Back To Indiana
July 27, 2007 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Thoughts and observations from the three-and-a-half hour journey from homebase to Indianapolis for this weekend's annual NASCAR visit.....
Ah you have to love hitting the highway..and sitting in traffic. As we love to say in the Chicagoland area, we have two seasons...winter and construction.
Wouldn't it make sense if all road construction were done at night in the summer months? Cooler temperatures for the crews doing the actual work (does holding a cup of coffee and talking to a buddy qualify as work by the way?) and cooler temperatures from motorists who wouldn't get stuck in such God-awful daytime construction backups.
There's a lot of buzz here about Juan Pablo Montoya trying to become the first driver to win the Indy 500 and the Brickyard 400. He'll be the first driver to compete in Indy cars, NASCAR and Formula One at Indy, but while it'd be a great story, winning Sunday is a long shot to say the least.
No offense to Allstate, but this race should have remained the Brickyard 400. Corporate tie-ins are a part of racing and the professional sports world, but some things should remain sponsor-free, a race at the famed Indianapolis Motor Speedway among them. Sources report that the insurance company paid $4 million for the title of the race, which is a lot of claims.
I also miss the days when the Brickyard 400 was run on Saturday afternoon. It made the race even more unique and gave it a built-in rain day on Sunday if needed. In those days, you'd kick off the week at IRP (sorry ORP) on Wednesday with the Silver Crown Series and have the truck and Busch Series races Thursday and Friday nights, leading up to the big show on Saturday. That gave everyone Sunday to get home and regroup. Now it's just another Sunday grind.
Our buddy Jayski has cobbled together an unofficial 2008 NEXTEL Cup Series schedule and it's pretty much a carbon copy of this year's The third week off weekend will be gone, thank goodness, but with Easter in March and another off week two or three weeks later, there will be one break left from May through November. It's still a mess and the "Chase" needs some tweaking. Maybe ABC/ESPN can do something about it.
Speaking of ABC/ESPN, the networks return to NEXTEL Cup this weekend. It's nice to have some of those faces back but I wouldn't expect anything revolutionary. They will do a solid job no doubt, and coming off TNT's effort will probably look even better. But stop longing for the old days of ESPN folks, they were great but this new effort won't have much in common with those days.
What's worse than rain at a race track?
I miss Stuckeys on these long drives.
During my weekly segment with Dave Moody this week on the Sirius Speedway program we talked about the possibility of Cup drivers being banned from running short track races on off-weekends, in light of carl Edwards' injury last week in Nebraska. That would be a shame but I see the day a team owner or sponsor demands that kind of language in a contract.
The rumor mill says Kyle Busch will land at Richard Childress Racing next season as a fourth car, with Budweiser sponsorship. Stay tuned.