The Gravy’s Great, But It Gets Too Much Attention

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Two, two, two drivers with two. Joey Logano picked up his second victory. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Two, two, two drivers with two. Joey Logano picked up his second victory. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Clinton, S.C., Sunday, April 27, 2014, 9:25 a.m.

Baseball players refer to the big leagues as “the show.” Old men look back warmly to “having a cup of coffee in the bigs,” which means they made it but not for very long.

When I was a kid, “going to the show” meant going to the movies, quite often on Saturday afternoons with bike racks out front full.

What exactly is “the show” in NASCAR now?

Second place: so close but yet so far for Jeff Gordon. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevrolet)

Second place: so close but yet so far for Jeff Gordon. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevrolet)

Is it a feverish battle between four equally matched cars and drivers as the final laps wind down at Richmond International Raceway? Or is it the foolishness that occurs afterwards? Is it a pass for the lead or a hop on the hood? Is it “bump and run” or “shove and punch”? Is it “wow, just wow” or “ooh, ooh, ooh, Brad’s mad”?

I just checked Youtube: “Marcos Ambrose Punches Casey Mears” has 43,369 views; “Joey Logano Wins in Chaotic Finish” has 4,439. My God. “Dale Earnhardt Jr. Comments …” has 627.

“Michael Waltrip’s Grid Walk at Richmond” has 38, so there is some justice.

This isn’t my first expression of concern about this gossipy world into which we are descending. Has the actual sporting event become secondary, or even tertiary, behind “who hit whom?” and “how’s this affect the [absurdly distant] Chase?”

It’s lonely out here among the few, the proud, those of us who tune in because we’d sort of like to see a stock car race.

Right now, it doesn’t matter to me that Logano “cemented” his place in the Chase. Previously, it was just a cedar post packed with mud. I don’t care who’s in, who’s out, who’s desperate, who’s relaxed, who’s anything about the godforsaken Chase. It will arrive soon enough, and that is nearly five months away. I’ll start thinking about Talladega about Wednesday. At the moment, I’m still ecstatic about what I perceived to be yet another high-quality race. I didn’t have that perception as much the past few years.

I’m trading in my nostalgia and sort of enjoying what’s going on now.

I was amused at the post-race tantrums, but I was exhilarated by the race, and I’ll take exhilaration over amusement most of the time.

How good was that race? Kyle Busch called it “crazy.” Kyle Busch knows crazy. He also called it “insane.” It’s a little more hazardous tiptoeing out there.

Brad Keselowski couldn't squeeze his Ford past Matt Kenseth's Toyota ... but teammate Logano could. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

Brad Keselowski couldn’t squeeze his Ford past Matt Kenseth’s Toyota … but teammate Logano could. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

I’m calling it exciting. I’m admiring Matt Kenseth for fighting the good fight and doing what he thought he had to do to win. I’m no less pleased that Brad Keselowski and Jeff Gordon didn’t much care for Kenseth’s tactics. I loved watching Logano take advantage of all that rapacity by displaying his own at the opportune moment.

Ambrose popping Mears? Aw, that’s just gravy.

 

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About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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9 Responses to The Gravy’s Great, But It Gets Too Much Attention

  1. Andy D says:

    As I am ignoring NASCAR until the chase, when it really matters, I only tuned in for the end. I got lucky and it was somewhere around twelve laps to go; during Gordon’s last pit stop.

    What little I saw afterward looked good and I enjoyed it. Everyone raced hard as they should, and didn’t intentionally boot anyone in the bumper. Was pulling for Kenseth but Logano made a great move and took the flag.

    Then I turned it off. I’m not surprised that some drivers were upset at the end of the race but I’m happy they were. That means we had a tight finish and that’s what viewers want to see. A little animosity between drivers will improve the next race as long as somebody doesn’t get stupid. I don’t need the broadcast crew to pump up the drama. I don’t need to hear the drivers thank every sponsor they ever had. Their finishing position told me how hard the crew worked to get the car right.

    Those ten or so laps were an ideal race for me. I probably saw as much of the field as I would have if I’d watched the whole thing. I watched a race, not a parade biding their time until the inevitable GWC. I heard a minimum amount of Waltrip. NASCAR has kept my business for another week and they should be grateful that I gave them that much consideration after all they’ve done.

    I won’t watch any of Talladega. There’s a low probability of a race breaking out. Kansas is boring. The All-Star race is contrived. Memorial Day is the biggest day in auto racing and I’ll be watching Charlotte but it’s just the wind-down from Monaco and Indy. Wishing Kurt Busch a safe 500. June looks like a great month for stock car racing, then another month off, maybe two.

  2. Robert Brand says:

    i fell asleep at the half way point ,That is All.

  3. Mark D says:

    Just a great race. The problem is it only happens a few times a year. Glad to have watched it.

  4. Robert says:

    What would chicken fried steak be without gravy?

    It was a very good race with some nice extracurricular activity afterwards, as there should be.

  5. Steven says:

    I thought it was a great short track race. Kes #2 needs to calm down though. I smell a prima donna.

  6. Britboy says:

    Some wags are suggesting Ambrose should be punished by NASCAR, I’d say he should be awarded 5 Bonus Points.

  7. Tony Geinzer says:

    I think 1. I am not comfortable with the Toyota Owners 400 as much as the Your Name Here 400 2. Can’t Richmond be ALL SUMMER to maximize Fan Interest? and 3. If the Chase was a Non-Issue, would having the better races in the Summer carry merit?

  8. Monte says:

    My views: No, no, maybe more.

  9. Monte says:

    I’d prefer neither.

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