Monday, July 6, 2015


Congrats to the US ladies soccer team on winning the World Cup. Even more notable is goalkeeper Hope Solo didn't beat anybody up during the whole tournament. Even on the "pitch".

Why do NASCAR people keep referring to entrants in their races by the numbers of their cars rather than the drivers themselves? We commonly hear this or that about the number 4 car, or number 20 car, etc. Perhaps this is easily understood by stock car racing aficionados, but casual observers have no clue what they are talking about. Imagine the same terminology being applied in other sports. Lebron James likely wouldn't appreciate being called the number 23 shirt. Or Tom Brady the number 12 unit. God forbid someone ever refers to Tiger Woods as the red and black dude on Sundays. Social media would go berserk. Is it asking too much to just call them by name? Good grief, it's as if the NASCAR folks think the cars can understand what they're saying. They've come a long ways with technology over the years, but it's likely a safe bet the cars themselves haven't become self-aware yet. Whens the last time you heard one saying OUCH when it hit a wall? Or self-ejecting the nitwit driver that was about to cause the accident in the first place? Wouldn't THAT be interesting? Amongst her other gear, Danica Patrick would have to wear a parachute.

Idle thought: How the hell does Kobe Bryant still rate being the highest paid player in the NBA? He's a shell of the player he once was and can't even seem to stay healthy for very long. Besides, the Lakers are terrible and really good players don't want to go there because of -- Kobe. He appears to be a one-man franchise wrecker. Twenty five million a year for this?

In the recent race at Daytona, the #3 car, oops, Austin Dillon's ride, went airborne on the final lap. It was a horrendous accident that tore the entire engine/transmission assembly out of the car. Thankfully, AD was able to walk away unharmed. The talking heads were abuzz about how amazing the safety technology in these cars has become. No doubt about it, but they missed another point.

The "catch fence" at Daytona barely kept Dillon's car from flying into the specatators. At that, several had to be hospitalized for various injuries. Hot jagged car parts, even little ones, coming at you at 180 MPH is not exactly the optimum scenario.

In the old days, the spectator protection wasn't nearly what it is today. Can you imagine the horror that would have ensued if Dillon's car had made it through the fence (it almost did) and flown into the packed grandstands? It might have killed a hundred or more and severely injured countless others. It would have been the biggest disaster in the history of sports. Which brings up another point....

NASCAR is forever tinkering with their rules, but it's no secret that at the "restrictor plate" tracks (Daytona and Talladega) multi-car accidents are not the exception -- but the rule. The "big one" is going to happen. While NASCAR maintains slowing down the cars has made it safer many drivers advocate the opposite. Restrictor plates bunch the cars up and make colossal crashes more likely. Hey, if the drivers want to go faster, then let them. They know what they signed up for.

But the biggest change of all NASCAR should strongly consider is getting rid of their insistence on a race finishing under the green flag. We all know the final couple (regulation) laps on superspeedway tracks are highly accident prone due to the drivers throwing caution to the wind and driving like maniacs. There's ALWAYS a major pile-up. Naturally, the yellow flag comes out. Many times the final lap is completed under yellow while the track crew cleans up the debris and the wrecked cars are towed off.

So let the race finish like that. Whoever was ahead when the final yellow comes out -- wins. Pretty simple. When the 400th or 500th mile, whichever, is completed, it's over. Period.

But no, NASCAR insists on overtime laps. Let's do it again boys and girls. We'll have a 3 lap, green, white, checkered finish.

You just KNOW what's going to happen. Whatever cars and drivers are still left go back into demolition derby mode one more time. Another major pile-up. It's not only unnecessary, but reckless on NASCAR's part. They're inviting disaster, which their track record at such events clearly shows is almost a certainty.

At times NASCARs logic is ironic, if not downright hypocritical. They will bang a crew chief, driver and/or owner if a spoiler is found to be a quarter inch off, or a team uses an "illegal" shock absorber or spring. Everything has to be just perfect -- within specs. And they have surely touted the safety features they have mandated in the cars since the tragic death of Dale Earnhart Sr. at the same Daytona Speedway over a dozen years ago. They've even installed cushioned walls at many of the tracks to soften impacts.

But they still insist on an exciting finish, no matter how many redos it takes. By doing so they know damn well there's going to be another wreck. It happens every time.

God forbid, but someday another driver just might get killed because of this logic and -- worse yet -- a bunch of spectators. Driver safety aside, can you imagine the field day lawyers would have if a slew of innocent moms, dads, and a few kids in the stands met their demise because NASCAR insisted on running a few extra unscheduled laps in the name of an exciting finish?

While NASCAR may well be a multi-billion dollar enterprise, they would be much less so when the legal eagles got done picking their bones.

For their own future well-being, it's time to stop this nonsense.

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