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Happy Hour: Smash and burn

Jay Hart
Yahoo Sports

Either a lot of you are soothsayers or some of you are fibbing. I'm going with the latter, because I can't believe 73 percent of you (according to a Yahoo! Sports poll) predicted Tony Stewart would have success in his first year as an owner-driver.

I know I didn't.

Let's empty the mailbag:

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Rock star or rock head

Jay, I'm sure I will not be the only one who will speak about Kyle Busch's tantrum breaking up a beautiful Guitar last night. I have enjoyed your view of the many issues over the years and just wanted you to know this action has turned me off from NASCAR. Kyle has no place in the sport acting like a spoiled kid. My Grandchildren asked me why he did that (smashing a guitar). I tried to explain it but could not. I'm about to turn NASCAR off for good as I do not need this type of behavior as entertainment.

Terry Ven Roy

I've been going back and forth on this one, Terry. As I watched it on TV, my first thought went to Sam Bass, who spent a lot of time designing the guitar only to watch Kyle destroy it in a couple of seconds. But I also get that Kyle was having a little fun and, in his mind, was doing something cool by breaking off pieces to give to his crew.

I guess this one comes down to different strokes for different folks. Personally, I don't have a problem with what he did. However you feel about it, though, the guitar smash is not further proof that Kyle is a bad guy. At the very worse, he didn't think it all the way through.


Smoke screen

Can we ease up on the "Tony Stewart is doing something mind boggling" stuff from the press? He's basically driving the same equipment Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon and Mark Martin are driving. As for his "ability to manage people," let's give it more than half a year to determine his worth as an owner … good grief.

John Joseph
Laguna Niguel, Calif.

Jenna Fryer made a great point in her Yahoo! Sports column on Monday. When the Chase rolls around, will the passing of information from Johnson and Gordon to Stewart and Ryan Newman continue? I can't imagine Chad Knaus wants to see his and Johnson's three-year reign come to an end by someone using information he's gathered.


Poor Zippy

Jay, I was wondering about Greg Zipadelli's stress level after his separation with Smoke. I am longtime fan of Tony and Zippy, and I was sorry to see them split up. We can all see that Tony is doing just fine and I am thinking that the pressure to win and finish in the top five every week is lifted from Greg's shoulders. Making his life a little easier? At least for this year.

Jeff Johnson
Petersburg, Mich.

I talked with Zippy at Pocono and he admitted that his stress level was sky high following the race at Texas, which put the No. 20 on the cusp of falling out of the top 35. In fact, he said the stress of staying inside the top 35 topped that of running for a championship. But now that Joey Logano is safely in the top 35 after a couple of solid finishes, Zippy said the pressure has eased and they can now focus on looking forward rather than behind them.


Risk and reward

How about this: If you win the regular-season points race you should have some reward for this. I mean something that means something. I suggest that the regular season winner be awarded first choice of pit stall for the entire chase. The poll winner will have second choice. There should be something of meaning to the winner of the regular season. In other sports they get home field. First pit choice is the closest thing I can think of as a reward to give a "home-field" advantage.

James Tate
Norton, Va.

There definitely needs to be a reward for leading the points after 26 races. As it is now, you could lead the points and start the Chase 12th if you don't win a race and the other 11 do. Ricky Craven has suggested giving first pit selection to the regular-season champ. In the past I've debated that first pit-stall selection for the entire Chase is too much of an advantage. After all, baseball teams don't get home-field advantage for all seven games of a series. This is why I prefer a points bonus for the regular-season champ. Is 50 points enough? Is 100 too many? That's where I'm stuck.


No more excuses for Junior. Quote just one time that he said that he was running poorly because of his crew chief. Just as he was telling as his poor performance is the "Hart issue." You have never demonstrated any journalistic success reporting about NASCAR. But have instead opted to drag NASCAR down to the level of the Hollywood tabloids. Now you even bring Paris Hilton into your blog (not good enough to be called a feature article).

Can you exist without Junior and the Junior Nation? This is a serious question for your boss. If they realize that you can't it may not be too late; study the feature articles of the late David Poole and try hard to be a sports editor instead of what you have become. I get it. It is not Jr. that you are so miffed about. It is his fans. Get over it.

Milan Kosanovich
Ocala, Fla.


Jay, your feature article was the real deal for once and not the celeb tabloid junk that you have been posting. The sport needs journalistic leadership after the demise of David Poole. Can you step up and be that man?

Milan Kosanovich
Ocala, Fla.

Unfortunately, I don't know which article Milan enjoyed. It may have been my take on the race at Dover, or was it last week's mailbag? Either way, it took me only three days to gain Milan's approval, so I got that going for me, which is nice.


This and that

Hey Jay … We have a Carl Long petition site up and going. Check it out. Carl Long was essentially given the death penalty by NASCAR for an infraction that was measured by fractions of an inch and provided no competitive advantage. Common sense and compassion would dictate that NASCAR and the National Stock Car Racing Commission should re-evaluate the severity of the imposed penalty and reduce it so Carl Long, an independent racer on a small budget, can continue to compete in NASCAR.

SaveCarlLong.com, a petition site, was established by a longtime race fan in order to provide a place where NASCAR fans can voice their collective concern over the injustice. Sign the petition today at www.SaveCarlLong.com. (This is in no way affiliated or endorsed by Carl Long.)

George Zhen
Coral Springs, Fla.


When a driver goes to a backup car, or replaces the engine and has to start from the back of the field, does his car go through as rigorous of an inspection before the race as his primary car and/or engine did? Am I the only one who thinks it seems like way too many drivers are winning or having extremely strong finishes after switching engines/cars and starting from the rear of the field?

Al Jubb
Pasadena, Md.

Backup cars and engines are tested just as stringently as their primary counterparts. Before the chassis even make it to the track, they must be certified by NASCAR. On race day, all cars go through a point-by-point done by some 50 NASCAR inspectors. This is an area NASCAR takes very seriously, so no, backups don't have the advantage you're talking about.


Last call …

Jay, seriously … I will pay you 100.00 USD if you refrain from talking about Dale Jr. until he 1) wins a race or better yet, 2) is actually competitive.

John B.
Orlando, Fla.