Wednesday, August 02, 2006

Catching up as we head to Indianapolis

Catching up as we pack up to head to Indianapolis:

  • You almost have to catch yourself after you hear news like we heard last week that Benny Parsons has lung cancer. Parsons is such a genuinely nice human being, your immediate reaction is, “Man, why does that have to happen to a guy like Benny?” Then, you realize that what you’re almost saying is that somebody else “deserves” to have to fight the fight Parsons is fighting, and that’s not what you mean, either.
    I talked to Parsons the day he went through his first treatment and he was amazingly upbeat. I talked to Bill Weber over the weekend, too, and he was saying that if good wishes and a good attitude have anything to do with it, nobody’s got a better chance of winning this fight than BP does.
    I think that’s about right.
  • From where things stand right now, it looks like Robert Yates Racing will send Stephen Leicht and David Gilliand out to race in the Nextel Cup Series next year. They’ll have new crew chiefs and, it would stand to reason, a lot of new crew members backing them since RYR seems to be starting from a clean sheet of paper.
    One thing the Chase for the Nextel Cup format has done is that it has changed the NASCAR calendar. If you’re not in the Chase, the 2007 season begins in mid-September at New Hampshire. You get what you can get this year, but once you’ve missed the cut you’re really already working on next year.
    But it would not be a simple thing for the Yates team to take Dale Jarrett and Elliott Sadler out later this year and put next year’s drivers in place to give them a head start on 2007.
    For one thing, Leicht and Gilliand have each already run a Cup race this year. Leicht will try to make another race this week at Indianapolis. If they’re going to run for rookie of the year next year, they can’t run more than seven races this season.
    There are sponsor issues, too. Remember, UPS is going with Jarrett to Michael Waltrip Racing. UPS wants to be on the track and most likely wants that to happen with Jarrett. It’s entirely possible that Yates could put Leicht in a handful of races in a third team car down at the end of the year, but don’t look for him to drive in Jarrett’s place.
    If, as expected, M&M’s stays with Yates and backs Gilliland, it’s possible Sadler could go ahead and go where he’s going to go if the situation with whatever team he’s going to works out as well. But Yates also has a Busch car that can be used to get the new guys some seat time, too.
  • There are supposedly more than 200,000 seats at Indianapolis Motor Speedway and I am pretty sure that there’s not one from which a fan can see the whole race track. The best word to describe the historic venue, from a physical standpoint, is vast.
    But I tell fans all the time that they owe it to themselves to see a race there at least once in their lives. If they built Fenway Park today, it’d have wider seats and aisles and about half the seats would be turned a little so they actually point to where you want to be looking. But that’s not the point of seeing a Red Sox game there. If you’re a sports fan, you have to get to Fenway at least once in your life.
    That’s the exact same thing about Indy. On race day, the frontstretch is a canyon of humanity.
    A racer with any kind of soul has to get goose bumps when he walks out of Gasoline Alley onto pit road for the start.
    IndyCars are always going to be better suited to race there than the wider, heavier stock cars.
    But NASCAR is richer, far richer, because it goes once each year to one of the true cathedrals of American sport.
    It’s a honor to drive through the tunnel, and I look forward to doing that later this week.


    Anonymous said...

    God bless Benny...may he fully regain his health!
    I heard the other day that there may be up to 46 full time Cup teams next year...seems like the single car teams will end up the odd guys out?
    Good luck to RYR...only the future will reveal if putting 2 rookies in their cars next year is a good or bad move. Kudos to RYR if they bring back #28.
    Ain't life great when the Brickyard is around the corner!!

    Monkeesfan said...

    David, I understand your point when you say "Then you realize that what you're almost saying is that somebody else 'deserves' to have to fight the fight Parsons is fighting, and that's not what you mean, either."

    But there are plenty of people in the world who do indeed deserve to face what Parsons presently faces - one of them is presently in the news because his name is Fidel Castro. Certainly Parsons doesn't dxeserve it, though.

    As far as Yates Racing goes, they are in such a mess that pairing up two rookies is almost as good an idea as any one can think of right now. As for their eligibility for Rookie Of The Year, there is not a less relevent award than Rookie Of The Year. If Yates wants to get them ready for 2007, then why not release Sadler and Jarrett and put Leicht and Gilliland into those cars?

    Tough break for Reed Sorenson in Friday practice.

    Anonymous said...

    A day without Life in the Turn Lane, is like a day without sunshine, pilgrim.

    Anonymous said...

    As I arrived at Indy, I was in awe of the shear size, and history of the place. I took in every old bolt and iron beam in the place. Mostly I remember the people. They were just like me; racefan. I have a braid of hair which goes down the length of my back. People who noticed this knew I was an American Indian, and treated me with respect and kindness. I was aghast witnessing folks getting up to give up their seats to an elder or woman while riding the City bus. That definately doesnt happen here in Phoenix, AZ

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