Sunday, November 08, 2015

Brian France and NASCAR Need A Wake-Up Call

Do you know the expression "Jumping The Shark"? You know the episode of Happy Days where the Fonz decides to water ski and he jumps over the shark? You could never take that show seriously again and you always thought of that episode. Well, that is where NASCAR has gone since Matt Kenseth let his anger overrule good sense and intentionally wrecked Joey Logano. It has been thought that the NFL was the king of arbitrary rules since last season. I submit that is the dunderheads the run NASCAR. They have no clue and will arbitrarily enforce rules.

Let's start in Martinsville. Kenseth crushes Logano into a SAFER barrier and Logano can no longer continue.  NASCAR parks Kenseth for the rest of the race and decides on a 2 race suspension and a 6 month probation. Let's say something right here. I have no problem with the suspension. In fact, I would have made it the final 3 races of the year. The probation is longer that I thought it should be, but it is OK. Probation was reduced to the end of 2015 on appeal. So the reason that Kenseth was suspended for that amount of time is something that Brian France stated in the defense of the penalty given out:

"Going back to Richmond, we made it very clear that anybody in the industry, any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships, that that crosses a different line than a racing problem between two drivers," France said.
Go back and read that again. Any driver or participant who intentionally tries to alter the outcome of events or championships. Well, Matt Kenseth definitely did that. So, he and NASCAR are fine on that account. But what about the Danica Patrick badly performed takeout of David Gilliland? She was fined and points taken away. She was intentionally trying to alter the outcome of the event. She was causing a caution that should not have been. Do you know if things would have shaken out differently if she had not caused that caution? No you do not. Because maybe Jeff Gordon has a tire that blows 2 laps later. Every caution has an impact on the Chase and on the participants in the race. So why isn't NASCAR parking her ass on the bench just like Kenseth? Because then you would have drivers suspended each and every week.

Why would you have racers suspended each and every week? Because those racers who decide to dump a competitor intentionally should face the exact same penalty as Kenseth did. And we know that each and every racer out on a NASCAR track has a t one time or another wrecked a competitor because of anger. The regular season determines who is in the Chase and you cannot win the Chase without qualifying for it. With a straight face, how can you say that someone being taken out in Week 4 of the season doesn't impact the Chase? So let's say that Matt Kenseth takes out Eric Almirola during a race in Atlanta intentionally with 5 laps to go and they are going for the race win. NASCAR will not suspend the driver. Why? According to Brian France, that is just smart racing. That is wrong. Matt Kenseth has intentionally altered the outcome of an event and the chance for Almirola to advance to the Chase. But then you turn off some of your audience because their favorite driver is out of at least one race. And if you decide to suspend a fan favorite, then what is the business backlash if he is out at the same time you have suspended another top name? I understand that $$$ drives the sport, but let's get this straight.

And speaking of $$$, NASCAR will take this action and make money off of it. You don't think so? Then you don't remember Edwards taking out Keselowski at Atlanta. I saw that wreck this year in an advertisement for the NASCAR race in Atlanta. Wrecking each other is a part of the sport that is intriguing to people, whether it is deliberate or not. And what will bring in more $$$, according to NASCAR, it is a controversy about why the accident happened. NASCAR will allow footage of this wreck between Logano and Kenseth to permeate the airwaves in ads and NASCAR themselves will show this wreck in various instances, not just for news worthy things. 

So if what Mr. France states is a reason for Kenseth's suspension is true, then why isn't NASCAR investigating Kurt Busch's claim that Brad Keselowski intentionally wrecked Matt Kenseth before the Logano incident? It had an effect on the Chase because Kurt Busch was taken out during the wreck. Where is the questions to the #2 driver? I don't think that has been done. And has NASCAR talked to Busch after the claims? The wreck affected the chance of Kurt Busch to win the NASCAR title. Because the sanctioning body doesn't care. Oh, a tie rod came loose and that caused the wreck. Really? How do you know that? Kenseth says that his tire went flat and he couldn't turn. Maybe that is true. Did NASCAR investigate that? Probably not, because they parked him immediately after the wreck. I'm not saying that Kenseth wasn't lying, but if he says something, why don't you believe him but you do another racer in the exact same position?

In conclusion, NASCAR has always had their favorites and agendas. We knew about that in the 80's, 90's, and 2000's. After the Boys, have at it proclamation, fans were hoping that would be set aside. Well, with this incident, we know that the sanctioning body at the very least is incompetent, and probably hoping that controversy will bring back viewers and fans to the sport. The Kevin Harvick wrecking somebody at the start to get him into the next round of the Chase didn't bring them the controversy that they wanted, but they think that this might. The agendas are in full force, at least to me they are. And until they are put back on the back burner, the sanctioning body can kiss my lily white a**.

Monday, November 02, 2015

Wot? A Blog Challenge Missed?

I'm used to seeing a handful of regular users on the forums, so imagine my surprise this morning when I learned we have a Jets fan in the group. If I had remembered this last week, we could have had a spirited blog challenge this weekend between two teams that may fight for a playoff position in December.

Yes, you read that right. Both the Jets and the Raiders fighting for a playoff position. Don't worry, peeps. I'm not used to reading phrases like, "Raiders in the thick of the AFC playoff race" on sports web sites like Fox Sports in November either.

It's been awhile since I've celebrated a Raiders win here, and from all accounts I should get used to it. I didn't have TV coverage where I live, so I depended on Twitter to keep up with the game action. From all accounts, it looks like the Raiders receivers have greatly improved. As a group, they are now gaining a lot of yardage after the catch and making Derek Carr look like a Pro Bowl-caliber quarterback. This has helped the Raiders jump out to big leads in the first half, something we have not seen in over a decade.

The Raiders defense briefly knocked both Jets quarterbacks out of the game, but part of that can be blamed on Geno Smith's lack of awareness. There was at least one run where he should have gone out of bounds, but instead absorbed a big hit while running along the sidelines for extra yardage. Even though he was injured during the first series, Ryan Fitzpatrick was forced to come in for a few plays while the Jets worked on getting Geno ready for another beating.

It was nice to see Charles Woodson get another INT. I don't know how many more years he's going to play, but it would be a crime not to have him in the Pro Bowl this season. He is playing his best football in years.

I'm not used to seeing the Raiders in second place in the AFC West division so late in the season. At the beginning of the year, I would have been happy with the Raiders finishing 7-9 knowing they would improve in the coming years. Now, I have to change my way of thinking. The Chargers have a terrible defense, injuries, and possibly the worst punt return team in NFL history. The Chiefs also have key injuries. Can the Raiders become a playoff team this year? They just might, and ironically it may depend on how the Jets do the rest of the season.

If there's good news for the Jets today, it's that they have no interest in Ryan Mallett. Hopefully for their sake, they can find a decent quarterback soon. That is the one position that's going to hold them back this season.