Random Lugnuts: The Day After Yesterday
What is Random Lugnuts? It's random bits of stock car racing commentary written on an irregular basis by an irregular racing fan. The name is a reference to the lugnuts that go flying off a car during a pit stop: you never know where they are going to go, what they're going to do when they get there, they can be annoying, they're often useless after a race, and every once in a while someone gets hit and they don't know exactly where it came from.
Opinions expressed by Bill Crittenden are not official policies or positions of The Crittenden Automotive Library. You can read more about the Library's goals, mission, policies, and operations on the About Us page.
February 18, 2008
Now that we've heard about the Daytona 500 for months, and been bombarded with coverage all week long, it's time to move on to some new topics. Well, almost, there's a couple references to yesterday's race here, but I promise, it's not more Monday-morning crew chiefing...
The Press Room
This morning, I got an interesting article link forwarded to me. It's some stereotypical blathering by someone who, based on their shallow knowledge of the sport, has never even seen a NASCAR race on television but instead seems to have researched the sport from an e-mail folder full of "look at the silly rednecks" stories that people who look down their noses at NASCAR fans like to pass around, unfortunate anecdotes that while true, don't represent the full or accurate story of the sport or its fans.
But, look on the bright side, they're writing about NASCAR in Scotland! It probably never would have happened without Dario Franchitti's participation in the Daytona 500, and it just goes to show that as the world comes to compete in NASCAR, the places they came from are going to learn about the American traditions of stock car racing.
Perhaps next time, though, Scotland on Sunday would do their readers a favor and find someone who would actually do some real research before writing. Then they might actually be informed, rather than just have the same tired stereotypes passed along.
I imagine I have a few new readers these days, thanks to Stockcar Racing Online's ever-expanding membership list. So for those new to reading Lugnuts, I'll mention that I build model cars, know people who build model cars and encourage people to build model cars.
So it was extremely funny to me to see Michael Waltrip's new commercial, with the fan bringing him wrecked cars to sign. The box of parts to represent his '90 Bristol wreck especially funny because I actually know people who do this sort of thing.
Except that the people I know who do this wouldn't do it with die cast cars, as the fan in the commercial did. They'd do it with the old plastic models, and I bet if this commercial were made 10 or 15 years ago that's what the fan in the commercial would have done. I know the hobby is slowly dying and this is just another sign of the times...
The first race car driver I can ever remember liking was Rick Mears. So I've known who Roger Penske was for a long, long time. Well, it seems like a long time to me, since I'm only in my late 20's.
Anyway, as NASCAR Sprint Cup car seats are being filled by former Indianapolis 500 winners, I find myself disappointed that even with the constant reminders of Indy racing around the NASCAR tracks that I could forget to apply one of the most basic lessons of Indy Car racing to the stock cars:
Never underestimate Roger Penske.
All this stuff today about Franchitti and Penske reminded me of something. Now that top contenders Sam Hornish Jr. and Dario Franchitti are committed to the NASCAR season, it might be wise for the IRL to schedule the Indianapolis 500 earlier in the day, so as to hopefully attract a few of the NASCAR rookies back to Indy and give them enough time to get to Charlotte in the evening. Unless, of course, the IRL completes a merger with ChampCar, in which case they shouldn't have much trouble filling a 33 car field.
It's an interesting reversal of fortune. When open wheel racing was the premier American motorsport, Indy car drivers would sometimes participate in the Daytona 500, which was well before their regular season started. Now NASCAR is the most popular American motorsport, and stock car drivers used to occasionally show up at Indianapolis in May. That was until the two races were scheduled too close together to make the Indiana to North Carolina journey possible between the events, because unlike the mid-February Daytona 500, the late-May Indianapolis 500 conflicts with an event in the other series.
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