The fire started off Monday night with Kyle Larson’s last lap move to win the Whelen All American Series race at The Battle At The Beach and was fueled on Tuesday night with Steve Park’s last lap move on Mike Stefanik in the Whelen Modified race. A few extra coals were tossed on the blaze in a wild finish to the K&N Pro Series event. Fans, NASCAR drivers, and media members are ready to throw Kyle Larson out to dry for his last lap “bump and run”. Mike Stefanik was about to blow a gasket over Steve Park move around him. Have people forgot that this is SHORT TRACK racing? From the media and fan outrage you would think that Jimmy Johnson had turned Dale Jr. on the last lap of the Daytona 500 and sent him flipping into the stands! Its easy to loose sight in all the fuss that this was a 1/4 mile flat oval. If you put that many cars and that many hungry drivers on a track like that what do you expect to happen?
If you missed the races and don’t have a clue what I am talking about you can see all three of them in full length by CLICKING HERE.
For almost every driver that climbs into a stock car their dream is to race at Daytona. A select few get to live that dream, but of those only the elite ever make it to victory lane and get to take home a trophy from Daytona. Of those elite, only a few of those trophies come from Speedweeks. The UNOH Battle At The Beach was a chance for three short track racers to take home one of those special trophies. Not to mention a chance at a lot of cash. So what did you expect them to do? Take a chance at the spotlight? The glory? The money? The trophy? Or finish second and let a once in a lifetime chance pass them by? Now granted in Kyle Larson’s position he will have other chances at a Daytona trophy, in fact he has another one this weekend. But look at Steve Park, a guy who once had it all, he is no stranger to how quickly your rug can be jerked out from under you. Look at all the people involved in the crazy K&N Pro Series finish. All of those guys aren’t promised much more than the next few races, they are paving their own path to glory. NASCAR is about winning races, as a sponsor or team owner I’d much rather have a driver who went for it all and won the race than one that was content to ride in second or third. Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying everyone should drive dirty and wreck people at will, but when the money is on the line at the end, all bets are off.
Also lets not loose site that this was an ALL STAR race. No points. Similar to the Sprint Unlimited or the all star race in May. Everyone is there to win, nothing else. This fact seems to get lost when people are busy tossing the winners under the buses and out into traffic.
I’ll leave you with this video. Its a compilation of NASCAR last lap finishes. Let it be a reminder to those up on their high horse than when the money is on the line, most everyone will do whatever ti takes to get to victory lane.
I thought it would be a fun way to put 2012 away with the top five headlines that could have been. Of course something drastic happened and they weren’t but its still fun to pretend sometimes!
(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)
Kurt Busch Wins Sonoma!
Busch wins for James Finch in sponserless car
Had Kurt Busch not clipped the curbing the wrong way and broken a rear suspension piece in the #51 car he would have no doubt went on to take the victory. The story would have been huge number one because Kurt Busch would have proven he can win in almost anything and number two in would have been an awesome feel good story for an unsponsered under dog like James Finch to be in victory lane on the Cup level.
Micheal Waltrip Wins Talladega With Wild Last Lap Pass
Waltrip does it again on a plate track
You can argue all day on whether Tony Stewart’s block of Micheal Waltrip and Casey Mears was just racing, the right thing to do, or an out right bone headed move. But what you can’t argue is the fact that Casey Mears was pushing Micheal Waltrip to the front and no one was going to stop them. What a Cinderella story it would have been for Waltrip to drive to victory lane in the Sprint Cup nearly nine years to the day after his last Sprint Cup victory. But instead the field was quickly turned into a Fred Sanford front lawn special as thousands of dollars of cars were turned into junk. Matt Kenseth ended up surviving the mayhem to go to victory lane. Watch it unfold below!
(Photo Credit: thefinallap.com)
Dave Blaney Wins Daytona 500
Race Shorten Due To Jet Dryer Explosion
Everyone watching the 2012 Daytona 500 had to be deep down thinking just how cool it would be for journeyman Dave Blaney to win the Daytona 500. As his car sat out front as the crews inspected the unknown amount of damage done to the racing surface the TV coverage interview car owner Tommy Baldwin. It was a priceless moment when Bladwin worried on camera how they would get the parts they needed off of that car to run next week if they impounded it and took it to winners circle at Daytona USA for the car to sit until next year. Of course it didn’t happen, with the help of some Tide NASCAR got the track cleaned up and the race proceeded. As in our above fictional headline Matt Kenseth won this one as well.
(Photo Credit: hotrod.com)
Clint Bowyer Heads Into Homestead 28 Points Behind Keselowski, 8 behind Johnson
That is what the headline should have read had Jeff Gordon not taken out Clint Bowyer with two laps to go at Phoenix. Would it have made a difference in the race? Would it have shaken Brad Keselowski? Who knows, we will never know! As it was Keselowski would have still won the title either way.
(Photo Credit: Nascar.com)
Jeff Gordon Finished 2nd In Points
17 behind Keselowski (tied with Bowyer)
Wipe away the faulty five dollar part at Chicago and assume Gordon finished 5th. Take away the Phoenix fiasco and leave Gordon in 6th and Bowyer in 5th. This would also eliminate the 25 point penalty Gordon suffered. What you would have is Jeff Gordon finishing the season 17 points out of the lead tied for second place with Clint Bowyer. This also means coming into the final race Keselowski, Bowyer, Johnson, and Gordon had a somewhat legit shot to win the title. The pressure would have really been on Brad at that point. But of course that five dollar part did fail, Gordon knocked the wall down at Chicago, lost his cool at Phoenix, and ended up squeaking out 10th in points.
Double Standard #1
2011, WinStar World Casino 350K, Texas, Ron Hornaday runs Kyle Busch up the track into the wall. Busch runs Hornaday down and intentionally wrecks him and takes him out of contention for the Nascar Camping World Trucks Championship. Kyle Busch is parked for the remainder of that race, the Nationwide race on Saturday, and the Sprint Cup race on Sunday. The backlash of this event also almost cost Busch his sponsorship with M&M’s and his ride at Joe Gibbs Racing. Busch was also fined $50,000 dollars by Nascar.
Fast forward roughly a year and one week. Sprint Cup Race, Phoenix, Clint Bowyer runs Jeff Gordon up into the wall. Gordon waits on Bowyer, ignoring Nascar’s black flag, and wrecks Bowyer who at the time was just seven points behind the lead in points. Roughly thirteen points ahead of Jeff Gordon’s teammate Jimmy Johnson. The crash takes Bowyer, along with an innocent Joey Logano out of the race and more importantly takes Bowyer out of the championship hunt. Gordon was fined $100,000 dollars and docked 25 points, he will race on Sunday in the season finale at Homestead-Miami.
Double Standard #2
Closing laps of Sunday’s Sprint Cup Race in Phoenix. Jeff Gordon looses his mind and takes out Clint Bowyer and Joey Logano. Nascar quickly throws the caution before Kevin Harvick can take the white flag and end the race. They threw it so fast the flag man didn’t even get the signal in time to stop waving the white flag.
Fast forward to the Green-White-Checkered attempt number one. Danica Patrick wrecks half way through the lap. Clearly there is a crash, the tv camera’s picked it up, radio picked it up. It is also pretty obvious from video footage that she is pouring an oil/water mixture down on the track. But Nascar doesn’t throw the caution, lets the cars race back around to the line, and causes one heck of a wreck at the start finish line when the field catches Danica Patrick.
Here is a fan’s footage.
Here is ESPN’s footage.
Double Standard #3
February 2012, Daytona 500. Brad Keselowski tweets a picture of the jet drier fire in Turn 3 under red flag conditions.
Statement from Nascar.
“NASCAR will not penalize Brad Keselowski for his use of Twitter during last night’s Daytona 500. Nothing we’ve seen from Brad that violates any current rules pertaining to the use of social media during races. As such, he won’t be penalized. We encourage our drivers to use social media to express themselves as long as they do so without risking their safety or that of others.”
Fast forward to last weekends race at Phoenix. Brad tweets from his car under the red flag toward the end of the race. Nascar fines him $25,000 and places him on probation until the end of the year for for violating NASCAR’s policy of having a cellphone or similar electronic device in his car.
As Joe Friday once said, “Just the fact’s ma’am.”