Thursday, November 5, 2015
Some short mid-week stuff, as we recover from our fall Martinsville experience. The consternation amongst much of the more or less NASCAR paid racing press concerning Mr. Kenseth's response to Joey Logano's repeated smooth moves and arrogant responses, race after race, yielded for the moment the biggest penalty ever levied by NASCAR for an in-race "infraction." To justify their decision required remarkable hair-splitting and obfuscation, and a laughable walk-back by NASCAR owner Brian France, grandson of NASCAR owner Bill France, of things he'd just said in lavish praise of both Logano's wrecking of Kenseth at Kansas, and of Harvick's similar wrecking of Trevor Bain at Talladega. According to France, who seems to spout pronouncements as though he were the King of Versailles, Logano's late race move, spinning out Kenseth and both winning the race and pretty much assuring himself that the leading regular season competitor, Kenseth, would not be in the next Chase round, was nothing short of brilliant.
Kenseth offered a better analysis as he left the infield care center post the Logano wreck at Martinsville. "Sometimes you're the bat, sometimes you're the ball. It's never fun to be the ball." We were sitting just above turn one at Martinsville when 20 drove 22 hard into the wall. The blow seemed to shake the seats, and was a visceral experience. After a moment of shocked silence, the crowd all around us exploded in cheers for Kenseth, who climbed from his car and gave a slight wave to the crowd as he climbed into the ambulance. Logano looked up at the bleachers and gave a slight wave as well, but as far as I could tell got nothing much back. The crowd at Martinsville was as happy to see Kenseth finally react to the several improprieties levied upon him by both Logano and Keselowski, teammates in the Penske operation who were racing as a pair all day as they were last time round, when Junior finally won him a grandfather clock. That's remarkable. Someone on the radio said, "Kenseth just gained more fans than he's ever had." TV polls continue to reflect the fan support too, with Kenseth winning some 70% support for the choice of "NASCAR should do nothing."
I had no idea that Logano was so disliked. It may be his rich-kid demeanor. Tony Stewart saw that a couple of years back. I went over to the Kenseth gear store and priced his ball hats yesterday. I think they're trending up. I'd like to find a bumper sticker to put on the truck that says what the title of this post says: 20, Hell Yes. It may be Brian France, rich guy heir, just identifies more with Logano, rich boy heir. He certainly doesn't understand that making ad hoc decisions can lead in the end to contradiction and muddle. Golden boy Jeff Gordon wrecked Clint Bowyer a couple of years back and nothing was done. Golden boy Carl Edwards could have killed Keselowski at Atlanta before that and, again, nothing was done. At the moment, France has made "Chasers" untoucable, yet Kenseth himself was in the Chase until Logano, at Kansas, took him out. It's all very, errm, complicated. Sometimes you're the bat, sometimes you're the ball. That's clarity.
Sheila O'Malley has a post up about Walker Evans: http://www.sheilaomalley.com/?p=109664
If you don't get the people Evans photographed, you don't get NASCAR fans.
Someone wrote about Brian France's father, back when Batista had just fled to Florida from Cuba after Fidel had won the civil war and marched into Havana, "now there's two dictators living in Florida." Pissed ole Bill off too. He tried to get the guy fired.
A brief update week and a half in:
Last time I saw Brian Vickers at Martinsville he was wrecking folks right and left, including I believe one Jimmie Johnson, who last weekend at Texas came close to finishing off Mr. Logano's chances this year, and at a minimum now pits, with his victory, Logano against his teammate Keselowski (will he wreck him?) and Harvick in the last chance of the year. Vickers, in his current job as pundit, made a great point this week, and against the tv current no less. Logano, he said, has only himself to blame for his current predicament, because turning Kenseth at Kansas was Logano's choice alone. Exactly. As as Kenseth accurately tweeted (#quintessential), Johnson also illustrated how one passes a vehicle in front of one without wrecking said vehicle, and implied in so doing that perhaps Master Logano was not so skilled a driver as he himself might have imagined, and/or lacked at his youthful age some impulse-control development yet to be attained. Re Vickers, Libby thinks it was the Red Bull at Martinsville. Could be?
As you know, I'll be pulling for 18.