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 or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.
Night races always bring out the crazy in all of us. This past Saturday night, our chat degenerated into a cacophony of insults and one-liners, and when one of our readers revealed that she had a bear in her backyard (not a euphemism), things fell off the edge of a cliff. ("Bear on unicycle vs. Dale Earnhardt Jr.: who ya got?") Bottom line: we've got another night race coming up this weekend. I strongly recommend you spend your time with us. You won't regret it. And now, on to your letters:
Can we just stop, everyone? I mean, really. Yes, Brad Keselowski figured out how to game the pit road timing system. But have we already forgotten about Jimmie Johnson doing the same thing? Hell, FOX practically spent a whole race watching the timing system to show how it works. It's actually not about how fast you're going. It's how long you take between two lines. But it does seem like Brad took it to a whole new level. So how about this? Keep the current system, including the 5-mph buffer. But use the transponder that all of the cars carry, and if it shows at any point you were more than 10 mph over the limit, then it's a penalty. That would be more in the NASCAR spirit of "here's the rule and here's a little grey area to play around in."
— Sam Sevr
I get the idea, but that's piling rule on top of rule. A simpler solution would be to just increase the number of timing spots so that there's not room to jack it up to double pit road speed. And, of course, this is a rule that only stinks if your guy didn't figure it out first.
Anybody here from New Jersey? If so, first off, my apologies, but second: is it true that you can use the Keselowski/Kenseth technique to dodge tickets on the New Jersey Turnpike? They give you a card when you get onto the Turnpike, then you give that ticket back when you get off, and if you've gone too fast, rumor has it, you get nailed ... so you dodge that by stopping off for some oh-so-delicious Sbarro pizza. Now that I think about it, perhaps this is a rumor started by the folks at Sbarro. Somebody verify this for me.
In other motorsports (Indycar, Formula 1) cars have pit road limiters that prevent them from exceeding the speed limit and gaining a competitive advantage. Now that NASCAR is adding technology with fuel injectors, why can't they add that? Speeding penalties would no longer be an issue, and no one would unfairly gain positions on pit road.
— Ben Neb
Good idea, but I loathe the idea of something taking the control out of the driver's hands. I always used to hate that when I'd rent a moving truck and couldn't crank it anywhere over 60 mph. Then again, maybe that was for the best. Still, I think that better enforcement of existing rules, not new rules, is the way to go.
Were Brad and Matt speeding? No doubt about it. Bending the rules is a part of racing. From where we were sitting on the front stretch I saw no less than 6 or 7 drivers who took advantage of their pit box to do the same ... Gordon has a point, but I think if he was complaining it can be accredited to sour grapes because anyone with an advantageous pit box can do it. Suck it up, and as the old saying goes, "It's not illegal until they say I can't do it."
— Robert Swick
That line was part of my marriage vows. Unfortunately, my wife's next vow was, "I say you can't do it." So that was that.
Boris Said got reamed by just about everyone for hard driving on the last lap at Watkins Glen. Where's all the disdain for David Stremme? Stremme (a lapped-traffic car) intentionally wrecks David Reutimann (a lead lap car) with over 200 laps of the race left and all anyone wants to talk about is how Denny Hamlin and Paul Menard were innocent bystanders caught up in it. This was way beyond "boys, have at it," and if purposefully wrecking anyone who races you hard or gets loose and into you is considered acceptable by the drivers and NASCAR, we might as well just turn the series into Demolition Derby.
Lake Forest, CA
Let's not go straight slippery-slope on every argument. Because one driver makes a dumb move doesn't mean NASCAR is instantly turning into utter anarchy. As for Stremme, there were a few issues there: 1. He didn't shoot his mouth off after the race; 2. It was David Reutimann he hit, not a Chase driver; 3. Hamlin recovered well enough to finish in the top 10. So, yeah, the outrage was a little more contained.
Here's a thought, though: is there any Chase-level driver running right now whose turning would generate universal outrage? If someone goes and turns Kyle Busch or Jimmie Johnson, the stands erupt. I'd say Mark Martin or Jeff Burton, but they're not Chase drivers. So here's the question: who's the most beloved Chase driver right now? Anybody?
And now, let's discuss the Kyle Busch/Elliott Sadler truck two-step at Bristol:
So I thought Kyle was "new" or "mature," or so your homies in the media have been telling me this year. But what was he thinking in the truck race? Severely damaged, limping around the track for a few laps just so he could intentionally wreck someone? And if you watch the replay of the initial wreck IT WAS KRYLES FAULT! he should be put on probation for that sissy move. More mature my [back end]. Anyone that believes that there is a "new" Kyle can have first dibs on some leftover Enron stock I am selling for $1000 a share.
— Chris in Crestview
Here's the problem with shorthand profiles of any driver: "Kyle's changed!" "Jimmie's not vanilla!" "Junior's back!" That kind of black-and-white thinking can be disproven with a single move. For my part, I think Kyle has matured, but yeah, that move at Bristol was bush (ha!)-league level. Does he deserve probation? Nope. Fine? Yep. Points docked? Yep, for all the good it'd do. Guy's a driver, guy's got some issues with Kevin Harvick, guy's going to take out his emotions in a safer locale than the Sprint Cup. Whatever's done to him, it won't be enough for his haters and it'll be too much in the eyes of his fans.
Rule of thumb, friends: NASCAR is always biased against your driver. Always.
And here's a little photo-illustration of the Busch-Sadler battle courtesy of reader Timid Observer. Offer your critique in the comments, and feel free to send us your own artwork.
Danica Patrick drives for Dale Earnhardt Jr.'s Nationwide team.
Danica will drive for Tony Stewart's NASCAR team next year.
Earnhardt Jr.'s contract is up this year with Hendrick.
Does this mean that Junior will move to Stewart Haas next year also?
If Junior moves, does that mean that Martin will stay with Hendrick or do they go after another free agent?
— G Man's Gone
I love this kind of A, then B, then C, then D reasoning. Keep tracing it and you can pin the Kennedy assassination on a Joe Gibbs Racing driver. (Joey Logano can't account for his whereabouts that day. That's all I'm saying.) Anyway, the problem with this particular rationale is that Junior's contract runs through 2012, and he's very close to an extension. So, no go. But good try.
And finally, there's this:
Is Brad Keselowski's ankle really hurt? I mean, really! If you ankle is swelled and hurts, would you jump up and down on the top of your race car? Or would you jump down? I mean, really? I'm not dumb. No sympathy from this girl! That's just what I believe. Like it or not, but I think he's faking it.
If he's faking it, this is some Academy Award-winning makeup work:
That half-chick in Walking Dead (heads up: scary!) looked more ready to run a race than Jet Ski did. Enjoy your lunch, everybody!
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!