I shook my head when The Brickyard 400 presented by Allstate became the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard a year or two ago. I dont know, I guess a race of this importance shouldnt carry a title sponsor. I know stock car racing at Speedway, Indiana is a little lame, the track obviously doesnt suit them well, but it is the venerable Indianapolis Motor Speedway and the 400 should have kept a name like the Daytona 500 or the Southern 500. Maybe since sponsorships never change in Nascar...
So this years installment of what was briefly the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard, is the Brickyard 400 again, or it was, until 2/3 of the way thru the race, Nascar served up a giant cup of Columbian presented by Target and created the Shaft-yard 400.
For the record, I'm not a JPM fan. Because he's from open wheel? Hardly. Because he's Latino? No way. Because he isnt American? Please. I boo the cat along with the Busch brothers for similiar reasons, hubris and prima donna-ism (is that even a word?). JPM should have entered the sport with a little respect for its traditions, its sanctioning body, and its competitors. Instead he was going to do it his way, play by his rules, thumb his nose at his competitors and run his yap about Nascar.
Today Nascar threw a brick thru the Target store's front window in broad daylight. Dominating the race, with an Indy 500 win on his resume, and a throwback paint scheme, teetering on the brink of the Chase, representing everything that is non-stock car and non-southern good ol' boy, what better opportunity to remind Mr. Montoya of the golden rule: he who has the gold makes the rules.
Should they have done it? No way. It was a royal shaft. But maybe the message will get thru. But clearly this was not the mysterious debris late race caution for dramatic effect. They took the trophy out of his hands.
Odds n ends:
wow, real racing at Indy
NO TIRE PROBLEMS!
Attendance was down, I attribute this mostly to the economy. No one should push the panic button about this race just yet. Indianapolis is right in the middle of several auto industry states: Michigan Ohio Indiana Illinois. They're hurting.
This was almost Super Bowl-like pre-race hype. Enough already.
The ESPN crew is sharp, I really like them. The consummate professionals in the booth in contrast to the three stooges. Alan Bestwick is the best race reporter out there, glad he resurfaced and I hope he reads this. And the outside crew with Rusty, Tractioncontrol Ray, Big Brad, good blend. And I can do a great Tim Brewer voice too, much to my wife's chagrin.
Dale Jr. (this page intentionally left blank)
Mark Martin is the best loser in sports.
This is a cool car (before our family expansion I was quite an addict and also quite good I might add):
And finally, where does this race rank in the pecking order, since listening to ESPN you would think this is the 2nd 3rd or 4th most important race of the year. To this humble fan who doesnt hail from the Hoosier state and never figured out what open wheel racing was all about, here is my ranking:
1. Daytona 500
2. Coca Cola 600
3. Bristol Night Race
4. Brickyard 400
5. Southern 500