Sunday, May 17, 2009

All Star Racin'

In spite of all the non-racing silliness around it, I do enjoy the All-Star race. There's something about the best of the best with a small field and nothing to lose and $1 million to gain.

Last night in particular, what a display of wheelsmanship by Smoke. The joy of that team in winning was refreshing, they truly wanted it, and not just for the $1 million. Why Kenseth didnt stay in the low line where Tony needed to run is beyond me, but I dont have a Winston Cup on the mantel either.

I think the pitcrew push-the-racecar challenge is silly. I think the fanfare of driver intros is silly, with drivers entering thru a Sprint phone the icing on the cake. At least a crewman didnt dive into the evaporating mosh pit where the waters parted like the Red Sea and hit the deck this year. I thot the inversions were silly and I'm glad they're gone. I think the mandated cautions with a 10 minute break before the last segment is silly. I think having the winner stop on track while they setup victory lane destroys the spontenaiety and is silly.

But I do like the qualifying procedure which includes a pit stop. Much better way to get the pit crews involved with some skin in the game than a pit stop in an arena pushing Mrs Driver to the finish line. I do like the Open (whatever its called now) giving the have-nots a chance to race into it. At least they dont let 10 in....

Instead of the segments as done, I think making the segments heat races would be terrific. In fact how about 2 heat races transfer half their fields into the main with a brief, say, 5 minute pitstop before the main, enough time to change a shock or something, but not enough time for the drivers to get out and parade around for TV. Sortof a hodge podge of local track shootout and the Daytona duels.

I also think the All Star race should rotate to different all-star tracks the way NHL NBA and MLB do it. Weather shouldnt be a problem in May and nobody except the locals care about having it in the stock car racing capital city. Imagine the all-star race rotating to places like Bristol, Darlington, Texas, Vegas, Atlanta.

For last night's race in particular, sure there was no pass in the grass and no Busch brothers wrecking each other, but great racing all night. The feature featured no clunkers this year (except for Keselowski and the transferees), and the only non-clunker in the Open was Truex. A perfect setup. True to form, the only wreck before go time featured a clunker dressed in Mobil 1. Ahh then it was go time. Rubbing, pushing, leaning, pinching, loosening, 3 wide comin thru's, jumping restarts, blocking, multiple tire strategies on a notoriously fickle track, two-wide (sometimes three) restarts, last minute passes, this race had it all.

If you love racing, this was a great night. If you love Sprint, ditto. If you're not so fond of the latter, well, get used to it, at least we had racing and not just wrecking to go with all the silliness this year.

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