NASCAR

Speed Reading: True or false on hot topics

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Ryan McGee

 
   
 
What's not to love about True or False? There's no room for error. No room for B.S. And we automatically have a 50-50 shot of being on the money. With those kinds of odds, it was impossible for me to look back on the recent NASCAR headlines and not take a shot at determining their level factuality or farcicality. So move forward with me if you will as we look on this crazy time of the season with goggles that help us sort truthfulness from the falsehoods.

Danica Patrick is coming to NASCAR in 2007 — FALSE

This is the most overblown story since Geraldo went looking for Al Capone's treasure and found a pile of dirt. Yes, her father was snooping around the Nextel Cup garage at Chicago. Yes, he was doing a little informal asking about future opportunities. And yes, even Patrick has admitted that NASCAR is where the largest audience and most money live. But no, she has no plans to leave the Indy Racing League anytime soon. No, she does not have any interest in the year-round commitments that being a NASCAR requires. And no, she does not want to jump into a stock car without first taking the proper ramp-up ladder steps required to make the transition from open wheels to fenders. Listen, I have no doubt that Danica will end up in a stock car at some point in here career, whether it is as a full-time Cup racer or just a part-time dip into the water. But she is clearly determined to make her name where she is first, and until those goals are accomplished she will remain the most popular fish in the smaller racing pond.

PHOTOS: Tradin' Paint at Indy

PHOTOS: Racing red carpet

  • 'Tradin' Paint:' SPEED, Fri. 10:30 ET
  • Miller: Montoya's shock move!
  • McGee: Who is Juan Montoya?
  • Dillner: Ganassi/Montoya Q&A
  • Jensen: Chicago Instant Analysis
  • F1's Montoya to drive in NASCAR

  • Juan Montoya's move is a bigger deal than people realize — TRUE

    Never before has a F1 driver bolted for NASCAR while still a full-time competitor. Guys like Phil Hill and Dan Gurney have run some Cup races as hired guns, but never has a bona fide World Championship contender decided to go "saloon car" racing while still a top shelf open wheeler. The greater impact of the move will likely be felt far away from Darlington and Martinsville, when international race fans actually start tuning in to NASCAR broadcasts that have long been available, but rarely watched. Whether he wins or not will be totally irrelevant, at least in the beginning, because his rabid South American and European fan base will tune in regardless. But if he has any success at all, even if it is only a few pole positions, the snooty set over in Eurasia will have to start taking this stock car thing seriously.

    'Talladega Nights' is going to hurt NASCAR's image — FALSE

    The same NASCAR fans and marketing gurus who are losing sleep over the long term impact of Will Ferrell's over-the-top flick are likely the same people who still rail on and on about the inaccuracies in Days of Thunder. Folks, lighten up. It's M-O-V-I-E. Grab some popcorn, throw some change into the Will Rogers Institute bucket, and enjoy yourself. I don't seem to remember Anchorman: The Legend of Ron Burgundy doing any damage to your local Eyewitness News team.

    The format of The Chase needs to be changed — FALSE

    When NASCAR chairman Brian France said to expect "tweaks" to the Chase for the Nextel Cup format, a literal groan went out from the media in attendance. One likely change will happen in the number of teams allowed in, probably expanding the points window from 400 behind the leader to 500. The other potential change is creating a special points system for the teams that go qualify for the title run. Is this happening because Dale Earnhardt Junior and Jeff Gordon missed out last fall? If so, forget it. Because they are both going to be in this year. Or perhaps it is because Tony Stewart had a relatively easy time winning it all last year. If that's the case, really look at it... because that wasn't the case. True, Stewart didn't have to endure the nail-biter that occurred in 2004 (which, by the way, was the single greatest points battle in NASCAR history), but his Cup was still in doubt until the final lap and his 30-point win over Greg Biffle still ranks it among the closest margins of all time. The only change that should occur is to move a road race into the final ten events so that the entire season is represented during The Chase. Other than that, nada. Hey, my pickup runs fine so I don't touch it. Let's do the same with the system.

    Jeremy Mayfield and Ray Evernham are on the outs — TRUE

    A lot of people were stunned by Jeremy Mayfield's Chicagoland comments that he felt like Ray wasn't around enough to fix whatever is wrong with his abysmal No. 19 car. Then again, a lot of people weren't. It is no secret that Mayfield has been regarded at the number two driver at Evernham Motorsports since Kasey Kahne's arrived with his explosive winning and marketable ways. This despite the fact that Mayfield is 2-for-2 when it comes to making The Chase while Kahne is oh-fer. Mayfield's public calling out of his boss (though he came back to downplay it two days later) was eerily reminiscent of a similar jab he took at then-boss Roger Penske back in 2001. Those comments got him released from Penske four weeks later. With one year remaining on his deal at Evernham, could the sly Kentuckian been trying the same maneuver to land one of the many still-open rides for next seasons? Stay tuned. The truth — or the false — shall soon be revealed.


    Ryan McGee is the managing editor at NASCAR Images. He can be reached at his e-mail address: rmcgee@foxsports.com.



    NASCAR on SPEED
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    Busch Beat
    Another full-time Busch Series team is threatening to fall by the wayside, forced there by a series choked by Cup-backed Buschwackers. Frank Cicci Racing will run only a part-time schedule through the remainder of 2006 while they try to find enough financial backing to come back full-time in 2007. "We have a lot of opportunities and positive things happening for next year, but sponsorship has been minimal this year. We want to step back and concentrate on bringing our best equipment and running well at every race we attend," said Frank Cicci, NBS owner since 1988 and a 19-race winner.

    Truck Stop
    Ron Hornaday's win at Kentucky extended his all-time NCTS wins record to 29 victories. Fellow vet Jack Sprague is second on the list with 26 and his still looking for his first checkered flag of 2006. Mike Skinner is third on the list with 18, a position he overtook from Greg Biffle with two wins last season, but he is also still searching for his first win of the season. The three drivers have also combined to win six of the eleven NCTS championships.

    This Ain't Your Daddy's NASCAR
    While on vacation last week, my wife picked up a Renuzit air freshener for our beach house. It was a special Carl Edwards NASCAR edition, complete with the scent title "After the Rain, After the Race." Clearly the good people at Renuzit have never been to a racetrack after rain or after a race, because the smell is not what comes to mind when I think "fresh".

    Why We Call Richard Petty "The King" Fact of the Week

    The King hit the hill at the famed Goodwood Festival of Speed last weekend, driving his famous 1972 #43 Dodge on the grounds of historic Goodwood House in West Sussex, England and hosted by the Earl of March. Petty drove his Charger in the Hillclimb competition on the 1.16-mile course, which is the principal attraction of the Festival of Speed in what one British reporter called "a beautiful display of brute power by a very genuine gentleman."

    Who's Hot & Who's Not
  • Jimmie Johnson: Somebody check under J.J.'s seat for a well-placed horseshoe. Throughout the entire race at Chicago, he was going to lose the points lead to Matt Kenseth, but thanks to teammate Jeff Gordon did not. Now it's off to Loudon, where he owns two wins and a career average finish of 8.6.
  • Dale Jarrett: Jarrett continues to drop through the point standings like a dumbbell through marshmallow cream. In the eight races since he announced that he would be leaving Robert Yates Racing, D.J. has posted his eight worst finishes of the year and dropped from 10th to 24th in points.
  • Power Rankings
  • Speed Mail of the Week
    Todd in Amberville, NY:
    Let me start by stating I'm a huge Gordon fan. I, however, also loved the way Earnhardt raced every race to win. That being said I believe Gordon is the better driver overall for one huge reason - quality of competition. Honestly when Dale Sr. started racing MAYBE five teams had a legitimate shot a winning each week. True NASCAR fans know the King and the Intimidator ran a bunch of races against guys driving junk. I mean come on when was the last time you saw a car win a race five laps ahead of the second place car. I not saying they don't deserve the recognition for their legendary careers, but a lot of the King's and Intimidator's wins came against suspect competition."

    Ryan McGee: "In reaction to Jeff Gordon's climb up the all-time wins list. After Chicago he is only one victory behind Dale Earnhardt, with 75 to The Intimidator's 76

    Speed Mail Ryan
    Tagged: Jeff Gordon, Jack Sprague, Greg Biffle, Kasey Kahne, Tony Stewart

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