“OFF” WEEKEND: NASCAR’s Cup division was off over the weekend, but the Truck and Grand National series were at Nashville Superspeedway on Friday and Saturday. I was surprised to see that both races were apparently unsponsored (or if they were, Speed and ESPN didn’t mention the sponsors’ names). And it was an off weekend in more ways than one. The grandstands at the superspeedway are said to hold 25,000. I’d be willing to bet there weren’t 25,000 in the stands on both days combined.
STAR POWER: Whenever someone talks about it being a bad idea for all the Cup drivers to keep running in the Truck and Grand National races, one of the arguments used to defend that practice goes like this: at tracks that don’t have Cup races, this is the only way for those fans to see these Cup drivers run. In other words, people go to the races to see those Cup drivers, not the Grand National or Truck drivers. I think that argument got thoroughly discredited over the weekend with the lousy attendance at the Superspeedway. Or maybe they are right, and it’s just that Harvick, Busch, and Edwards aren’t the stars people think they are.
LYING LEFFLER: NASCAR really needs to do something about idiots on the track. Case in point: Jason Leffler (see Carl Edwards at Talladega). Leffler thought he was hit on purpose by a rookie driver which caused him to wreck. So, he pulls an Edwards: they get the car running well enough to go back out 60 or so laps down. Then he intentionally wrecks James Buescher and then has the gall to lie about it on national TV. NASCAR parked him, but what they really need to do is have a rule that says if you’re down more than 10% of the laps in a race, don’t bother coming back out. It’s also a safety issue: how many cautions have had to be thrown because a car comes back out leaking oil or shedding sheet metal?
PHANTOM CAUTIONS: I’d meant to say something about this last time, but I just forgot. At Martinsville, that last caution was completely inconsistent with how NASCAR had been calling the race. There were several instances where cars slowed on the track or were spun, but NASCAR held off on throwing the caution flag. Then in the last few laps a car spins and gets going, and they throw the caution?
LENGTHY CAUTIONS: And while I’m on the subject of cautions, I don’t know why NASCAR seems to think that they need to give the drivers time to pit when the caution comes out. The purpose of a caution should be to clean up the track… period. If it takes 15 laps or 1 lap, when the track is clean, they need to give the one to go signal. I know they have these so-called “quickie” cautions, where they let everyone pit, but I’m talking about these cautions where there’s nothing happening on the track and they just go on and on. There’s no need for it that I can see.
BY THE TIME I GET TO…: If NASCAR ever decided to shorten the Cup season to 30 races, Phoenix is a track they could eliminate completely.