Random Lugnuts: Budweiser, Momentum, and a Ford Guy
Topics: Kevin Harvick, Marcos Ambrose 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.
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August 25, 2010
I have some mixed feelings about Budweiser's sponsorship of Kevin Harvick's #29 car starting next year. The big red logo is a blue chip sponsor in the world of stock car racing, having adorned the hoods of cars owned by Junior Johnson, Rick Hendrick, Dale Earnhardt, and Richard Petty over the past quarter century. The drivers' seats of those cars have been filled with the likes of Darrell Waltrip, Neil Bonnett, Terry Labonte, Bill Elliott, Ricky Craven, Dale Earnhardt Jr., and Kasey Kahne. Richard Childress and Kevin Harvick fit in well with that esteemed group.
But I'm annoyed.
Every time a beer brand sponsors a driver, the collectibles market fills up with fake-logo crap with the drivers' name in place of the beer brand name. It was just a few years ago that I happily saw Bud leave Dale Jr. and in return the fans got inexpensive die cast in the toy aisle at Walmart. Now Kevin has the dubious distinction of having a fake Budweiser logo made out of his name, and it's going to cost substantially more to add new cars to my collection of Kevin Harvick die cast.
Well, Jimmie Johnson's not looking good lately, and Bud's new star is on a hot streak. Is this Kevin's year (I hope)? Is Jimmie done collecting championships at four (for the time being)?
Don't bet on it.
This isn't the old days of consistency-wins-championships. It still does, but only within the final 10 races of the year. Otherwise, NASCAR's "playoff" system works just like a playoff system in other sports: sometimes the 8th seed beats the team that won the most games during the regular season. I'm a Detroit Red Wings fan, so I remember how the 2nd-seed Wings lost to the 7th seed Anaheim Ducks in 2003, scoring just one goal in four games. I remember it quite bitterly, so I know that unless Jimmie drops out of the top 12, and not accounting for the winner's bonus points for the next 3 races, the lead at the start of the Chase goes to...Denny Hamlin and Jimmie Johnson.
Momentum might count sometimes, but as long as you're struggling because you're saving your best stuff for when it really counts, and you know how to turn it on when it matters, the last few weeks before the playoffs can really mislead the fans and commentators. When the green flag drops on the first race of the Chase, it will still be Jimmie Johnson vs. the NASCAR world, the Sprint Cup his to lose. Three or four races in, he may well have already lost it, but until then, he's still the safe money bet to win the Championship.
I'm happy that Marcos Ambrose is back in a Ford. I'm not a Ford man, but I am an Ambrose fan, and I have high hopes that Marcos can find Victory Lane in a Cup car and keep Richard Petty from closing up shop for good. Based on Kasey's performance of the past few weeks, it's a step up from his current ride. Hopefully, if the team comes together properly and works well together, that Marcos won't be looking for his first Cup win when the show pulls into Sonoma.
I've heard that the Ford vs. Holden battle in Australia is just that...a battle. Literally, with bats and fistfights. Maybe Jeremy Clarkson isn't the most credible source of information in the world, but even if its greatly exaggerated there must be some kernel of truth to it to make the jokes funny.
Marcos started his career in Fords, won two major championships driving Fords, and Ford brought him to NASCAR, so unless he's hiding a love of Holdens that goes back to childhood, I'm betting he's a Ford man. You'd have as much likelihood of seeing him willingly drive a Chevrolet as you would see Dale Jr. buy Fords for his racing team. But he's driving a Toyota now, you say? Don't forget, JTG/Daugherty Racing was a Ford team when Marcos started driving for them. They're a Toyota team now, and he's on his way out the door.
I admire his loyalty, even if it's to "the other guys." 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.
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