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.
So I was running low on gas the other day and I tried the Jimmie Johnson solution: turn off the engine and coast, then turn it back on again. FYI: It doesn't work so well in traffic. Now, your letters, starting with the topic du jour:
Urt, Urt, Urt. A lot of us try, and I mean really try, to give you a chance to redeem yourself but it's getting about time to kick you to the curb. This latest deal, roaring through the 39 pits because you were angry, shows me the new attitude is superficial. Like a potential sponsor, I'm going to have to put my money somewhere else. You're an extremely talented driver; just look at how you mowed down the field at last week's Southern 500 with an underfunded team, but you are too much of a liability. I was really hoping to see some real change. How cool would it be to see some great storylines like Phoenix Racing getting a Chase berth? I'm sure writers like Busbee had the whole "phoenix-rising-from-the ashes" story ready in the back of their minds (sorry JayB, no Pulitzer there). What great stuff this would have been. Sorry, Urt, you're fired!
The Kurt Busch saga fascinates me for so many reasons. Have we ever had an athlete in the prime of his career detonating like this? I can't think of anyone; help me out. What Busch's increasingly unhinged rants have shown is that you just cannot trust the guy. He absolutely has a world of talent, but he needed to look at this year as a flat-out internship where anything above finishing half the races constituted a success. Instead, he probably scared away any sponsors or potential new owners with this rant; can you hear it and think there's any chance he changed? At some point, you run out of second chances.
I'm done, man. I'm done watching NASCAR. FOX has ruined it for me. From their five-laps-per-commercial-break average, to the inane and mind-numbing commentary spouting from the GoDaddy-[uh, let's say "cheering" - JB] mouths of DW and Mike Joy, FOX has made NASCAR unwatchable. Danica Patrick isn't compelling to me no matter how many times we're force-fed her story. Besides, how are we supposed to take her seriously as a driver when her main sponsor is carpet bombing the coverage with their terrible commercials and in-race ads (lest I forget her 'respectable' 31st place finish, six laps down).
I'll be at Bristol this fall; at least live racing will always be exciting and DW-free. Now I'll just have to figure out what to do with my free time on Sunday afternoons. Croquet anyone?
I'm a beast at croquet. You're on. But dude, don't give up yet! Fox only has a few more races! Then we're on to TNT and ESPN! I'm not going to weigh in on the relative merits of each broadcast team; everybody's got their own favorites (and some prefer simple silence). I will say that I can understand why people are sick of the Danica coverage … to some extent, it's the NASCAR equivalent of ESPN slobbering all over everything Boston. Might I humbly suggest our raceday chat? It's not a Danica-free zone, but everybody takes shots at everyone. Except for the Orange Cone. That fella's sacred.
In the early days of NASCAR, the sport was just as much a race of endurance as it was speed. The rate of attrition was significantly higher. The technology for building engines and transmissions that could handle the rigors of 500 miles without self destructing on a semi-regular basis wasn't readily available. With better tech and testing, the endurance aspect of the sport is essentially a non-factor. Is it time for NASCAR to consider shortening these races? I'm thinking in the ballpark of 150-mile range for NCWTS, 200-mile range for NWS, and 300-mile range for NSCS. I may be in the minority but I truly believe that these 4+ hour races are as outdated as the carbureted engine or non-synchronous transmission.
—Darrell "Furiousd" Watts
I absolutely agree, and you've hit on a point that has some traction. Why do races have to be 500 miles? Sure, it's a nice round number, but you're right — there's no mechanical or technological reason for the race to be that length any longer. Every car is almost certainly going to make it to the finish in one piece, even those driven by Sam Hornish Jr. and Steve Wallace. Plus, consider the fact that we're living in a much faster-paced world now; attention spans are completely — HEY, GET BACK HERE! I WASN'T DONE TALKING! Anyway, yeah, you can make races shorter for the TV audience while still preserving the hang-out-and-get-drunk-all-day-and-call-in-sick-till-Thursday joy that is attending a race in person.
Before the Nationwide race at Darlington on Friday, the ESPN announcers were talking to Denny Hamlin over the radio. They mentioned talking to the drivers during a green flag run. Apparently they got in trouble for doing that a couple of years ago. That reminded me of a video I found on youtube. This is Tim Richmond during a race in 1986 at North Wilkesboro. Enjoy.