish.
Paul Menard’s stunning win was well deserved. You can see his dad, John was happy too. John went through a lot in his days at Indy, mainly trying to bring a Buick V-6 into victory lane. Al Unser’s third in 1992 was his best. He did win the IRL title with Tony Stewart. Acrimony later broke them up. He nearly won when Robby Gordon ran out of fuel on the final lap and suffered a heartbreak when Scott Brayton died in a crash while practicing after winning the pole.
The empty seats are certainly disheartening. You can thank Goodyear’s tire screw-up a few years ago. Many unhappy customers never came back. Then there’s a large legion of fans disgusted with NASCAR’s lack of competition all season in its three major divisions.
Discussing this on Facebook, I got into a debate with Eddie Gossage, manager of Texas Speedway. Eddie continues to flag-wave for NASCAR while most of us don’t agree with him.
Eddie got on me saying I wait for bad things to happen so I can write negative words. Nothing could be further from the truth. I want to see good racing, but where is it? Eddie said that people shouldn’t follow NASCAR if they are going to complain about it. Well, Eddie, all those empty seats means they are taking your advice.
When I mentioned that races run 20 years ago run on the same tracks as today are far better, his only answer is that there are more fans today. The fact that NASCAR has moved away from places like North Wilkesboro, Rockingham and Darlington (two races to one) to larger cookie cutter and boring races tracks, proves that quality of racing doesn’t matter, just the box office receipts. If NASCAR continues to race cars that cannot pass, the stands will get emptier.
*The sprint-car gentry wasn’t pleased with Craig Dollansky’s obvious dump job of Kasey Kahne at Williams Grove Speedway.
*How about Tony Stewart getting his first World of Outlaws victory in Canada? This will go with his three USAC titles, his IRL crown and his two NASCAR successes.
*Too bad about the rotten luck Joey Saldana is having.
*The shuttering of Cayuga County (Weedsport, N.Y.) shows the long-distance leadership of the DIRT organization isn’t working.
*Marty Himes will be holding his annual Open House on Sunday Aug. 28 at his museum at 15 O’Neill Ave., Bay Shore, N.Y. It runs from 10 a.m. until dusk. Free food and refreshments will be served and there is no admission. For info, call (631) 666-4912.
*Ryan Newman’s modified owned by Kevin Bannion was disqualified by NASCAR for being “modified.” That clears that up. With car fields shrinking, NASCAR decided that banning the owner of a decent car for the rest of the season was better for the sport.
*Pennsylvania’s Fred Rahmer sat out a few races with a broken sternum. If it kept that puppy at home, you know he’s hurt.
*Does it do your heart good to know you are paying four bucks a gallon for gas while Exxon/Mobil’s profit for the last quarter was more than $10 billion? I guess we all are stupid.