Tuesday, April 17, 2007

Tuesday's Feature: The Straightaway

(every Tuesday, "Out of Bounds" will feature "The Straightaway," NASCAR commentary from longtime racing observer Siddy Hall)


by Siddy Hall


We love our NASCAR paint schemes. They give the sport their color and they give the teams their uniforms. Think of all the great cars that have circled the tracks throughout the years. The Tide car. The Texaco Havoline machine. Your Favorite Beer Machine. STP. DuPont. GM Goodwrench. Spam. And on and on.

We love ‘em so much that we make and sell miniature replicas of the cars. They are collector items. On this note I must say that die-casters shouldn’t bother cranking out the 5-Car – Kyle Busch’s Cheez-It machine. The one he drove in Texas.

The 5-Car usually sports Tony the Tiger on the hood. You know how it looks. The yellow and red swirls on the doors with a blue background. Tony on the hood, grinning like your favorite uncle. It’s not the greatest paint job in NASCAR. It’s a little busy. Anyhow, Kellogg’s decided that they wanted Cheez-Its on the hood at Texas. Fair enough. One problem though. When Kyle Busch went to the back-up car, the paint job turned into a hybrid. They left the Tony the Tiger paint job over the entire car save for the orange astro-blast Cheez-It hood.

What would Mr. Blackwell say about Busch's car wreck of a car?

That’s like combining plaids with polka dots. And at 200 MPH, the orange of the Cheez-Its mixed with the swirls of yellow, red and blue made Busch’s car look like a super-sonic frog-in-a-blender.

It’s no wonder Kyle Busch ran over Dale Earnhardt Jr. Tony Stewart spins, Junior hits the binders and Busch, rather than doing the same, recognizes a chance to end his misery. So he plowed into the back of Little E.

Afterwards, everybody wondered, “Where’d Kyle Busch go? His car is repaired and he needs to drive some more. Where’d he go?” Folks, he was hiding himself in shame because he was done driving the ugliest car in the history of NASCAR.

APOLOGIES TO JEFF BURTON: C’mon you detractors. You know who you are. It’s time to say that you’re sorry for ripping on Jeff Burton’s lack of aggressiveness. Most fans will recall the ending from race #5 at Bristol. Kyle Busch towed Burton around the track as they ran 1-2. On the final lap Burton failed to lay a glove on Busch. He had an opportunity to give Kyle the ‘ole “Bump ‘n Run,” which could have won Burton the race.

Burton: Erring on the side of caution OK at Bristol

The original criticism towards Burton was unfair. Just two weeks prior to Bristol, the same two guys dueled at the finish of the Las Vegas Busch race. Jeff Burton won that race and there was a lot of sheet metal damage done to Busch’s car in that skirmish. If Burton had tangled two times with Kyle Busch in just a 15-day period, while winning both times, Burton would have paid too big a price down the line. You cannot take a guy out twice in a row like that. Burton would have been paying for it until the day he retired or got killed with repeated “paybacks” from the young buck.

That Jeff Burton-Kyle Busch battle in Las Vegas was an awesome race finish. To check it out, here’s a You Tube clip.

FRUSTRATING FOX: One of the great pleasures of watching a NASCAR race is the proximity that television provides to the drivers and crew chiefs during the race. Consider when David Ragan, J.J. Yeley, and Ricky Rudd wrecked on the first lap. I would have expected Fox to interview those guys. Apparently, they aren’t important enough. Which is disappointing.

Essentially, anytime anything happens to anyone, it should be covered. If the 28th place car is making an unscheduled pitstop or goes behind the wall, then there should at least be a split screen showing this. Changes in a race come quickly and suddenly. It’s always news. Following these pitstops and talking to those teams is always worthwhile. It’s not just about Dale, Jeff, Jimmie and Tony. Especially with the proliferation of fantasy NASCAR.

I’m convinced that the producers of TV sports are bored out of their skulls. During the Lap One wreck as Ricky Rudd’s Snickers car was sliding through the grass and about to make impact with David Ragan, Fox switched to Dale Jarrett’s in-car camera and we missed the collision. The same with Mike Bliss’ wreck. He hit two walls and all we saw was Bliss limping away (and no interview). I bet the radio gang covered it better.

What’s painful, however, was being forced to watch Jeff Burton’s wife, Kim, over the final two laps on a split-screen. At times our choices were Kim Burton to the left and Jeff Burton’s in-car camera to the right. We had lost perspective of what was happening on the track. It was taken away from us. Finally when Burton took the Checkers, we watched Kim jump around like she had just won the Showcase Showdown on The Price is Right. Awesome.

"That's my hubby!" (yeah, and who CARES?)

Nothing makes me feel more like a weenie than watching the reactions of so-called famous non-participants. For instance, in NFL games we’re forced to look at Washington Redskins owner, Daniel Snyder, and his entourage responding to a field goal. Pleeeeze. The same for driver’s wives. We have our own emotions that we are experiencing, thank you.

RACING ROIDS: There goes NASCAR’s clean slate in the steroid department. Stone Cold Steve Austin was honored with the Grand Marshall duties at the Texas race. I’m totally convinced that people don’t care about steroids. You can look at just about any sport and the proof is in the pudding. We just keep watching. It doesn’t affect us. Should we just legalize it with restrictions? I remember when I was a kid during the 1976 Olympics. The Communists used steroids. They were clearly the Bad Guys and we were the Good Guys. So what does that make us now?

Austin: Maybe Barry Bonds was unavailable?

QUICK STATS: Many teams are still dog-paddling for survival by trying to stay in the Top-35. More than meets the eye. Consider Ryan Newman, who currently sits 20th in points. Newman is exactly halfway between 16th and 33rd place. He’s 100 points from each of those two spots.

The final eight teams in the top-35 are separated by only 32 points. Michael Waltrip’s 55-car sits 424 points out of 35th place. Woooo-hoooo.

(you can e-mail Siddy Hall: cityhall172000 at yahoo.com)

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