It seems Jimmie Johnson is in the process of making Kurt Busch popular. We'll get to that brewing feud, as well as questions about Pocono – someone actually loved the race! – and continue our discussion on NASCAR vs. the NFL.
So let's get to the mailbag:
If Carl Edwards got probation for wrecking Brad Keselowski after Brad intentionally tried to take him out, then Jimmie Johnson should get at minimum of probation for what he did on Sunday. That was not the first time he intentionally took Kurt Busch out of a race.
Is NASCAR going to fine Jimmy Johnson for aggressive driving for the little stunt at Pocono? If Robby Gordon (or any other non-"Golden Boy") had done that to Jimmie, Gordo or Little E he would have been black flagged, fined and losing driver and owner points. Don't say that wouldn't be the case, because it has happened in the past. There is no consistency in their penalty process. This is why attendance and viewership is down. Modern NASCAR has lost its soul. What do you think, Jay?
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I think there is an overreaction here. Yes, Jimmie Johnson screwed up, but it was hardly on purpose. And Johnson's "aggressive" driving is hardly an epidemic. So in that way, I disagree that there is no consistency.
Kurt Busch has every reason to be mad, and it's him, not Johnson, who should "race the other differently," as Johnson said he would Busch earlier this season.
Of all the "feuds" we've seen this season – Edwards vs. Keselowski, Jeff Gordon vs. Johnson, Joey Logano vs. Kevin Harvick – this is the one that will linger. Busch is ticked off, and at some point he is going to seek his revenge. When that happens, it's going to be on, and Brian France and the rest of the NASCAR brass will secretly be loving it.
Trivia question – what four-time Cup championship-winning golden boy doesn't know how to bump draft?
Jay, here's two things I'd never thought I'd say: Thank God Elliot Sadler is OK and what a hellova race at Pocono.
Iowa City, Iowa
Instead of being dead, Sadler walked away from that wreck. That's a pretty measurable difference, and that's all thanks to NASCAR developing a safer car and mandating that drivers wear the HANS device.
As for Pocono, say what you will about the race, but the place produces the best restarts of any track on the schedule. Of course, that probably has more to do with the fact that passing there midway through a green-flag run happens about as often as Sam Hornish leads laps.
If there was ever evidence of why races there need to be shortened, this is it. The place CAN produce exciting racing. By trimming 50 laps, you shrink the potential for long green-flag runs (which is when the racing gets strung out) which, conceivably, would lead to more short runs, and Pocono on short runs is pretty freaking good.
I think most fans can agree on one thing … no more cookie cutters. So what does NASCAR do? They add Kentucky to the schedule. Brilliant.
D. Watts (aka Furiousd)
And Kansas is expected to be getting a second Cup date in 2011.
I agree 100 percent. Mile-and-a-half tracks do not produce consistently good and/or distinguishable racing. If you asked me who won at Sonoma last season, I can tell you instantly. Kasey Kahne. If you asked me who won at Chicagoland three weeks ago … hold on, let me look it up … David Reutimann. Seriously, I had to look it up.
Cookie-cutter races are like Jennifer Aniston movies – they're pretty on the outside, but once they get started you realize you've seen the same thing about 100 times. None were terrible, but none were very good, either.
Question? I agree with your observation about NASCAR being stupid going head to head with the NFL, but what are the details on how well you think that NASCAR will match up with NCAA football. My local observation from here in Georgia is that NASCAR fans tend to love their SEC football as much if not more that their racing. Since the TV networks get to decide which game to show on Saturday night, you don't see too many "BYU vs. New Mexico State" type games in October and November. Are you sure NASCAR can compete on Saturday night?
It's not so much about moving races to Saturday nights as it is starting the Chase before the NFL (and football in general) starts monopolizing our sport's psyche. As it is, the Chase begins on Sept. 19 – 10 days after the beginning of the NFL season – and doesn't end until Week 11 of the NFL schedule.
By starting the Chase in August, be it on Saturday nights or Sunday afternoons, you can potentially tap into the sports fan who is looking for sports programming at a time when sports programming is in a lull. Once invested, a decent portion of them will conceivably stick with NASCAR to see the Chase through to the end, which would come in early October, leaving plenty of football for them to still enjoy.
First of all, great job. Secondly, I agree with you regarding the overlapping of football season. As a lifelong NASCAR fan, I am also a lifelong Jets fan. Come Sundays in the fall, if the Jets or Giants play opposite a race, guess what I'm going to watch? Football of course. Each game is way too important to miss. As I said, I am a lifelong NASCAR fan, and one of hundreds of thousands of people who do the same thing on any given Sunday in the fall. It's just good business to shorten the season.
Just to clarify your NASCAR wisdom, How many races do you attend each year?
La Verne, Calif.
And that matters why? I get to about a dozen or so races a year, but could go to all 36 and it wouldn't change the reality.
I get that there are a lot of diehard fans out there that couldn't give a crap about the NFL. But here's the thing: you are in the minority. And no matter how diehard you are, you still only count once.
I'm a Jay Hart fan. I laugh when I read about fans questioning your loyalty to NASCAR. I encourage those that question your love for the sport to simply log into the Yahoo! race chat any Sunday. It can only be a labor of love for you to keep us informed and entertained during races when you easily could watch them undisturbed and write your article on Monday.
I've questioned how you can actually enjoy a race when you are reading peoples questions, answering them and chatting with us. I for one thank you and Jay Busbee.
Appreciate the kind words, Gordo. Busbee and I both have a great time on the chats. Yeah, we're juggling a lot, but it's worth it if we're making the races more enjoyable for our audience.
Last call …
That was my new "I'm mad but I'm not going to say anything that will get me fined" interview format. Whadda ya think?