No NASCAR Sprint Cup this weekend? Whatever will you do…?

You could watch the Nationwide series race. Some of you will. Maybe not all of it. Maybe long enough to see a spin or crash and blame it on Danica Patrick…

However, you could expand your horizon a bit and watch Formula 1 from Germany and American Le Mans from Canada. You could also catch up with IndyCar, also racing in Canada, and see how they are getting along without Danica… (more…)

Sitting and watching the ROLEX 24 on SPEED I have to wonder….  Where are the racing fans? I have to watch on TV as I’m several states away with a driveway full of snow but what of racing fans in Florida, South Carolina, Georgia….? Looking at the stands at Daytona during the ROLEX 24 it looks like the Grand-Am guys snuck in started racing! It appears there are more people around the infield than in the stands. Is it the cool weather? Maybe the rain at the start on Saturday?

Seriously…  Drivers from practically every motor sports discipline on hand to get the racing season started with a 24 hour showcase of speed and the stands are so empty you would have food left over from a Bojangles Family Pack! I don’t get it…

But I don’t understand the average racing fan anyway. Perhaps that is the key. Perhaps there are very few “racing” fans out there. It seems there are millions of NASCAR fans but offer an INDY or Formula 1 or Grand-Am race and they just turn away. Why…? Either step up and be a “racing” fan or pose away in your Dale Jr. cap.

I say open yourself up to anything that goes fast. There are people out there that want to shut it all down for political, social or supposed “green” reasons so those of us that enjoy motor sports need to broaden our horizons and embrace some of these other racing series.

Support you local weekend tracks, drivers and race events. If you get the chance to see the INDY, LeMans, Grand-Am or even SCCA races in your neck of the woods get a ticket and GO! It is all racing and it is all good.

All I’m saying is don’t let the naysayers have their way. Be a “racing” fan and support as much of it as you can!

See Race Photos Here

Auto racing at 160+ mph is something to see. It is literally a flash of color and sound and wind chasing the wings as they go by. Combine these speeds with a short track setting such as Richmond International Raceway and you get a 5g vertigo festival. It is fun to watch and definately a bit different from a NASCAR Sprint Cup race on the same track. The lighter cars allow for quicker acceleration so the Indy cars shoot out of turns like rockets while NASCAR cars are thrown out of a turn on sheer power and momentum. Another noticeable difference is that the nature of NASCAR racing puts more cars in the same space and sheet metal is bound to get banged up while IRL cars are wide open with all four wheels exposed. While “rubbing is racing” is expected in NASCAR it can be a race ending disaster in IRL. Touching open wheels rotating at these speeds can send two cars in a dozen directions – including straight up. That seems to be frowned upon…

This past Saturday (June 27, 2009) the SunTrust Indy Challenge sped through 300 laps at Richmond International Raceway. With few cautions to shake things up, the race resembled a high speed parade for the majority of laps. It is difficult to pass at Richmond anyway and these cars are so evenly matched the chances at passing on the Richmond track only grow slimmer. The lead changes were mostly taken care of with pit strategy and pit stop speed more than ducking under the inside diving at speed into the turns. Dario Franchitti even apolgized to the fans after race making a mention of the lack of excitement on this particular race day.

All that aside, this race was fun to watch despite tha lack of two-wide turns and chasing through the field. The novelty of the design of these cars in an area known for closed cockpit, left side driving is one thing. The sheer speed, acceleration and quick braking is another. The personality of the race is different, too, but that is harder to put a finger on. Better to go see for yourself.

I found the race, the facility, the fans and the day to be thoroughly delightful from the point of view of a racing fan. My only dissapointment is the same I have at every auto race that does not have a Gordon or an Earnhardt in it. Where are the people. Go to any NASCAR track for a Sprint Cup race and the stands are crowded and the midway is busy. However, put a different kind of car on the same track and the fan response is much different. I’ve said it before. If you are a racing fan, be a “Racing” fan and support as much and as many types of racing as you can.

At the end of this one, Scott Dixon took the checkered in the Target Chip Ganassi #9 while team mate Franchitti rolled in the 2nd spot right behind him in the 10. Graham Rahal took 3rd, Hideki Mutoh was 4th and Danica Patrick grabbed another top 5 and 300 laps were done. Check out photos by clicking here.

ARCA Racing under way February 7 before NASCAR Bud Shootout
ARCA Racing under way February 7 before NASCAR Bud Shootout

Speed Week begins today. The NASCAR Budweiser Shootout is tonight. Will you watch? How about the “Lucas Oil Slick Mist 200” ARCA Series race that runs earlier in the afternoon? Maybe – Maybe not…? Yes, but only because it is on and part of the day of racing tied to the Shootout…? No…? 

Here’s the thing and I think it is important right now. It is no longer OK to just be a NASCAR fan or an INDY fan or a Grand-Am fan. It is time to embrace auto racing as a “whole package”. That means tuning into a race you might have skipped over in the past. That means packing up the car and heading out to some of those Saturday night races at the local oval. It also means showing support for these small teams and drivers that work the 40 during the week so they can run 100 laps on the weekend. It is time to become a RACING fan. Why…..?

Well, look around and get an eyeful of what is going on around you. Those folks in Washington, DC are about to sign off on what they are calling a “stimulus” package. Jimmy Dean has sold less pork in 40 years than the Democrats have packed in this thing in just two weeks. It is not just the bloated cost of wasteful Government expansion that we, as motor-sports fans, should be concerned with. There is a lot of pay-off money going to the so-called “green initiative” special interests for backing these nutjobs that have the nerve to call themselves “concerned” as leaders of our Country. Billions of dollars are going to “climate change” (formerly known as “global warming”) researchers and you can wager your Pit Pass that the “researchers” getting the cash are more concerned with agenda than fact. There are billions going to “renewable” energy research and development meaning bio-fuels and electrics. On the surface, that is a fine goal. However, look behind the curtain and you see the cost to convert crops to fuel is hardly easy or cost-effective and is not likely to be without huge subsidies. Not to mention the inflation of other by-products as more growers turn to selling for fuel rather than food. Hybrids and electrics are being developed and being forced onto the marketplace by growing Government mandates on MPG minimums. On the surface, again, a fine idea. However, nobody is talking about what to do with discarded batteries at the end of their run or the environmental impact of creating batteries in the first place. Billions of dollars of “stimulus” are going to wind and solar research. Fine. Billions are going into initiatives to force companies to go “green” or be “green friendly”. OK…  But here is THE question. If the goal is to get us away from dependence on foreign oil, why is there no real investment in this “stimulus” on finding, drilling and developing our own oil? Oil that we know exists. Oil that we can get to. Oil that is available to fuel our economy while also funding much of this “research” they are forcing our deficit dollars to pay for. Where is it in this bill, Mr. President? The answer is that it is not there because it upsets the very people they are paying off with our money.

But what does it mean to us as “racing” fans? It means that billions of our tax dollars are being spent, and given to, people that hate and loath the sport of motor racing. They look at it as a big waste of fuel and a stain on the “environment”. They see all of us as un-educated rednecks with bellies full of beer and trailers surrounded by junkers on blocks. They do not see the innovation from the sport that has made every modern car on the road safer and more efficient. They do not see the college degrees, the engineers, the artists and talented from all ways of life in the garage or the stands. All they see is cars going in circles spewing filth in the air.

That is why it is time to support your sport. Go to the local track. Watch a race series you might otherwise skip over. Grow the numbers, grow the support, grow the sport. They will come after the sport of motor racing. It is only a matter of time.  They will legislate it out of existence by making it harder and harder to operate. They have a mission to force everyone to live within the parameters they set. And don’t be fooled into thinking it is “for our own good”. It is for their consolidation of power.