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Friday, March 23, 2007

Francespeak and a few Bristol Thoughts

A few quick thoughts before the weekend. Brian France was interviewed on Sirius this past week. The transcript is from Dustin Long’s blog. Most of his answers were very company line, vanilla stuff. He did have a few quotes that stood out to me:

On the AT&T lawsuit: “…it is kind of flattering that somebody is suing us to stay in the sport. You don’t want a lawsuit from anybody but if you have to I guess that would be one thing to think about.”
I’m sure that was AT&T’s intent. That is also why Kentucky Speedway and Texas Motorspeedway previously filed suits. It’s all about flattery.

On debris cautions: “If we think something is potentially an obstacle or a problem on the track we’re going to put the caution out every single time. We’ll be very consistent about that.”
Obviously a 10 car pileup on the last lap at Daytona does not qualify as debris. Maybe someone can keep track of proposed consistency this year.

On the Busch Series: “We’ve got a lot of potential with that series that I think we’re not really reaching even though, as we debate this internally all the time somebody’s quick to tell me it’s the #2 motorsport in the country. So when you start going ‘Let’s change this’ or ‘Let’s adjust that’ you’ve got to be a little careful because it is doing so well.”

On paper #2 sounds great. Of course that is comparing the Busch Series to the struggling IRL, and the withering series that is ChampCar. That’s kind of like saying Arena Football is the #2 professional football league in the country. It sounds great, but that doesn’t address the true problems in the series. Independent Busch teams are getting choked out, races often struggle to fill full fields, and maybe most importantly young drivers no longer have good opportunities to gain experience. But if Brian France says things are good, then everyone else must be wrong.

-Qualifying is once again the story of the day. A quick math equation: 50 cars-35 guarenteed-1 Champion provisional-6 fastest qualifying times=7 unhappy drivers and sponsors.

The scramble to make the top 35 is in high gear for drivers like Jeff Green, Kasey Kahne, Paul Menard, Scott Riggs, Dave Blaney and David Reutimann. Others (Mayfield, Waltrip, Allmendinger, Vickers, Ward Burton, Kenny Wallace, Mike Bliss) are merely hoping to gain exposure for their sponsors.

-Based on speeds from practice and last month’s test, Denny Hamlin looks the favorite on Sunday. Kurt Busch and Kevin Harvick are also very consistent at Bristol. Watch out for Jeff Burton and Kyle Busch too. Both have run very well this year in every race. Busch has had fast cars but some bad luck in nearly every race. One thing is certain; there won’t be any snow this weekend, which hopefully means Kurt Busch will not attempt a snow angel.

-On the NASCAR blog scene, the cool thing to do is change your layout. Since I want to sit at the lunch table with the cool kids, I am also working on updating the look and location of my blog. I have planned on this for months, but I’m not always the most diligent. I hope to finish this weekend, but realistically it probably won’t happen for a little while. I’m still excited about the changes because I’m trying to personally handle as much of the design as I can. I’m in the process of learning web design, combined with dusting off my Photoshop skills. We’ll see what happens.

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