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Four Burning Questions

Four Burning Questions: 600 “Snoozer,” Hendrick Disappointment, and Consistent Teammates

Four Burning Questions: 600 “Snoozer,” Hendrick Disappointment, and Consistent Teammates

*Is it such a big deal that the longest race of the year isn’t as exciting?* Last week, I made a similar point on how expectations might be too high for the All-Star race and I’m beginning to think the same thing is true for the 600. While I personally thought the racing was good for such a long event, I was in the minority. Many viewers considered it to be dull, especially in comparison to an exciting Indianapolis 500 race earlier in the afternoon. You know, because every single Indianapolis 500 race has been sooo exciting, right? First of all, the comparison is unnecessary. Not every Coke 600 has sucked, and not every Indy 500 has been thrilling. Some races are better than others, and to act like the sport has gone downhill because one crown jewel was better than the other is a complete overreaction. The opposite could be just as true next year. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: All-Star Expectations, Hall of Fame Hubris, and Cup Drivers

Four Burning Questions: All-Star Expectations, Hall of Fame Hubris, and Cup Drivers

*Are expectations for the All-Star Race too high?* Some spectacular racing in last Saturday night’s Sprint All-Star Race was overshadowed by one minor flaw in NASCAR’s new format. This flaw was generated by NASCAR’s reward system for the winners of each of the first four segments. It looked great on paper—and honestly, the racing was spectacular—but the safety net of winning the segments and thus having first dibs during the mandatory final pitstop gave eventual winner Jimmie Johnson and a couple of others the opportunity to “play it safe” through the remainder of the race. Playing it safe in this instance meant sandbagging and hanging out at the back of the pack like a smaller version of Talladega. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Kurt’s Temper, NASCAR’S Rulings, and All-Star Weekend

Four Burning Questions: Kurt’s Temper, NASCAR’S Rulings, and All-Star Weekend

*Will Kurt Busch ever learn?* Kurt Busch’s "expletive filled tirade":http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=F3_8LsVfFxc and pit road scuffle at Darlington Raceway pretty much solidified what I’ve been saying all year: Kurt Busch hasn’t changed at all, and anyone who thought he had was in denial. Busch may have been cheery and grateful for a ride at the beginning of the season, but seriously … who _isn’t_ happy at the beginning of the season?! During SpeedWeeks in Daytona, every driver is just one corporate-laden interview away from skipping down the garage area and throwing out free samples with a rainbow trailing behind them. The beginning of the year is a fresh start for everyone, and thus everyone is optimistic and filled with good intentions. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Sarcastic Stewart and “Secret” Meetings

Four Burning Questions: Sarcastic Stewart and “Secret” Meetings

*Sarcasm aside, what should we take from Tony Stewart’s post-race interview?* A frustrating race at Talladega left Stewart irritable post-race, but instead of lashing out at the media as Stewart is known to do he just decided to take the sarcastic route. Aside from the extravagant “suggestions"—like a figure eight racetrack or racing around the track backwards—he was essentially calling out the track for being a wreck-fest and, to a lesser extent, fans for wanting it. And before anyone feels the need to remind me, yes I know he was being sarcastic. As an individual who is fluent in the language of sarcasm, it wasn’t all that hard to detect. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Team Ownership, Debris, and Restarts

Four Burning Questions: Team Ownership, Debris, and Restarts

*Does team ownership really make that much of a difference?* I never once bought the claim that Kyle Busch would calm down amidst team ownership, even with some “evidence” with hothead drivers turned gentlemen like Kevin Harvick and Tony Stewart. Sure they had their outbursts, but overall they were calmer and less of a trouble-making “it’s my way or the highway” numbskull after they started their own team. I didn’t think that would happen with Busch. Even if he experienced all the hard work that goes into team ownership with a Truck Series team, he still didn’t calm down for very long. Eventually, he began leaving a trail of burned bridges and an angry mob behind him like dust to a car on a dirt road. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Revving Into Richmond With Crashes, Sponsorship, and Drivers On The Mend

Four Burning Questions: Revving Into Richmond With Crashes, Sponsorship, and Drivers On The Mend

_Heading into Richmond this weekend, NASCAR remains abuzz with several major storylines. Will another short track bring an end to the long, green-flag runs we've seen in recent weeks? Can Michael Waltrip Racing make its long-awaited breakthrough into Victory Lane? And can Denny Hamlin harness his recent momentum and carry it straight into his hometown track? It's all captured within the Four Burning Questions I have heading into race number nine of the Sprint Cup Series season._ *ONE: Does the mantra that fans only tune in for wrecks hold some truth to it?* Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Consistency, Repaves, and Movin’ on Up…

Four Burning Questions: Consistency, Repaves, and Movin’ on Up…

Roush Fenway Racing driver Greg Biffle has held the points lead since the third race in the season at Las Vegas, but only got his first win at Texas Motor Speedway last weekend. While that’s not much of a surprise to any longtime fan of the sport, any casual fan must look at that, tilt their head like a dog when you ask them if they want to go “bye-bye”, and wonder how that’s possible. Why aren’t any of the other five winners this year already leading, such as Tony Stewart who has more victories than any other driver (two). Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Night Racing, Hall of Fame, and Rockingham

Four Burning Questions: Night Racing, Hall of Fame, and Rockingham

*Should the season showcase more night races?* At first glance, this one seems like a no-brainer. Let’s take a look at the pros of a Saturday night event. As we’ve already seen several times this season, Mother Nature can cause some lengthy delays in this sport and move the race into a day and time where a majority of NASCAR’s fan base isn’t able to watch. In the case of a Saturday night event, if rain is an issue during the scheduled time of the race, the event can easily be moved to Sunday, when many fans are still off work. When rain isn’t a factor, having a Sunday off gives travelers time to get back home without missing work, thus putting more butts in the seats. Finally, Saturday night doesn’t create a lot of conflict against other sporting events, as opposed to the Chase races which are normally running up against NFL games. It doesn’t matter how much promoting NASCAR does, those events are always going to trump the races. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Stewart-Haas Dominance and Easter Plans

Four Burning Questions: Stewart-Haas Dominance and Easter Plans

*Was the anger against David Reutimann justified?* As the designated “Tweet ‘n’ Greet” writer of the site, I sort through all of the post-race tweets after every checkered flag falls. As such, last week I read all of the angry tweets aimed at an unlikely NASCAR villain, David Reutimann. As much as I understood the frustration from those involved in the final caution, even competitors from teams who had nothing to do with it were calling him out. Read More »

Four Burning Questions: Probation, Penalties and the New Old Bristol

Four Burning Questions: Probation, Penalties and the New Old Bristol

*What was the point of the penalty in the first place?* I’m not going to spend too much time on this because, (1) I’ve already spent too much time on it in the last two columns and (2) the topic has been covered by several on the site already. However, the overturning of almost all of the penalties issued against the No. 48 team is a big story, and one that deserves at least one more mention. After all, if Johnson wins the championship by 20 points at the end of the season, you know exactly what everyone is going to be thinking back to. Anyway, if you’ve been reading this column, you know I believed wholeheartedly that the penalties would stand. If anything were reduced, it would be the suspension or the fines and not the points. Turns out I couldn’t have been more wrong, as Chad Knaus’s penalty was the only thing that _did_ stand and the rest was overturned. Read More »