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From the Marbles

Happy Hour: What should be the protocol for rain races?

Jay Busbee
From The Marbles

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Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at happyhournascar@yahoogroups.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.

You sick of the Olympics yet? It's keeping us all hopping in the sportswriting world, that's for sure. Did you even know trampolining was a sport? And freaking horse dancing -- sorry, "dressage"? I didn't. And they give NASCAR grief for "not" being a sport? Come on. We need to have NASCAR in the Olympics, if only because it would make the Opening Ceremony's march of nations that much more interesting with a few Cars of Tomorrow in the mix.

All right, your letters. And we begin with a subject that's all wet (Sorry. Really sorry.):

I know the difference between what happened at Auto Club Speedway when the track wouldn't stop leaking water a few years ago and a rain-shortened race. When a race is called short due to rain, is there a chance they could finish the race the next day? Also, with how severe the weather was [at Pocono] they needed to have called it sooner due to the lightning strikes in the area.

Matt P.
Wynne

Agree completely with your assessment of calling the race, Matt. They certainly should have called it earlier. The problem is, calling a race while there's no rain is a difficult decision to make; there'll be screams of protest. But NASCAR should have paid much closer attention to the reality of the weather, not the possibility.

As for finishing a race the next day: sure, it's doable; it was done as recently as 2009 at the Coca-Cola 600. Logistically it can be tricky, getting that many fans in and out and back in and out again over the course of two days, plus teams run on a very tight schedule. As much as I am in favor of giving fans full value for their dollar, sometimes it just doesn't work out. I'd feel a lot worse if we were talking about a track that only has one race, too.

Oh, and for the record: I consider rain wins every bit as valid as full-race ones. I'm just glad Junior didn't break his streak on one. And hey, speaking of Junior...

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Did anyone else notice Dale Earnhardt Jr. jump out of the car quickly [at Pocono] and start jacking it up to get the transmission changed? Never have seen another driver do it. I guessing probably not since Alan Kulwicki has that happened. If that ain't proof of Jr.'s new dedication, I don't know what is.

Matt
Columbus, Ohio

Good point. Junior wants to run well, very badly. And when you're wrecked, there are a few things you can do. You can stay in the car, like Jimmie Johnson did at Texas a couple years back when it looked like his Chase hopes were vaporized, inspiring your team by saying you're not going to walk away. You can jump out and help, like Junior did. (I'd imagine that there are a few owner-drivers who've done the same thing, if only because they didn't have anyone else helping.) Or you can climb out of the car, all pissed off and such, and stew to the cameras, which helps exactly nobody except those filthy Internet media vermin who jump on every word you say.

Wait, where were we? Oh, yeah, Junior. You think the crew was like, "We got it from here, man. Seriously. Go drink some Dew or something." But I'm sure they appreciated the gesture.

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MORON!

No, Jay, not you. [Whew. -JB] A.J. there is no excuse for being that STUPID.

My kids tell ... [very, very slanderous but also rather funny lines deleted] ... a guy who knows he is subjected to random drug test would just pop an unknown pill.

Dale
(AKA Gator)

Yeah, Dinger has a lot to answer for in the coming weeks. As I said earlier this week, he's either monumentally dishonest or monumentally stupid to take something like this at face value. Who knows? Maybe when you get to a certain point in ANY career, you stop thinking about what COULD happen. You get that protective bubble. You start to think you're invulnerable. My Yahoo! contract, for instance, prohibits me from participating in activities which could be detrimental to the company's image. And yet just the other day I was driving with my windows down, and "Call Me Maybe" came on, and ... and ... and I listened to the whole song! I might even have sung along! Oh, man, am I in trouble now.

All right, seriously: I do hope for the best for Allmendinger, and hope that if it was just one stupid decision he's not penalized forever.

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After a whole year of having great finishes ripped away from him by the absolute worst luck, how poetic is it that Jeff Gordon finally gets his well deserved win handed to him on a silver platter when everyone in front of him wrecks right before rain stops the race?

Sean Gossett

Funny how NASCAR has a way of working out, isn't it? I was certain Gordon was going to run into Bigfoot climbing the fence in the back straightaway and give away the win that way.

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So it was announced this week that Danica Patrick is moving to Cup full-time next year. Not a good idea. I think Nascar should start making requirement to become a Cup driver. For example, in order to be a Cup driver, you should at least have a couple of wins, a couple of top 5, top 10s in the Truck Series or Nationwide before moving to Cup. Isn't the Cup supposed to be the best of the best? I hope she re-consider and stay in the Nationwide full-time until she shows everyone that she can win.

— Carlos from Los Angeles...that's right, a fan from the city of angels

Hey, our Yahoo! offices are in Santa Monica, so there's a little NASCAR love there. Anyway, I get what you're saying ... that actually makes a fair amount of sense. Maybe I'm too Olympics-addled, but what would be the problem with having a set of benchmarks you have to meet in order to "graduate" to the next series? Could you get relegated back down to the lower levels if you failed to meet certain marks over the course of a few years?

Of course, this all is completely irrelevant when you consider what the true driving force is in NASCAR: money. Anyone that can make money, like Danica Patrick or Travis Pastrana, is going to find the route to Sprint Cup a bit easier. And shoot, if we got a couple of those Fierce Five gymnast girls to drive? We'd be golden. Of course, I'm not sure they could reach the pedals by themselves, but damn, would they put Carl Edwards' backflip to shame.

And on that ridiculous 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 happyhournascar@yahoogroups.com. 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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