Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at firstname.lastname@example.org (note new address) or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.
Remember, even though the season's done, we're not. Usual nonsense here every day of the week. And hey, if you want to get a letter printed, NOW IS THE TIME. We'll need plenty o'material for this feature each week.
For now, we start by considering the sanity of one of the offseason's central figures ...
Does Steve Addington have a fetish for the undercarriage of multi-passenger conveyances? Why else would he sign on with a third straight driver that WILL throw his crew chief under the bus?
Ah, undercarriage fetishes. The reason why the internet was invented. Tip: do NOT do a search on the phrase "undercarriage fetishes." Some things you just can't unsee. Anyway, where were we? Oh, yeah, Addington. Yeah, you do have to wonder a bit about his sanity in dealing with the three most notorious hotheads in NASCAR today. Shoot, I'd put them in the top 10 all-time.
But look at it this way: Kurt Busch, Kyle Busch and Tony Stewart are also three of the most talented drivers in the sport. And if you happen to be the type of person who can let torrents of rage roll off you like rain off a roof, hey, you're going to be running up front all season long. It's a small price to pay for getting the top layer of your skin peeled off over the radio every Sunday.
Plus, have we established that Addington is not, in fact, deaf? Because if he were, that would explain an awful lot.
I'm a pretty hardcore Tony Stewart fan, and I'm absolutely ecstatic over his championship win (and particularly the fashion in which it was won), but a question troubles me after reading your last mailbag post. One reader thought it suspicious that the top 2 in points were so much faster than the rest of the field. I don't personally think that any funny business was going on (after all, the 48 crew wasn't involved) ... but say that there was. Tony wins the race, and wins the championship on a tiebreaker, then his car fails post-race inspections — we just had a huge celebration, trophy presentation, the works, and now they take it all away? How would this be handled? Does any inspection occur before all the celebrating to make sure everything is legit? This would be my worst nightmare!
Saint Clair Shores, Mich.
Congratulations to you, Tom, and to all the other Smoke fans out there who weathered a drought of six long years between championships. Now, to answer your question: NASCAR did inspections pre-race, bringing Stewart's and Carl Edwards' cars in for a thorough look-over several days before the race.
Now, if you want to get all JFK-conspiracy theory, you could say that Stewart and Edwards could have done work between that inspection and the race, or — oh, here's an even better one! — NASCAR let Stewart slide to give Rick Hendrick and Chevy another championship! You know, because they could predict that Stewart would be able to finish just one second ahead of Edwards! Alas, NASCAR does post-race inspections, as well, and Stewart passed.
Anyway ... boy, we have a tendency to wander in the offseason ... don't sweat it, all's on the up-and-up. Or all's totally rigged. Whichever makes you feel better.
Jay, Jay, Jay, you still don't get it. You said, "Seriously, Obama could go door-to-door handing out candy- ...
Nope. Sorry. Not going to be taking any more Obama/booing emails. (And oh, I've got plenty.) We've ground that topic into a fine, chewy paste, and we won't be revisiting it again. (Though I have been invited to appear on a couple of conservative radio talk shows; that ought to be fun.) Moving onward ...
I do have ESPN with my cable package, but if you were ESPN would it not make sense to put the Chase races on ABC? I mean, they are putting movies on ABC Sunday afternoons. It seems the NASCAR race would generate much greater interest than these movies and I am not for sure about those movies' ratings, but they have to be much lower than they would be for NASCAR. At ESPN, is there a reason they give why they will not put the races on regular television?
— Jacob Stotz
Another Michigan writer? We're stomping on the Upper Midwest like Ndamukong Suh! (Sorry, Detroit.) Anyway, here's the deal: ABC/ESPN has made the decision to consolidate the Chase races on the World Wide Leader, with the exception of the Saturday night race, as a way of consolidating the coverage. It does tick some people off, yes, and I agree that there's some kind of cachet that's lost by going to a cable network and not a "broadcast" one ... but we're still very much in a transitional period in sports broadcasting now. Ten years from now, you'll be able to watch Joey Logano and Trevor Bayne on any device imaginable, and the idea of "broadcast networks" will seem as quaint as music on little thin strips of plastic on spools. (And no, Junior Nation, I won't make the obvious next joke. You owe me.)
And those freakin' Sunday afternoon movies do a much better than you'd expect. You'd think pretty much anybody out there who wanted to see "The Mummy Returns" would have done it by now, but yep, it still runs every weekend. There are affiliates out there who won't run certain late-night talk shows like Jimmy Kimmel because two-decade-old M*A*S*H reruns get better ratings. America: when we find something we like, we don't ever let go of it!
It seems to me that after the Kurt Busch/Dr. Jerry Punch encounter at Homestead that NASCAR and team owners need to take some significant steps to curb the profanity problem. The bleeps over the radios and in car cameras seemed to have reached record proportions. We try to teach our kids to deal with anger in constructive ways and then they see their heroes in NASCAR breaking all those standards of appropriate behavior. Kurt Busch has been a real poster child of the profanity problem both in and out of the car. I can't understand how Penske allows it and Shell does not take some action.
It is becoming evident that NASCAR is not going to address this problem. I would suggest that if you are offended like I have been that you write to advertisers directly and let them know that this has to be brought under control.
Sponsorship is so hard to come by these days. I guess that I don't understand how drivers and teams can allow anything to happen that could result in negative feedback to a sponsor.
— Richard Lewis
Richard wrote this letter before the $50,000 fine against Busch was announced, so that might soften his stance a little bit. Here's my thing: I don't have a problem with Busch cursing over the radio. Those are in-team communications we're hearing. But I can understand how certain sponsors might not be thrilled with the idea of their poster boy teaching everybody a few new words and phrases. (I'll never look at a monkey and a football the same way again.)
What concerns me much more are the "secret fines" NASCAR metes out for speech. Look at Denny Hamlin; the poor guy is just about neutered now on Twitter after getting fined for speaking out. If you want to attract people to this sport, you need edgy personalities. And edgy personalities sometimes go farther than you'd like. That's the very definition of "edgy." So, yes, we could have a nice, pleasant little array of sponsor-thanking drones, or we could have drivers who speak their minds and occasionally tick off someone in a position of power. I know which one I'd prefer, and I also know which one NASCAR would, too.
Time to wrap up with a little praise.
That was the worst article I have read lately. Next time take a little longer to write it.
I used to get that exact message on pretty much every English paper I turned in from fourth grade right through college. Sad thing is, I have no idea which article he means, and it could really apply to pretty much anything I write.
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 email@example.com, find us on Facebook right here, or hit us up on Twitter at @jaybusbee. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!