I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Dodges and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC
Dodge Needs Some Tough Love
t just flat out sucks for Dodge fans to watch what has already become a wild and crazy NASCAR Chase unfold before our very eyes without seeing any Chargers duking it out with the Chivvys and Furds. That’s cuz none of our Dodges made the Chase this season. The closest they got was 13th in the new top twelve format and that’s kinda like finishing second in a race – it makes you the first loser.
And that’s a dang shame cuz the Chase this year, in only week three as we scribble this, has been crazier than an outhouse rat. We already done seen Kyle Busch start the Chase with a big ol’ 80 point lead. After two weeks of Chasin’ he got squashed flatter than road kill and run outta the top ten. He’s all but dead meat on a stick as far as his team’s Chase Chances go. So how does a dashing young stud such as ‘Ol Wild Thing go from whooping everyone’s pink hinny all year to watching ‘em run away and leave him in the dust?
Well, Mopar-ettes, the Chase format has basically created a deal where you can only get about one and one half Mulligans before being scraped off the ‘A’ list. Now, I don’t profess to know much about other sports, but from what I can get from them other snooty writers at the track who play exotic sports like golf, a Mulligan is when you mess up. I’m guessing it means something like, ‘My bad, Oops, Shucks’ or worse.
So, out of the Chase’s ten races, you can mess up about one and a half times and still be able to catch up. Ol Wild Thing took TWO shots to the head when he got crashed outta one race and blew up a motor in the next. Now he’s looking at the South end of a bull that’s heading North if’n you know what I mean. They say mathematically he’s still in it but I think my chances are better when I buy a lottery ticket to fund my retirement after spending my all money on race cars and women and wasting the rest.
So where does leave our beloved Dodge Boys? Well, seeing how they already been run outta the Chase, they can use this time to start rebuilding. And from the sounds of things, they need some serious rebuilding. They got the new motor coming (see last month’s column), they got teams jumping around to join up together, they got teams doing the dee-vorce thing like Gillett-Evernham and Robby Gordon, and there’s talk of teams leaving the Dodge fold like the rumors of Ganasi merging with some other team - even a non-Dodge team.
Well, common sense will tell ya they all gotta get their chores done and get their house in order before they can go out and play. But if’n you wanna turn this Dodge racin’ bus around, that new motor we were talking about ain’t gonna do ‘em no good if they ain’t running their bidness right to begin with, dig?
So what do they gotta do for next year? Number one is get all the Dodge teams up and running as solid bidness folk. Get ‘em signed up for the next three to five years so nobody’s gonna bolt. Then, when the new motor comes out, re-do the cars to take advantage of the new motor and all its benefits (think lighter and more powerful) Then, put some more money into testing and developing so’s they can get back to winning. Then start testing the living crap outta those cars with the actual drivers that’ll be racing ‘em.
It’s a hardass plan, but if Dodge is gonna start winning again, I’m thinking it’s gonna take a couple of Ram truckloads of Tough Love.
Let’s get back to the Chase with a trend that is rapidly developing in those ten races. One of them races has done become kinda a wild card and that would be your Talladega funfest. Anyone who’s watched the NASCAR traveling road show long enuff to have a few cheap seat splinters in their butt knows that when the boys take the green at Alabama’s biggest sporting events, it’s anything goes, all bets are off and Katy, bar the door. Ain’t nobody knows what’s gonna happen at Talladega. Well, on second thought, there is something everybody knows will happen and that’s the Big One. At some time during a Talladega (or Daytona) race, a Big One will happen. And if a Chase driver is already sitting on one Mulligan, the Talladega Big One will surely send him home feelin’ meaner than snot.
If’n you don’t know what the Big One is or you’re thinking about some other site on the internet, the Big One in NASCAR is the Big Wreck. It happens when all or most of the cars are bunched up (restrictor plate racing will do that, ya know) and one ol’ boy gets pushed into a mistake and everyone around and behind get crashed up in the melee. (Think what it feels like to be a bowling pin when somebody hits a strike.)
We’ll give you a bit of history lesson here and tell you that they use those dang plates to keep speeds down at Talladega and Daytona, the two biggest tracks in NASCAR. ‘Cause everyone is running at their max speed, they all bunch up in big ol’ freight trains of stock cars. Then, when one little mistake happens – and they happen a mite fast at 190 mph - the whole train de-rails, dig?
In the past, the Talladega race has reduced the Chase Top Ten to the Jive Five or Survivor Six. I guess we’ll see what happens this year, won’t we? BTW, if you’re reading this when it’s first thrown up on October 1, the Talladega race is THIS Sunday, October 5. Chasin’ Chivvys and Furds not withstanding, it’s still worth watchin’.