Friday, August 5, 2011

Sprint Cup 2011: Race 20: Quick Brickyard Wrap-Up

The big story coming out of the Brickyard 400 much be as much one of fortune than marking any trend, but four of the series biggest races featured first time winners starting with Trevor Bayne winning the Daytona 500 in February. Regan Smith won the Southern 500 in Darlington. David Ragan won the second Daytona race, the Coke Zero 400, and now Paul Menard, a young man with lots of Indianapolis in his family background, won the Brickyard.

The race turned out to hinge on fuel mileage as veteran drivers like Tony Stewart were unable to stretch it to the end. It also shows Paul Menard’s ascent as a driver who has at times looked well on his way to good things since his switch to Richard Childress racing this year.

We also can’t help but notice the shameful number of teams that showed up just to show up and not race. If teams cannot take an event like the Brickyard 400 and hold it with reverence, the sport is in big trouble. To see a veteran and all but retired driver, Terry Labonte, use his past champion’s provisional to make the field just to drive 15 laps and bolt shows how sick the so called start and park fraud has become. The field is too large for the level of competition. That they are racing at Indy where the IRL starts with substantially fewer cars drives the point home. NASCAR fans shouldn’t be paying welfare for Joe Nemechek, Phil Parsons and his gang, and the others who aren’t prepared to compete on the highest level. That there are various levels of racing from regionals to Sprint Cup provide opportunities for teams to race up to their capabilities. It’s simply reached a new extreme of absurdity in 2011 since now it appears to have become an entrenched part of the Sprint Cup scene. Keeping it hush-hush makes it no less absurd.


No comments: