Wednesday, July 1, 2009

Tuesday Ramble - Loudon Edition

I know it’s Wednesday and not Tuesday, but I don’t want to change the name of my ramble. Month end played havoc with my blogging this week. Better late than never though, I guess.

So this week I think I will lay out my case for why people should get off Joey Logano’s back. I understand that people have personal likes and dislikes about drivers based off of their impression of them. And I’m guessing that is the major reason why people are saying that Joey doesn’t deserve the win that he scored at Loudon on Sunday. Because haven’t Carl Edwards, Tony Stewart, Jimmie Johnson, and even Dale Earnhardt, Jr. each won fuel mileage races? I don’t remember hearing so much criticism when those guys played the gamble.

Now I know what you are all going to say. It’s different with those guys because they were competitive all race long and with Joey people were more upset because a non-competitive car won the race. But I don’t necessarily agree with that logic. Only one person can win on any given race day – and often it is not the car that dominates the race. In fact, less than half the races this year have been won by the car who led the most laps.

If this is the reason that people are truly upset that Logano won the race on Sunday, then why even bother having those other cars out there? If you only want the competitive cars to win then why not just pick say the top ten cars in qualifying and only they can race on Sunday? But that would be boring! The great thing about NASCAR is that when the green flag waves there are 43 cars that all have the possibility of winning the race, even if it is only a slim possibility.

I have to admire the strategy call by Greg Zipadelli on Sunday, just for the simple fact that it only worked by mere chance. He not only played a fuel mileage game, but he played a fuel mileage game with Mother Nature! Zippy didn’t know when the race was going to end. He had no clue how many laps were going to be left. It could just as easily bitten them in the butt like it did Ryan Newman, but it didn’t. The stars aligned, the angels sang, and the heavens opened up right when they needed it to. How amazing is that?

Of course another reason why people were grumbling was because of Joey’s remarks after the race about how he had a good car, etc. Now this was a guy who got the lucky dog twice, and wouldn’t even have been able to do that if it wasn’t for the wave around provisions for lap cars in the new restart rules. So maybe he was stretching the truth a little bit. But honestly, what’s the kid supposed to say? Yeah, my Home Depot Toyota sucked all day long and I lucked into a win. I don’t think so – it would have been disrespectful to his team.

My husband asked me after the race if I was pissed because all these other guys were winning and AJ wasn’t. I told him no – and I was being honest. Yes, I want AJ to win a race pretty much more than anything in this world! If I wish on a shooting star or when I close my eyes and blow out my birthday candles, that is what I wish for – a win for AJ.

But in realizing that I would be absolutely thrilled if AJ won a race in the same fashion that Joey did, not being just as thrilled for Joey would be hypocritical of me. The fact that someday the stars could align for AJ to put him in Victory Lane is why I keep watching week in and week out. If I knew who was going to win each race, there wouldn’t be any point in tuning in.

There are 42 losers that hang their heads and go home disappointed each weekend, and only one winner. NASCAR is a true team sport, and any member of that team can cost the driver a win. Races can be lost so easily – with a bad pit stop, poor fuel mileage, or even plain old rotten luck. Winning races is much harder to do, yet the 20 team managed it on Sunday. So why can’t we just rejoice in the fact that Greg Zipadelli pulled a rabbit out of a hat and Joey Logano reaped the rewards?

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