Friday, November 16, 2007

What a long, strange year it's been

MIAMI - I had to write this somewhere, and I am probably going to be wrong about it. But here goes.

To me, the only thing that's logical is for Jeff Gordon to win this year's championship. I know, it would take something really bizarre for that to happen. But have you been watching this Nextel Cup season?

When has the most bizarre thing possible NOT happened this year?

Go all the way back to Daytona. You couldn't swing a tire iron without hitting somebody who NASCAR was fining or suspending. Then, the race ended with half the field crashing and wrecking while NASCAR tried to decide if a caution flag might be in order sometime after Kevin Harvick crossed the finish line a few feet in front of Mark Martin.

The teams were all whispering about what a disaster the car of tomorrow was going to be when it finally got on the track. Then, the car got on the track and what we saw was, well, a race. Kyle Busch won it, then got out of the car and told everybody how he hated the car that had just won him the race.

We went to Texas and Busch wrecked. He left the track but the team wasn't through racing. So Dale Earnhardt Jr. jumped in the car for a few laps. People were making a big deal out of it, because Dale Jr. was quite likely going to be looking for a new ride. I thought it was just a coincidence.

Jeff Gordon won back-to-back races to tie and then pass Dale Earnhardt on the all-time victory list. Gordon carried an Earnhardt flag around to mark the occasion at Phoenix and one Internet writer compared that to "dancing on Earnhardt's grave." I thought that was a curious analogy.

Earnhardt Jr. then announced he would, indeed, be leaving Dale Earnhardt Inc. That night, driving in my car toward Darlington, somebody called me to tell me it was being reported that he'd signed a deal to go to Richard Childress Racing. I knew better. So I wasn't wrong about everything.

ESPN kept breaking news that other people had written about weeks earlier. People kept running out of gas, or having more gas than anybody thought they possibly could.

One race, at Pocono, got rained out just as a leader was about to get passed. Another race at Michigan got rained out, then got rained out again. Some people thought it might get rained out a third time and actually reserved hotel rooms for Thanksgiving weekend. In a Marriott, of course. You've got to have those points.

Yet another race, at Kansas, got stopped because of rain, then restarted. And that changed just about everything in the Chase.

Clint Bowyer won the first Chase race and everybody decided he was going to upset everybody and win the championship. Jeff Gordon won two straight races and everybody decided he had the championship wrapped up. Then Jimmie Johnson won four in a row and now he's considered a shoo-in.

But how? Didn't you see how the race at Kansas ended, when Greg Biffle won but some people who think NASCAR can't do anything right decided that Biffle was out of gas and NASCAR made him lie about it?

Didn't you see the Atlanta race, where gas fouled by excessive water pumped into Denny Hamlin's car Friday morning finally made his engine sputter late Sunday afternoon to cause a big wreck and help Johnson extend his winning streak?

Didn't you see the Texas race, where points racing strategy would have told Johnson to settle for second but old-fashioned competition took over?

Has anything that has happened this year made any sense to you? Why should it start on Sunday?

Maybe a seagull will swoop down, get stuck in Johnson's grille, cause his engine to overheat and lead to a 39th-place finish. I don't know.

But if it's weird, it'll happen this year.

Unless it doesn't.


Anonymous said...

And to add to that..What a more befitting honor to a Crew Chief suspended for 6 weeks for cheating...

4 in a row...Hmmmmm that's almost unheard of....My money says it'll be five after this weekend...unless they get caught.

Anonymous said...

You forgot....

The drunken moron hitting a tree in Daytona.

And Truex urinating on his car tire in Daytona.

Monkeesfan said...

There were some strange events this year, but there was far too much that ruined the year to make the weird stuff all that memorable.

So Jimmie Johnson decided to race to win at Texas - how about if it had been Bobby Labonte? Wouldn't that have been more memorable? Or if J.J. Yeley had followed up that second at Charlotte by winning a race - wouldn't that have been more memorable?

Or how about if, after a season seeing the COT, NASCAR decided the project was not working and actually aborted it? There is the real weirdness - NASCAR insisting on keeping a car that was failing. Not once with the COT did we ever see a race; we saw nothing but anticlimatic progressions.

Here's another that would have been weird - if for a change it was Dodge, not Ford or Chevy, winning left and right.

There was some illogical stuff happening in 2007, but the real illogic remains what didn't happen.

Anonymous said...

How about the guy coming out of the stands at Watkins Glen to get Matt Kenseth's autograph, DURING the race.

HEATHER said...

Be sure to use some of those Marriott points to take your wife someplace nice so you can both relax after the season is over.

Anonymous said...

Hey buddy...great reporting all year long.

I have a question to anyone who can answer: Since scaling down to 36 races per year, who has had the single year most top 10s?

Currently, Jeff Gordon has 29 top 10s (most likely will have 30 at end of year).

Is there a website I can locate historical stats?

Uncle Dewey 88 said...

Just so you know, the 50th DAYTONA 500 is just 91 days away from Sunday....

Not much time to repaint all the signage from NEXTEL to SPRINT and BUSCH to NATIONWIDE.