Random thoughts while trying to find a suit like the one Cam Newton was wearing in his post-game presser.
When I made my Chase predictions a couple of weeks ago, I told you that I was a terrible prognosticator. That was about the only thing I got right in the whole piece. After Chicago and New Hampshire, I would take the four Joe Gibbs Racing drivers and give you the field.
For the departing Frank Taylor, I saw a werewolf drinkin’ a pina colada at Trader Vic’s. His hair was perfect. Best of luck.
Motorsport.com’s Jim Utter (late of The Charlotte Observer) is reporting (as I am writing this on Sunday night) that Tony Stewart will call it a NASCAR career after next year and Clint Bowyer will take over his ride in 2017. Bowyer, according to Utter, will spend next year at HScott Motorsports in wait for the No. 14 ride to come available. I haven’t always been a big fan of Stewart but there is no denying that Smoke’s career hasn’t left and indelible mark on NASCAR. With 48 wins and three championships in NASCAR premier series, he is a surefire first-ballot Hall of Famer.
But the last few years have not been kind to Stewart. He missed a large portion of the 2013 season after breaking his leg in a sprint car accident. Then, almost a year later, he was involved in a fatal accident in a sprint car race. His last win came more than two years. Stewart will turn 45 next May and will transition to just being a team owner and NASCAR will be losing one of its strongest on-track personalities.
Seriously, where do you find a suit like that?
Bubba Wallace and Brian Scott had themselves a little bit of a scuffle after the Xfinity race at Kentucky last week. They then took their bad feelings to Twitter and said not nice things about each other. In Bull Durham, Crash Davis told Nuke that if he won 20 games in the show, he could let fungus grow on his shower shoes. I feel that is applicable here. Do something worthwhile then people will more likely tolerate your bad behavior (see: Harvick, Kevin and Johnson, Jimmie).
I have seen a whole lot of ineptitude in my sports life. But St. Louis, you take the cake. How do you set the dang turf on fire causing an NFL game to be delayed? I feel like this is an analogy for that city. It would only be more fitting had it happened in Cleveland and, maybe, Oakland.
Jeff Gordon passed Ricky Rudd as NASCAR’s Iron Man. The guy once dubbed “Wonder Boy” by Dale Earnhardt started his 789th consecutive race last week. That’s awesome but has he ever taped his eyelids open to race? I kid, I kid. It just makes me feel old that I vividly remember Gordon’s first race back in 1992.
I don’t advocate fighting. I really don’t. But we have seen it the last two weeks in NASCAR post race. I’m just going to say this, if you are going to fight, take some cues from Jonathan Papelbon and Bryce Harper. Hell, they are teammates and they were much more ferocious in their dugout scuffle than most post-race fights between racecar drivers.
Last year, Kevin Harvick and team could do no wrong during the Chase. This year, the Chase could not have started worse for the No. 4 team. A crash at Chicago and running out of fuel on the penultimate lap at New Hampshire has Harvick in a position where he is going to have to win at Dover or they are going to spend the last seven races racing for fun (and checks, let’s don’t forget checks). It looked like Harvick’s team put it on cruise control once they won a couple of races early in the season. Goes to show the importance of momentum, even when points get reset.
Brad Keselowski got penalized for jumping a restart at New Hampshire. The whole situation incited a bit of controversy. NASCAR has made this a point of emphasis as of late, dedicating more resources to policing it. I watched it several times and I couldn’t tell you if he jumped or not. I will say this though: You do not want to put NASCAR in another spot where they need to muddle the rules and make it more complicated to explain to fans. There is a perception that they are making the rules up as they go, and things like this just don’t help.
Andy Cagle writes a weekly column about NASCAR. Follow him on Twitter @Andy_Cagle.