Castroneves furious over penalty, more news and notes (cont.)
Where's Dean Wormer?
When Carl Edwards and Kyle Busch got into their post-race spat at Bristol two weeks ago, it was a perfect opportunity for NASCAR to cash in on the publicity as race fans love a good feud. But instead of letting the two drivers air their grievances in a public way, NASCAR put both drivers on probation.
Are you kidding me?
At the beginning of the season, NASCAR officials said they were going to ease up on restrictions of drivers showing a little emotion after a highly-charged incident on the race track. They basically looked the other way after Tony Stewart popped Kurt Busch after the two were involved in a crash in the season's first "official" practice session for the Budweiser Shootout, using the line,"What happened in the trailer stays in the trailer."
But for some reason NASCAR felt it was necessary to put Kyle Busch and Edwards on probation after the two were involved in some on-track altercations on the cool down lap at Bristol, which resulted in nothing more than a minor spinout by Busch.
Had this happened on pit road following the race, NASCAR would have been more than justified because crew members and officials on pit road would be at risk. But on the Bristol backstretch, it was nothing more than a show of emotion that created a little water cooler talk.
By having its two main drivers on probation for six weeks, NASCAR has told them not to do anything else out of line. If either one does, he runs the risk of stronger penalties, which could cost his team a shot at the championship.
If that were to happen, what would NASCAR do next? Put them on "double secret probation?" Where's Dean Wormer of Farber College and Animal House fame when you need him?
As John Belushi would say, "Seven years of college down the drain."
"I thought the penalties were kind of strong," Dale Earnhardt Jr. said. "It was exciting but I don't think they deserved to be put on probation."
Instead of penalizing these two drivers, NASCAR should have given them a bonus for all the publicity the series received last week, giving fans some raw meat to chew on at a crucial point of the season as "The Chase for the Championship" begins in two weeks.
Cautions for the caution light
Twice in Sunday night's Sprint Cup race, a caution period had to be called after a caution light fell to the ground and landed on the track. The first instance came early in the race. Luckily, no cars were around when it happened. After crews repaired the damaged light, a piece came flying off, narrowly missing Juan Pablo Montoya's Dodge.
When the track previously known as California Speedway opened in 1997, it was a palace owned and operated by Penske Speedways. But after International Speedway Corporation (ISC) took over in 2000, what is now called Auto Club Speedway is no longer the glistening jewel that it once was.
Earlier this year, the speedway built a "marquee" overlooking Interstate 10 as a way to attract more attention to its facility. A better idea would have been to make sure all the caution lights were properly attached. And while at it, clean up the toilets in the restrooms.
For a track that likes to bill itself as "NASCAR goes to Hollywood," this facility is beginning to look more like the back lot.
Quotes of the week
"I own the car." -- Michael Andretti on the starting grid of the Detroit Indy Grand Prix when an overzealous Detroit Police officer was attempting to clear the grid, even though the command to start engines was still 10 minutes away.
"We would actually call him The Old Man on our team because he does have twice the amount of starts that I do and I probably have twice the amount of starts that Clint [Bowyer] does. Like Dale [Jarrett] said, it is hard to have a roast on Jeff because he is such an even keeled type of person across the board in competition and everyday life. He has brought a lot to our race team." -- Kevin Harvick on Jeff Burton's 500th NASCAR Cup start.
"First of all, I am too stupid to get to 500 starts. That is a long time. I will be doing something else." -- Clint Bowyer on RCR teammate Jeff Burton's 500th start.
"I don't know what the extra five laps are for. What the heck? They don't get it, you know what I mean? They've messed up the Winston and the All-Star race and they're messing up the Shootout. They ought to line us up and make us run 10 laps. They want us to run around there for 25 laps first, like a 25-lap segment, that would be cool. But 10 laps to go, all or nothing. That's what the fans want. That's what the drivers want. That last segment being 50 laps, I mean, we're all just going to sit there for 30 [laps]. I just don't get it. They don't get it. I don't understand. I don't know what the focus group is they're talking to; to get these kind of formats. It's frustrating because I want to like those races. I don't want to dread them and right now I'm dreading running them because the formats aren't fun." -- Dale Earnhardt Jr. on the changes to the Budweiser Shootout.
"We're friends, man. I even joke around with guys with myself that Carl is 'BFF Carl.' We're best friends. I don't believe it's a rivalry. I believe that we can still be friends and stuff like that and have that relationship on the race track. I might text him later and we'll go and get some 'In-N-Out Burger'. Oh wait; he doesn't eat that stuff probably. I don't know, maybe salads." -- Kyle Busch on his rivalry with Carl Edwards.