Friday, July 04, 2008

This idea may sound shady but it beats my weather forecast

DAYTONA BEACH, Fla. - OK, so I was wrong when I said it would rain Friday at Daytona. All that means is I am now fully qualified to be a television weatherman.

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I've been thinking about it all day and I still can't figure out why there are people who begrudge Mark Martin the right to change his mind and come back to run a full season in Sprint Cup in 2009. Apparently some people believe that every decision a driver makes in his NASCAR career must be final.

Some folks get upset when a driver decides he needs to go somewhere else or change his schedule to do what's right for him, for his career and for his family. Certainly there have been some drivers who've stayed too long toward the end of their careers. But I don't know if you could find a single soul in the garage who doesn't believe Martin can still get the job done.

Is it likely that Martin will win a championship in 2009 before going back to a part-time schedule the following year? No. It's not likely. But Martin is good enough that you can't say it's impossible, even in the face of overwhelming statistics to the contrary.

Martin will be 50 when he begins the 2009 season in the No. 5 Chevrolets at Hendrick Motorsports. Only three drivers in Cup history have won races after their 50th birthdays - Harry Gant won eight and Bobby Allison and Morgan Shepherd one each.

But to criticize Martin for "flip-flopping" on his decision to retire from racing misses one important point. Martin never said he was retiring. The fact of the matter is he has for the past two years almost always corrected anybody who said he said he was. He scaled back to a limited schedule and had no plans to change from that until, he said Friday, he got an offer from Hendrick that was so good he was scared he'd regret it if he didn't say yes.

Martin has every right to decide not to live with those regrets.

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Here's a sobering thought for you. Morgan Shepherd is 66 years old. James Hylton is 73 years old. Kerry Earnhardt hasn't driven a race car in a year. All three of those drivers were cleared by NASCAR to compete in Friday night's Nationwide Series race at Daytona International Speedway.

Joey Logano just turned 18 and has already won a Nationwide Series race. It looks likely that he will be driving a Sprint Cup car for one of the series' top teams next season. Logano was not approved to race Friday at Daytona.


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I might have had this idea before, I can't remember. Either way, it's still a good one. They should let people into the infield "Fan Zone" at Daytona for free for the July race. But they should sell shade to those fans for $10 per square foot.

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This is not a gripe, it's just a little window into life on the road. I got back to my hotel room Thursday night and I had clean towels and everything looked just fine except for one thing. My bed had not been made.

No big deal - I wouldn't have made it if I had been at home. I just thought it was curious. So I come in tonight and the bed is made. There are new towels, again, but the used towels are still in the floor where they were when I left. And the trashcans haven't been emptied.

My guess is that tomorrow night I will have no towels, old or new, and there will be a used vacuum bag stuffed in my closet.


Anonymous said...

David - Looking at Morgan Shepherd, what it really means is that Joey Logano doesn't need to be in a hurry.

Anonymous said...

Mark Martin certainly doesn't owe anybody any explanations for changing his mind. However, I hope that there isn't undue, disproportionate focus in 2009 about the "Mark Martin Championship Tour."

And will somebody tell me why Stephen Wallace still holds a driver's license of any kind, let alone a NASCAR one?

Anonymous said...

David, your weather predition was justified. In the old days when the fans in the grandstand were more important that what the TV networks desires, this race was run on the 4th at 10:00AM. The reason was so the race would be finished before the likely chance of thunderstorms in Florida. As for Mark, no one in the garage today has earned the respect that Mark Martin has, whatever he decides he wants to do should be good enough for the rest of them.

Anonymous said...

Richard in NC--Great thought!

Haus14 said...

I am just wondering if Brad Keselowski is really going to wait until 2011 for a full-time cup ride with HMS.

Anonymous said...

I don't think anyone begrudges Mark his right to "change his mind", though I will say that your average ordinary joe would have quite a time convincing his boss he was serious after going part time for two years. I think the annoyance comes in over all the celebrities and athletes doing whatever they want and duping the fans into believing something is nearly over.. when it isn't. I feel the same with Farve.

Anonymous said...

Steven Wallace should play the lottery, it's the only thing he hasn't hit yet

Anonymous said...

David, I agree. Things change. Maybe something in his life has changed, or, maybe, the family doesn't want the old goat hanging around the house moping. It doesn't matter, and he doesn't owe us an explanation. If he's having fun, and has the skill set required, he can do any damn thing he likes, 50yrs old or not.