by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowMarch 21, 2012 2:34 pm UTC 1 Comment
NASCAR debate: Would you rather be Kyle Busch with a whole bunch of wins AND haters galore, or Dale Earhardt Jr, with adoring fans and…….?
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowMarch 13, 2012 2:36 pm UTC No Comments
Your comments are your vote. Vote early and often.
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.May 19, 2011 8:08 pm UTC No Comments
NASCAR’s All-Stars will show their stuff this week at Charlotte Motor Speedway.
As All-Star events go; NASCAR’s ranks a close second to the event put on by Major League Baseball and far outshines those put forth by the NBA, NFL and NHL. What sets NASCAR and MLB apart from the other sport’s All-Star events is the ability of the performers to showcase their talents and yet the fundamental principles of the game do not change.
Three of the four “stick and ball” sports All-Star events change the game by playing little or no defense therefore changing the very essence of their sport. If anything, NASCAR and it’s drivers heighten their intensity. The format and winner-take-all format of the NASCAR All-Star event makes it unique and the most watchable of them all.
Teams have to meet one of six criteria to make it to the All-Star event. Drivers who have won races in 2010 and 2011. If a driver leaves a team with which he has won a race, he remains eligible, the team does NOT. Also eligible are drivers who are either past Sprint Cup champions or who have won The All-Star Race in the past 10 years. Finishing first or second in the Sprint Showdown also get them in, or the ubiquitous entry by fan vote.
The pit crew challenge and burn out contest as warm-up events are less than exciting for the fans and may be more for the teams than the spectators. Those events are no more lame than the skills competitions that surround the other sports All-Star weekends.
The main event is what it is all about and NASCAR puts on one of the best events because when all is said and done it comes down to one driver against another, one team versus the others or one bit of strategy outdoing someone else.
Photo Credit:Glenn Bure/ON PIT ROW
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.March 24, 2011 6:34 am UTC 1 Comment
This race track like no other has mirrored what has become of the sport we love so much. Like the trip to the grandmothers house that is too clean, too organized and too filled with treasures; the trip to many of NASCAR’s venues just isn’t very comfortable.
Places like Fontana, Kansas City, Iowa and Chicago have all the amenities that a fan would seem to want. Everyone expects to have plenty of clean restrooms and lots of concession stands. Those are givens. Race tracks that don’t cater to those two basic needs will eventually fail. But some tracks do a better job of making race fans feel welcome and a part of the action.
Unlike the grandmother’s house that is too clean and organized; race tracks that give the feeling of gramma’s house where the kids are on the floor, the toys are everywhere and the aunts and uncles are hanging around in the back yard, makes you want to stay and come back.
NASCAR has done a good job over the last couple of decades of making their racing seem more like a trip to grandmother’s house than a trip to gramma’s. Going to grandmothers just isn’t as comfortable and fun as the trip to grammas.
Growing pains are always uncomfortable and NASCAR has had their share. Some say they lost sight of their roots and abandoned their core fans for the glitz and glamor of big numbers and questionable venues. What NASCAR lost as it’s fan base exploded was the comfort and intimacy that its long time fans had grown up with; a comfort and intimacy that gramma knew how to cultivate.
NASCAR has so wanted their product to be eaten on the good china with the good silver; but all the fans want is a damn good dog on a fresh bun served on a paper plate with a cold one to wash it down. NASCAR was ment to have some mustard dripped on the deck and hosed off; not worried about gravy on the table cloth.
Many reasons have been given for NASCAR’s decline in attendance and TV viewership over the past half-dozen years; but the most alarming sight was the lack of campers and the empty seats at Bristol this past week and the reason for it is quite simple. NASCAR fans want to feel a part of the racing event. They want to feel a connection to the sport and its participants; but that can’t happen as long as NASCAR continues to serve its product in a sanitized form.
The “good old days” have a short memory. Nobody really wants to go back to the days of two or three lap lead finishes or 2×10 pine plank seats; just like no one would want gramma’s to have an outhouse. What fans want is a connection with their sport and their heros that they feel they lost when NASCAR got rid of the back deck and built the dining room.
Lost somewhere in the growth of our sport was the realization that while the fans like to watch cars race and experience the on track show; what they really love more than anything else is their connection with their driver. Today’s driver has been so marketed by their sponsors and PR companies that they have lost the ability to get down on the floor and play with the kids.
Making sure the sponsors are mentioned in every interview has become more important than sitting on the pit wall signing autographs and having your pictures taken with fans. How did fans know in the seventies and eighties that Richard Petty was sponsored by STP? There are thousands–maybe millions of pictures in fans homes of him in his STP firesuit signing autographs for everyone.
Those pictures, whether they be on paper and displayed, or just in a fans memory was what was right with NASCAR and was what made new fans fall in love with the sport. Those memories of being down on the floor playing with the kids supercede polite conversation, using the proper fork and thanking a dizzying array of sponsors.
Sorry Grandmother–we’d rather hang out at Gramma’s this week.
by Charlie Turner
Thanks for stopping by OnPitRow.com and the Bench Racing with Steve and Charlie blog. The best NASCAR and IndyCar news and opinion, exclusive pictures and video. I'm Charlie Turner. Follow me on Twitter @onpitrowMarch 22, 2011 9:29 pm UTC No Comments
- Old School Bristol or crap
- Good Bristol – which is the same as Old School Bristol – or crap.
- Exciting, wreck-filled, 21 caution Bristol, or crap.
What we got was one hell of a good Sprint Cup race and terrific, sometimes three-wide racing. Kyle Busch won everything in sight, and has owned Thunder Valley since this time last year at Bristol, so I’m thinking The Shrub likes The New Bristol just fine.
The haters are losing the argument.
Fins Stoutly Standing
Kyle Busch has won the last five NASCAR touring series races held at Bristol. The Jeff Byrd 500 was had some epic moments with Kyle, Carl Edwards and Jimmie Johnson.
Carl Edwards had the second best weekend, and not by much.
Paul Menard is in the top ten in NASCAR Sprint Cup points – 5th in the race and 5th in the standings, best of the RCR cars – and it does not look like a fluke.
Kurt Busch leads the Cup standings with another consistent, competitive finish.
Bristol Motor Speedway; the track races great. Get over it.
Jeff Burton. Ugly start
Clint Bowyer finished 35th at BMS. But he was better than Burton
Denny Hamlin. This was not the faster start that he predicted after coming up short in 2010.
Danica Patrick. Come on. You don’t have any business doing a Kurt Busch on the track. Getting laughed at won’t help your credibility.
Photo credit: Round girl Cindi by BethAnne Heisler for OnPitRow.com
by Steve Wronkowicz
I am co-host of the syndicated radio show: ON PIT ROW. Over ten years on the air and three on the net; see what can happen when I don't let the facts get in the way of my opinions.March 1, 2011 7:46 am UTC No Comments
Gordon had gone 66 races without seeing victory lane. Not a long time for some of the sports veteran drivers but an eternity for the four-time Cup champion. Interestingly Gordon hasn’t won a championship as a driver since he became a Cup car owner. Gordon is part owner of the #48 team that has won five championships since he won his last.
There was a time in the sport that the cries of “anyone but Gordon” were heard loud and clear well before the statement came to be used for Gordon’s protege Jimmie Johnson. But with the long winless streak now behind him the question is has Gordon moved into the next level of fan recognition?
There seems to be a point in a lot of athlete’s careers where they move from a polarizing figure to the beloved veteran and it seems that Gordon may have made that move with his win this past week in Phoenix. Other drivers have been there; from Darrell Waltrip to Rusty Wallace to Dale Earnhardt, Sr., drivers who early in their careers had a “love ‘em or hate ‘em” persona. Then a defining moment moves them into a new realm of fan acceptance.
Many times it revolves around a single win, championship or moment after suffering months or years of toil. Hardship and lack of success for a period of time after a career full of triumphs somehow makes the fans find a new respect for their former nemesis. The phenomenon isn’t relegated to the sport of racing; but can be found throughout the sporting world. Athletes like Reggie Jackson, Brett Favre and Jimmy Conners all have seen the acceptance of fans at a new level once their heyday has been completed.
Gordon may be beyond another championship; but never again will you hear fans bemoan him his victories. Gordon has proven once again that he can win a race and for NASCAR fans a smattering of them as he winds down his career will be just fine, thank you.
As an aside–Is it just me; or does Jeff look a lot like Ray Evernham in the above picture?
photo credit: BethAnne Heisler/ON PIT ROW