Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at email@example.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.
Is it hot where you are? At the risk of descending into hack comedian material, SWEET MOTHER OF MERCY IT'S SO HOT I JUST SAW A SQUIRREL BURST INTO FLAME. You know it's hot when you get into the pool and it doesn't feel cool, it just feels like you're sitting in the kiddie pool. (Ew.) Anyway, your favorite NASCAR drivers are ... oh, wait, they're in like 200-degree cars for four hours while we watch in air-conditioned comfort. Never mind.
Carl Edwards can say what he wants, but he simply isn't over the 2011 season. The telling quote was toward the end of his interview [after Kentucky] — he first says he's "not tore up" over losing to Tony Stewart last year on a tiebreaker, but then later states, "We got beat on a crazy call by Darian Grubb" ... so basically, yeah, he's still tore up over last year, and anyone who knows Carl or has been around the garage — journalists included — know that it's true.
He absolutely cannot let it go (not saying that I blame him, just saying that it's a fact). You didn't get beat on a "crazy call", Carl - you got beat in 10 races, 5 of which Stewart won. The Chase isn't won or lost by one call by one crew chief on one occasion. Your choices are: 1) Get over it or 2) Miss the Chase. I'm betting on #2.
There certainly seems to be something to this second-place curse, and I can't even imagine how tough it must be for Carl Edwards to lose the closest championship run in all sports history. Seriously, even an extra-inning World Series Game 7 has to finish with one team winning. The 2011 Chase finished with both drivers dead freaking even.
What Edwards should have taken from his defeat, though, is that nobody is ever, ever out of it when the Chase begins ... and, hell, even five or six races into the Chase. Therefore, the rule is simple: Get. In. The. Chase. Can he do it? I think so, but unless something changes in a hurry, I don't see him making any noise even if he does. That team is still shell-shocked, whether they're willing to publicly admit it or not.
Re: Dinger. [Potentially libelous jumping-to-conclusions deleted] I believe it will end his career because this is a sponsor driven sport and nobody will stake their name on even a suspected drug user. It will not make a real difference if his B sample comes back clean because he will already be labeled.
Allmendinger's situation is so ever-changing right now that I'm hesitant to even comment on it because you might read this article after he's been found innocent of all charges, and then won't I look stupid calling for his head? Anyway, perception is reality in NASCAR, and you're right, he's dug himself a huge hole here. Best-case scenario, short of a "B" sample exoneration, is that he puts this behind him and doesn't get into an ugly he-said/NASCAR-said fight. We know how that will turn out. But again, let's hold off on making him into a NASCAR drug kingpin until we know more.
NASCAR seriously needs to re-think what they're doing at Daytona and Talladega. What they're offering us at these two tracks is boring to watch, unless you like to see torn-up race cars.There's no racing, no passing, everyone just rides around waiting for the crash. They've just messed around with things to the point where these plate races are a waste of time to watch. Brian France should fire himself!
(Throws up hands in absolute defeat on the plate-race issue)
I'm very disappointed in a lot of the Nationwide drivers from Friday's race. [Danica Patrick] had a very powerful and stout car that could almost run by itself and didn't need someone pushing her. I think had she not been wrecked the big story of the weekend would have been her first win. But the reason I'm so disappointed is the blatant and obvious attitude of the other drivers toward the 7 car. The only two drivers that would work with her were the 22 and the 88. Everyone else seemed to avoid working with her like she had cooties. I have to feel like this was a very bad black eye for the drivers and makes me embarrassed to think to how they may treat others who are different in the future just because they have a perceived notion that "someone" doesn't belong with them on the race track.
Jay: I would really like to see how NASCAR fans feel about Austin Dillon keep bring up that he would like to drive the #3 in cup series. I hear this all the time and in my opinion, he has been groomed by grampa [Richard Choldress] for awhile now and gets the best everything money can buy, and he keeps asking for more and more and now he wants to drive #3 in cup series. It looks as if he is begging for it and putting grampa on the spot in front of the media hoping he will jump up and say "Yes." It's kind of pathetic for someone to want something to special when he has not earned it, and personally I think it should be retired.
"MidMichigan Online Auctions"
Interesting name there, friend. Anyway, I'm in the "retire the number" camp for the 3, the 43 and certain others, though many do disagree with me. I understand the appeal of having a number out there every week, but to me it does diminish the value of the number itself. And yes, many drivers have jumped numbers throughout their career, but certain numbers are iconic and should stay that way.
It seems that perhaps Brad Keselowski is the only Cup Series driver who "gets it;" that once you're in the top 10 in points as the season winds down to the Chase, WINS MATTER. Seems like everyone else in the Cup series (other than perhaps Kasey Kahne, who's desperately trying to get into the Chase) is just on cruise control, as if 3rd is as good as a win, which is as good as 5th place. Have the other drivers truly forgotten about the Chase bonus for wins, or is the fear of losing a spot or two when actually racing for a win that large of a fear?
Where else in sports do we see that attitude, where "almost" winning is good enough?
Mark D. Knight
New Salisbury, Ind.
And yes, losing a spot or 20 is a huge fear, particularly when you've got so many drivers bunched around 10th place and so many fighting for a wild card spot. We're going to have several drivers with one win on the outside looking in. The solutions? Either let everyone who wins a race into the Chase, or amp up the point value for high finishes. Make a top-10 finish worth more than one point better than an 11th-place. Or, hell, do away with the Chase altogether and don't worry if the season is already settled by September.
And on that note, we're out. Thanks to all our writers this week. You want in? Fire up the computer and hit us with whatever's on your mind, NASCAR-wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR coverage on Facebook right here, and you can follow me on Twitter at @jaybusbee and on Facebook here. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!
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- Carl Edwards