Race Weekend Central

Did You Notice? … NASCAR’s Blind Earnhardt Prophecy, Diversity Disasters And Quick Hits

*Did You Notice?…* How so many people in NASCAR are living on a prayer? Too bad even Jon Bon Jovi would know better than to believe Dale Earnhardt, Jr. is on the verge of “reviving” the sport. I know what you’re saying… who am I to shoot the messengers? After all, in the past 72 hours Earnhardt has been revered for his ability to rise for the top of the point standings for the first time in eight years; that, his win at Michigan and a rumored ability to walk on water on the way has made him a demigod during a week there hasn’t been much to write about.

But speculation, in this case can be replaced by simple fact, one quotation that more than any other explains why the 2012 version of Junior will never be the “national racing savior” for millions of disillusioned fans he once was on the verge of becoming.

Did You Notice? … Silly Season Swung Wide Open By One Bad NASCAR Drug Test

*Did You Notice?…* That in life, all it takes is one fleeting moment, one spoken word to turn our lives from successful to shattered?

In this case, it was as simple and tasteless as peeing into a cup. A.J. Allmendinger’s life changed forever Tuesday, suspended indefinitely by NASCAR for violating the sport’s drug policy in a decision that plunges his career into chaos. The driver’s “B” sample, tested weeks after the “A” showed no change in result, an unknown substance (rumored to be everything from methamphetamine to a rare stimulant found in an energy drink A.J. was endorsing) the root cause of what has kept him on the sidelines since hours before the July 7th Cup Series race at Daytona.

Did You Notice? … The Norris Factor

*Did You Notice?…* Chad Norris wasn’t informed he would be Carl Edwards’ new crew chief until yesterday morning? That’s the biggest nugget from Tuesday’s big surprise, No. 99 head wrench Bob Osborne stepping down after spending more than eight of the past nine seasons atop that pit box. That alone should tell you this decision was not as pre-planned as some out in the racing world might surmise. Yes, the duo had been having a bad season together but as recently as Kentucky, after poor pit strategy doomed them both sides were adamant about the pairing continuing over the long-term. Edwards and Osborne have always been close, the outgoing driver a perfect match for the introverted, ultra-intelligent engineer who brought them within one position on the racetrack of a championship last season. Consistently, through the years Edwards has told me in interviews how much their relationship has been the key to remaining at or near the top of the Cup Series. So, until all the facts come out, or sources explain differently let’s take the press release at its word and wish Osborne well while dealing with undisclosed, health-related issues behind the scenes.