By John "Dawg" Chapman
Denny Hamlin wins his first race with new Crew Chef Darien Grubb. We
get a spate of stories about who'll be the winner of the CC battle
between Darien, & Tony's new CC Steve Addington. Then Tony, &
Steve answer with one of their own. More stories, Tony, & Steve pull
ahead, & we get even more stories, then Denny, & Darien, even things
up at 2 all. Oh well, I guess this gives all of us something pretty
mindless to write about.
It seems to me that no one has really asked the right question.
That would seem to be, who was the real loser in this deal. It seems
pretty evident, that would be Roger Penske, AJ Allmendinger, & the
entire 22 crew. Not that I blame Steve for leaving. Given the
information he had at the time, I agree with it. I only wonder if he
could have known about Kurt getting the heave ho, would he still have
left. Dinger may not be the driver Kurt is…yet, but I watched
him drive the final stint in the 24 Hours of Daytona, this guy can
wheel a car, & he doesn't rattle easily under pressure. He's a lot
better than the car he's been given, to date.
I've been reading stories for weeks now, about the Indy 500 going on
without Danica. What no one, (until now) has seen fit to mention is
that it's going to go on without Sam Hornish also. I mean Sam's not
only a former winner, but an Indy Car Champion as well. He just doesn't
have as good a press agent, or look as good in a bathing suit.
While I'm thinking about Danica, after watching most of the NNW
races, it's pretty evident that she's in over her head in the
Nationwide cars. A season in the ARCA series probably would have been
much better for her development. It just wouldn't have been nearly as
good exposure for her sponsor. If she's over her head in Nationwide,
she'd need an extension ladder to see out of the hole she's in, with
Cup. I guess she's not too worried about damaging her "brand," as
it doesn't seem to be performance based anyway.
I don't know about you but I've heard about all I want to from the
talking heads trying to spin her various laps down runs. No she's not
wrecking her car. That doesn't happen when you run at 75%. I just
finished a 444mi. bike ride. I'm about as ready for the Tour De
France, as Danica is for Cup next year. But to quote one of my
favorites, JJ Cale, "money talks, It says strange things."
Contrary to what you might think, I'm not anti Danica; I am however
very anti the hype, & the sense of entitlement that surrounds her.
I said in the pre-season that Chip Ganassi, had lots of work to do
this year. Chip must have agreed with me. I think he called last
season's results pathetic. The organization made sweeping changes.
Only problem is, they don't seem to be working. Currently his cars
stand 19th, & 22nd, in owner points. I don't know when his contract
with Bass Pro Shops, is up, but if it were me. I don't think I'd feel
too confident seeing the PBS logo all over Tony's stuff, both Cup &
Sprint Cars. Winning a race, didn't save the 6 car, I'm not sure it
would save the 1 either. My suspicion is that it needs to make the
chase. At this point, it's going to have to be a wild card. It would
be a real shame to see this team that used to field a combined total
of 7 cars, shrink to a single entry. But it could happen.
Congratulations to Chip on his Indy 500 victory, but he's got lots
of work to do in Cup.
Think about this, how many stories have you read about Jr.
winning? Kasey Khane's 600 victory, kind of puts a period on this
story. Jr's having a very good points season, he will make the Chase,
but he's not really contending for wins. That door doesn't always
swing open on its own. Sometimes you have to batter it down. JJ gave
Rick his 200th Kasey, his 201st. If Jr. wants to join the party this
team needs to step it up.
Speaking about stepping it up, how about the King's cars locking up
the front row for the 600. I think they made a very good move picking
up Mike Ford. Their speed was blazing in qualifying, but it fell off
precipitously in race trim. Marcos was running like the 9 used to
run, before the hub problem took him out of contention. Maybe not
this year, but Marcus will win on an oval if they can secure
sufficient funding to keep things going.
I hated to see Erich fade, but I thought he did pretty well for
someone learning on the job. Kyle Busch's stated purpose was
to have fun this year. I wonder if he's having fun yet?
His recent meltdown at Darlington, probably didn't help his chances
any too much. He's really lucky he was able to hide from Newman's
irate tire carrier. Man, that guy was way bigger than Jimmy Spencer,
& just as mad.
One thing I've noticed is that James still hasn't been able to
attract a paying sponsor. His wallet must be getting thinner by the
Talking about stepping it up, what's the deal with Jeff, & the 24
crew. It's like the Rainbow Warriors, have been struck by lightning.
This is so uncharacteristic for this team. Maybe Jeff needs a jolt.
He should talk to Bobby Labonte, about what it's like when you fall
from the mountain top.
Last season we had the most first time winners that I can remember.
This season, it's another story. Three multiple winners already, & I
doubt any of them are finished, with wins clustered like this. I
expect the Wild Card entry this year may be very different. We could
see 3 or 4 teams with single wins. Two wins, will be pretty much a
lock, but with 1 they better have the points to back them up.
Speaking of first time winners, my money's still on the Dinger. But
the Captain's going to have to get the team up to speed.
To sum this up, a friend of mine owns a music store. I recently
purchased a CD by an artist that I really like. Next time I say him,
he asked me how I liked it. I told him that "if I wasn't already a
fan, it wouldn't make me one."That statement pretty much sums up my
feelings on the Cup season so far, as well.
As this was finished on Memorial Day, My hat is off to all the
Veterans. As the red necks like to say on the back window of their pickups:
"Hell No We Ain't Forgettin' ".