The field for NASCAR's Sprint Cup Series' "Chase" has been set. In their version of a playoff, there's 10 more races to decide who will be crowned the 2012 king of the left turn roundy-rounds. But unlike other sports playoffs, the "teams" that have been mathematically eliminated will still be participating in these games. That seems odd. Why let the also-rans clog up the track, and possibly be responsible for causing a wreck that could very well effect the outcome of the championship? All they're doing is burning up very expensive fuel and tires, while destroying umpteen thousand dollars worth of paint jobs and sheet metal. Send them packing like every other sport does, and let the best of best decide this amongst themselves.
At that, it appears even the "Chase" drivers are going the way of out-of-touch politicians, which are most of them. They're hitting the "campaign trail" trying to drum up support in places varying from future venues for the Chase races, to TV studios. It's not only a waste of time and money, it's actually rather dumb if you think about it. Consider....
Leading up to the first race in Chicago, Kasey Kahne went to Philadelphia to have a couple brews in a sports bar before attending a Phillies game.
Jimmy Johnson was in New York.
Tony Stewart plans on going to Charlotte next week.
Denny Hamlin hooked up with a Coast Guard unit in Concord, New Hampshire.
Kevin Harvick met breast cancer survivors at Talladega Motor Speedway in Alabama.
Clint Bowyer went to a high school in Texas.
Matt Kenseth hooked up with the Coast Guard in Miami.
Jeff Gordon was in Phoenix shaking hands and probably kissing babies.
Martin Truex was at the Sprint campus in Kansas. Sprint campus? These guys have their own college?
Greg Biffle was in Martinsville, Virginia. He even got helicoptered onto the 50 yard line of a local high school football field for a grand entrance. Hopefully they waited until the rotor blades stopping spinning before striking up the marching and having the cheerleaders flip around the field, or that could have got ugly.
At any rate -- it just doesn't matter. NASCAR fans are like any other sports fans. They have their favorites for their own reasons, and while they may get a brief kick out of a competitor of their hero showing up on their home turf, it's highly unlikely they would change their allegiances. Like the politicians, a Democrat can walk into a Republican stronghold, or vice-versa, make a speech and shake all the hands they want. But in the end, nobody's going to change the way they vote on election day -- or cheer on race day.
Besides, the drivers in the cars during the race have no idea who the crowd is cheering for anyway. They can't hear anything in their earphones except their crew chief, and the team "spotters" above the track that try to navigate them through an accident when it happens.
No, I didn't forget Dale Earnhart. He was in Connecticut, the home of ESPN, doing a few TV mini-interviews with the talking sports heads. That wasn't necessary either. Everybody knows who Junior is, and he's been the most popular driver on the circuit for several years. So if he's already #1 amongst the fans, then what's the point of putting his mug on TV for a few sound bytes? Junior doesn't need more publicity -- he needs more wins. There's a difference. Perhaps his time would be better served hanging out with his crew to learn more about his car, than yukking it up with TV people for a 5 minute segment, who will totally forget about him and move on to something else after a commercial break. Just a thought...
Nevertheless, as it counts down to November, when both will be decided, your truly much prefers watching the Chase rather than the Presidential race. During the inevitable debates, Mitt and Barack will be polite, civil, and diplomatic, while their underlings continue to strike like rabid rattlesnakes at anything that moves amongst the competition. Conversely, the race crews pretty much stay quiet, while their drivers decide it on the track. It might be fairly said that while both have the ultimate goal of winning -- wrecking a competitor, when given a chance, has been known to happen on occasion.
Wouldn't it be nice if the politicians settled it the same way? Forget about the economy, foreign policy, and all the other junk they lie about during the campaigns, only to turn around and do something entirely different if they become "champs". And who wants to see debate after debate when they talk so much and say nothing? There's a better way.
The Octagon. A cage match. Romney vs Obama. One time to settle this thing once and for all. Think a Mayweather-Pacquiao bout would have generated a lot of revenue? Hah. At $79.95 on pay-per-view, not only would every American pony up to see a true no-holds-barred Mitt/Barack match, but billions more around the world. The national debt everybody's so worried about? Paid for. All it takes is one fight, but I digress....
Calling all drivers. Stop trying to impress people that will turn against you as soon as you're out of sight, and get thy butts to Chicago, where they belong. Let the Chase begin.
And somebody please tell Kasey Kahne there's no Chase race anywhere near Philadelphia, nor does the City of Brotherly Love much give a rat's behind about NASCAR anyway. They've got other teams much more dear to their hearts that they can boo.