KERCHNER: Friday Morning Heat Race


It’s Friday again. Time to lift the lid on the Friday Morning Heat Race.

This week, we’ll run 10 laps.

1. Changing the NASCAR points system will not improve television ratings or attendance at the tracks. But NASCAR officials just won’t face the facts that the races are not as interesting as they once were.

2. This weekend is pretty much void of any significant racing action. You’d think someone would benefit from a significant event this week. Next weekend, things get cranking with indoor racing in Atlantic City, the Rolex 24 At Daytona, the Toyota All-Star Showdown and several other events will be on tap.

3. Some NASCAR teams got two for the price of one this week, testing their Phoenix Int’l Raceway cars at New Smyrna Speedway before heading up the road to Daytona Int’l Speedway for the three-day Cup test of the new pavement of the 2.5-mile superspeedway.

4. I’m afraid the folks in Nashville are only putting off the inevitable in their fight to save the historic Nashville Fairgrounds three-eighths-mile oval from destruction and redevelopment.

5. I’m excited. The annual Charlotte Motor Speedway Media Tour is next week. More than 200 media members come to Charlotte to visit with the major teams and drivers in NASCAR racing. While a few of the drivers, owners, sponsors and team members the media will visit will be “stoked,” the majority will be “excited” to get the season under way.

6. The Chili Bowl certainly isn’t hurting for competitive racing and thrilling entertainment, and promoters Emmett Hahn and Lanny Edwards do an amazing job in the promotion of this race, but 358 days before next year’s Chili Bowl, we are wondering if an old fashioned bounty placed on the Swindell family may give other drivers and teams a little incentive to end the three-year reign of Sammy and Kevin Swindell.

7. Why is everyone so upset that Bill Elliott is going to race a Chevrolet this season? In a career that has spanned some 40 years, you’d think he’d drive one eventually. Oh, and he is only 23 years removed from his championship season in 1988. Wonder if Bill has Brett Favre on speed dial?

8. Why does everything always have to be bigger and better? There were 256 cars and drivers sold out crowds for five nights at the Chili Bowl and people were still talking about how to make it bigger and better. I think it’s pretty damn grand now and it is a unique event that cannot be copied at another venue.

9.Will an IndyCar Series driver win the Rolex 24 At Daytona next week? My money is on Graham Rahal. Why? Well, he is co-driving with series champions Scott Pruett and Memo Rojas in one of two Chip Ganassi entries. His main competition among IndyCar drivers will be from his Ganassi teammates Dario Franchitti and Scott Dixon who will team with NASCAR shoes Juan Pablo Montoya and Jamie McMurray in a second Ganassi car.

10. Have opinions on any of the above topics or anything else you’d like to share? Please leave your comments below.

Cool Off Lap: Steelers over the Jets and Packers over the Bears.

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Mike Kerchner
Mike Kerchner is a veteran racing journalist and has been a member of the SPEED SPORT family since joining Chris Economaki at National Speed Sport News in 1991. He is now the Editor-in-Chief of SPEED SPORT Magazine.