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.
So does NASCAR numerology dominate your life like it does mine? Any two-digit number that comes up, I'm thinking of its NASCAR equivalent. For instance, I always use the Jeff Burton (#31) locker at my gym. I recently pulled into parking space #88. (And no, I didn't slide through the space, you clowns.) And I had to have a little conversation when one of my kids brought home a test that was closer to Regan Smith than the Carl Edwards performance I expect. How about you?
For now, your letters. Last week's talk of announcers was an unexpectedly hot topic, but we'll get to that soon. First, some talk of why it takes so long to start the damn races ...
Why does every week have to resemble the hype of a Super Bowl? One of the problems with NASCAR is overexposure. I am burned out by the time the race takes place. No other sport broadcasts practice sessions. Between Sprint Cup, Nationwide and the truck series, fans are inundated with TV coverage. We really do not need to watch practice sessions, and with the exception of Sprint Cup, we do not need to watch qualifying. What ever happened to the old adage of "leave them wanting more?"
If you left them wanting more, a good percentage of them would just scream that they want more. I get your point, that not every aspect of the race weekend needs to be televised, but here's a thought: don't watch. Yes, there are people who need to tune in every week to see every turn of every car, and that's nice and all, but it's not REQUIRED for you to do that.
I remember when DVDs first came out, and they'd promise all the behind the scenes extras, and deleted scenes, and you're thinking, awesome! I loved Mission: Impossible 2 so much I just HAVE to see all the other parts! And you don't watch them. You never do. I've got the three Lord of the Rings flicks on DVD (don't judge), and if I'd started watching all the featurettes they've got right when I bought them back in 2003, I'd finish up later this year. More ≠ better.
So, yeah: if you don't like it, don't watch it. I will give you this, though: I'd much rather have more postrace analysis and breakdowns than prerace hype. Keep the drivers around for a few more minutes before they get on their planes, maybe get some good emotion out of 'em.
One of the reasons Greg Biffle gets no respect is, he whines that he doesn't get enough media coverage for being the points leader. Boo hoo! His head seems to grow larger each week as his ranking improves, so now it's the size of the Goodyear Blimp, for goodness' sake. You might want to remind him that he hasn't won the championship YET and with his cry-baby attitude, hopefully never will.
— Linda N.
Wow, where did this one come from? The Biff has haters? Who knew? How can you hate The Biff? That's like hating, um … masking tape or something. (Please tell me there's not a maskingtapesucks.com out there, but I bet there is.) Anyway, Biffle is going to be getting all the press he can handle in the coming weeks.
How great was it to see racing at The Rock? And what about Nelson Piquet Jr. running so well. I didn't give this Joonyer a snowballs chance in hell of making it more than a year in any NASCAR series, yet every year he gets better and better. To me he looked like an old pro what with great restarts, hard racing and even after his pit road speeding penalty he worked his way back through and gained one last spot like a pro. Yeah, some folks may bring up his troubles in F1 that brought him over here, but to me it looks like he's willing to keep his head down, learn, and do the work necessary to succeed here. If he keeps it up he may become one of the few open-wheelers that really makes it. Your thoughts?
There's a lot to like about Piquet; in addition to the street cred he's gaining, he could be a real-world Jean Girard (yes, I know he's not French) and would be fun to see on a podium trading one-liners with Tunny Stoowurt and Kahl Boosh. (Yes, I made fun of someone's accent. Happens to me every time I'm on radio in Canada.) Anyway, you're right, he's making all the right moves at the right pace, and that's the best way to set yourself up for a long-term career. I wonder how long he'll be content to run in the lower series, but that's a story for another day.
After a record for green lap racing at Texas, the cries are loud as ever about boring racing. I enjoyed the high-speed racing. You know, loud, shiny cars going vroom at 200 mph and drivers keeping them on the track. So what makes a race exciting to the complainers? Wrecks? Not to true race fan or racers. Restarts following wrecks? Nope, need the wreck first; so no good. Restarts following debris caution? Break out the conspiracy theories; NASCAR was helping (fill in the driver you hate here). Pit stops under caution? Nope again- all cautions are deemed bad. Green flag pit stops? Yeah, lots this Sunday, and they were fun, but still people complain about boring.
Yeah, this is another one of those purist arguments. "You like wrecks? Screw you! You're not a real fan!" (To be fair, Eddie is being a little more evenhanded than that.) Still, here's the thing: much of Texas wasn't racing, it was a parade, and that's no fun unless you've got actual floats going 200mph, preferably with costumed characters and pets still on 'em. In the part of his letter that I cut (keep 'em brief, folks!) Eddie advocated going to a dirt track to watch knockaround racing, and I agree. Still, a little paint-trading at the highest level wouldn't be a bad thing either.
Next, a couple more thoughts on announcers...
I can't help but think the issue isn't announcers versus no-announcers, but it's the increase in personalities they try to cram into a booth talking at the same time (and this seems to be happening in most sports). What I would enjoy would be one person acting as host of the race, maintaining continuity and order, while a group of reporters followed the stories of the race, the weekend, and the series. Our sport is different in that there are a lot of teams, a lot of stories, and a lot of different ways to measure a successful weekend beyond who gets to the checkers first. I would want the host to do the race calling part alone, and go to the reporters, hopefully limiting the incomprehensible color commentary in the process.
— Kevin (Oranje)
We don't need announcer-free races (although at least the option of which would be nice right now), we just need GOOD announcers. That goes double for Mr. Conflict of Interest, aka Michael Waltrip. I personally don't mind Michael's input, but the fact that he owns a pretty darn good race team at the moment takes away from everything that comes out of his mouth. It would be the same as having Rick Hendrick or Jack Roush in the booth. Ask 'em a couple of questions if you want, but kick them out afterwards. I don't want to hear a team owner's slanted view of the race, and neither does anyone else.
— Eric Campbell
The whole "owners in the booth" thing has always struck me as more than slightly skeevy, but it's part of the cheery cronyism that's dominated NASCAR since Day 1. Sure, Waltrip, Brad Daugherty et. al. know more about the sport than any of us (yes, it's true), but their shading of events is a bit suspect. (You didn't hear a thing from Mikey about the Martinsville wreck where Clint Bowyer got a little chippy, did you?) I guess the thinking is, the bias is so completely self-evident that we all know it's going on...you know, just like in the media.
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Wow, you can get us on Yahoo!? That would be awesome! I love those guys! Except for the dude that writes the NASCAR letter column. He's a jerk and I don't understand all of his jokes, so I hate him.
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. You can find Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR coverage on Facebook right here, and you can follow me on Twitter at @jaybusbee and on Facebook here. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!