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est. October 4, 2006

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Cheers and Jeers

Winner Winner, Turtle Dinner!
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By Carol Einarsson | 09/20/2016
Category: Cheers and Jeers
 




CHEERS to the intro song for Tony, most appropriate. Having not been paying 100% attention to the order and who they were up to, as soon as I heard "Bad to the Bone" start to play, I knew it was Tony. I don't know if that's a good thing, but it was certainly the most appropriate pick of the day.

JEERS to boos from the crowd for the whole front row. I don't know how NASCAR can fix this (or if  they should even try, given their propensity for over-working the dough and interfering in every last detail of what was once an organic sport), but when your top two drivers are hated by the fans -- the very fans that carry your sport -- how do you continue to thrive? I tried to make the case against myself that the people booing Kyle Busch were Brad Keselowski fans, and those booing Brad must be Kyle Busch fans, but if that were the case, we'd at least have heard a modicum of applause for each driver. Yet, we didn't. You just can't expect to carry on with business as usual if the fans hate your "stars".

CHEERS to Michael McDowell for a great invocation! I was starting to wonder if he'd get a turn at that this season, so it was nice to see. No sponsors, just praying to Jesus. Did Coach Gibbs get his turn yet?

JEERS to Jim Cornelison, reported to be the "legendary voice of the Chicago Blackhawks," because I'm reminded that "legendary" doesn't necessarily mean good. That was a wretched performance. I wish they'd just handed the microphone to Taylor Hamlin instead.

CHEERS to Bill Elliott who seemed to be lost, so he just stood next to the first blue and white Hendrick firesuit he saw. Hey, Bill?  That's Jimmie, not Chase.

JEERS to Greg Cipes for a messy and ridiculous command to start. You are not the show, sir. Racing is the show. Get over yourself and your B-list celebrity fame.

JEERS to KFC and their wardrobe of Colonels. Crispy Colonel is getting worse, and now there's a new one, but running in concurrent ads, Football Colonel. I didn't think it could get worse. I was wrong.

CHEERS to drivers in the sport who were kids at a time of common video cameras. Kyle Larson was just precious!

CHEERS to the dramatic read from the booth: "Kyle Busch -- He's led ALL ELEVEN LAPS!!" Wow. That might have been worth the level of drama if he'd led all 213 laps, or even just 100. But eleven? Yeah, maybe overdone just a tad.

JEERS to a wayward wheel bounced off the wall in the 43 box. I wonder if bacon grease made his grip slippery and that's the reason for the mishap.

CHEERS to the well-placed banner across the spotter's stand: Helping Drivers Worry Less. That's a great description for the spotters! It made me think, though, who is this Liberty Mutual Insurance that we've only recently been hearing about? Seem to you they're spending a boat load of money in NASCAR lately? Maybe 2017 will see the Liberty Mutual Cup Series?

JEERS to a convoluted, rediculous, over-thought, nonsensical explanation about Harvick's lost lap. I don't know what is wrong with Steve Letarte, but every time he attempts to explain something, he falls on his face. Way too many words, way too many irrelevent details, and way too much explaining for something simple. Harvick lost a lap because the leader crossed the line out on the track before the 4 car crossed the same line in the pits. The inclusion of Jimmie Johson in his explanation was entirely unnecessary and only served to muddle it all up to the point that even I had no idea what he was even talking about, and was confused about whatever new rule had seemingly been implemented. No, just Steve Letarte trying to explain something again.

JEERS to Goodyear and that tire off the 78 car! That didn't look anything like Truex "hit something." And especially in the absence of anyone else with any damage, and no sign of anything on the track that could have caused it, we're left wondering why we can't just say a tire came apart. People fail. Machines fail. Goodyear fails.

JEERS to the "battle for the free pass" going on between Truex and Harvick. We're glad the network is showing us more than just the top five, but racers battling side by side while a lap down to see which one of them will be gifted something neither one of them deserves is not really what racing at the top level should be. And did Harvick just run into the 78 for no reason? What the heck? Memory lapse and he thought it was still Kurt Busch in that car?

JEERS to character such that you can have a car IN THE CHASE and still not have sponsors calling and wanting to be on the hood of your car. You'd think with Tony and Harvick both in The Chase, they could at least work out a BOGO for Kurt Busch.

JEERS to a 12.5 pit for Truex. His last one was 11.9. I think we found Harvick's old crew.

CHEERS to the hub cone which looks a little like a Batmobile gadget, but again JEERS to Steve Letarte's explanation. I listened to it twice and had no idea what he was talking about! He said this cone makes it so the tire guy doesn't have to move the tire left or right, just line up the lugs. How do you line up the lugs without moving it left and right? I'm sure he's a smart man, but his ability to explain just about anything is lacking. As an aside, thanks, Dave, for the visual explanation.

JEERS to 117 laps into the first Chase race, and already talking about the elimination spots. Really?

CHEERS to 48/24 in first and second. Remember when those two numbers used to always be referred to in the reverse order? I wonder if NASCAR will survive long enough to see Chase Elliott get to be the elder on the team, bringing up a new driver in the 48.

CHEERS to JJ's quest for 7, but it's bittersweet because it would have been so nice to have hero cards with all three 7s. Maybe for that reason alone, I hope he doesn't make it. I hope nobody ever makes it. And we'll always have those images of The Intimidator and The King together. And now that I say that, I think Jimmie needs a "The ________" nickname.

JEERS to a spinning 44. I bet he'd have better luck if he were powered by bacon.

CHEERS to the irony of that caution, though, with Brian Scott's spin and caution saving who from being lapped? Yes, Tony Stewart. We'd prefer, though, to think of it as having benefitted Martin Truex with a lap back.

CHEERS to the 48/24 still in first and second... hmmm... and where was Awesome Bill standing before the race? Maybe he was brokering some kinda deal?

CHEERS to Chase Elliott, too. So you're 20 years old, your dad is Bill Elliott, you're in Jeff Gordon's old car, and you're door-to-door with teammate Jimmie Johnson. Let that sink in.

CHEERS to Regan Smith for spending his Sunday in the best way. Sure, racing's fun, but it doesn't come close to the REAL joy in life -- being at the side of your wife, and together welcoming a new daughter. NASCAR's not even on the radar in comparison!

CHEERS to Jimmie Johnson leading 103 laps, but still not sounding as impressive as leading ALL ELEVEN LAPS!!

JEERS to how rusty the catchfence posts are. I wonder how much that budget cut saved.

CHEERS to Junior's name still on the race car.

JEERS to making a big deal that only three drivers made The Chase in their rookie year. To be fair, how many drivers had great rookie years and were in the top 16 of points with 10 races to go before The Chase ever even existed? THAT is the stat to compare!

Jeff Gordon rookie year, finished 14th
Jimmie Johnson rookie year, finished 5th
Dale Earnhardt Jr rookie year, finished 16th
Jamie McMurray rookie year, finished 13th
Tony Stewart rookie year, finished 4th
Matt Kenseth rookie year, finished 14th

And these are just the drivers who first popped into my head, so I ran a quick check. The point is, it's not that rare for a rookie to be in the top 16 in points. Not with ten to go, and not even at the end of the year.

JEERS to the 48 car being "evil to drive"! He was leading all those laps with an evil car? I'm throwing this out there again... I said years ago, the dynasty would fall if Chad Knaus got married. I believe we're living that out right now.

JEERS to more frustration from the broadcast booth. It's especially disheartening because, one by one, I like all of these guys. But when I hear something from the booth, "NASCAR's gonna add a lap..." it just makes me shake my head. Imagine you're a new race fan, and you hear that. They're what?? They're gonna add a lap to the race? They can DO that in the middle like this?? What the hell?? Even me, having watched this sport for the better part of three decades, paused and wondered what he was talking about. Oh.. They're going to keep the pace car out an extra lap. Why can't we say it that way? Why can't we say they're running one more lap under caution? Is there hope for broadcasting once the current greats retire? I know this isn't unique to NASCAR, because I also wonder what on earth will the LA Dodgers do when Vin Scully isn't there next year?  Maybe the commissioner can just add a random inning now and again.

JEERS to the turtle stuff on the outside walls. It looks like graffiti. And I hate the word graffiti because I always have to type it three times before that pesky red spell-check line goes away.

CHEERS to Chase Elliott passing Jimmie on the restart! I'm not sure there's ever really been a time that the words "up and coming" applied to this young driver. He wasn't here and then he was. He just arrived one day and was great.

JEERS to Kurt Busch running his teammate down the track. So Kevin Harvick will run into Truex for no reason, but he won't punt the 41 when he has cause?

JEERS to a car on the track 14 laps down when there's not been a wreck. You're just that slow. Maybe NASCAR should lift the ban on the "not giving it your all" rule once we get to The Chase. Joey Gase is 14 laps down, Reed Sorenson is 10 laps down, and Josh Wise is 8 laps down. Maybe in addition to minimum speed, at a mile and a half track or larger, in the absence of a wrecked car, once you're six laps down, you're out.


Look at the guy on the far left, holding the air hose


JEERS to a 48 crewman operating with the pit crew but not being behind the wall. Technically, he wasn't OVER the wall either. How is this even legal? And he doesn't have a helmet, and is outside of the protective area. Hello, NASCAR??

CHEERS to the top three as they run right now, Ryan Blaney, Alex Bowman, and Chase Elliott.

CHEERS to NBC for their running order scroll along the top -- first to 40th every time, and even with a handful of laps to go, STILL showing the whole field!!  Bravo!!! Not every fan's favorite driver is in the top 10 or 15.

JEERS to the 42 in the pits, seven laps to go, bad right front tire. Thanks, Goodyear.

JEERS to another blown right front, this on #95. And for that tire failure, Goodyear just robbed the 24 of his commanding lead, and possibly cost him the race.

JEERS to slow stops for Truex all day, but at least his 12.2 just now was better than Chase Elliott's 12.7 or Denny's 13!

CHEERS to Martin Truex for the win!  Imagine how his day may have gone if he didn't come in when he felt that tire. If it had blown and he'd hit the wall or lost a fender -- no win for you!

CHEERS to fantastic donuts (on new tires, even!), and then running over to grab your flag as your car rolls off without you.

JEERS again to Marty Snider. I don't know if he's been watching old Bill Weber videos on line, but lately he seems to have just taken a turn toward the ugly. Interviewing Chase Elliott, the words he said, "You guys did lose a spot on that final pit stop..." but all I heard was, "Blah, blah, blah, crew under the bus?" And 20 year old Chase was NOT taking that bait. "Our guys did a good job all day. They were solid."

And finally,

CHEERS to Sherry at the track for the win! And CHEERS to the emotions from them both. Interviewing Martin about his win, he's all smiles, just a ball of excitement and joy, but ask what it means to him and Sherry, and he melts. And she melts. Again we see a man who has his priorities in order. Racing is fun, but it's not the be-all and end-all. It's just something to fill the moments between what really matters in life.

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Comments:
stacey963
09/19/2016 6:00 pm (1)
Yes! Finally you have said what I've thought all along about Steve Letarte. Not only does his voice keep going higher and higher, and he keeps talking faster, he just talks too long. When I see he's not completing a thought in 3 seconds, I'm punching the fast forward button 30 seconds ahead. He's one of the reasons I rarely watch a race completely live anymore. I sure miss the announcers of old.

Jimmie "the nice guy"? "The boring guy?" Just doesn't have the same ring to it.

Congrats to the 78 team for the win. Would be nice to have a likable guy win the chase again. As you said, it doesn't bode well for the sport when the top guys are hated.
a different Bill
09/19/2016 10:51 pm (2)
JEERS to boos from the crowd for the whole front row. I don't know how NASCAR can fix this (or if  they should even try, given their propensity for over-working the dough and interfering in every last detail of what was once an organic sport), but when your top two drivers are hated by the fans -- the very fans that carry your sport -- how do you continue to thrive?

The 1980's are calling, wondering if you remember a couple of cats named Dale Earnhardt and Darrel Waltrip who combined for six of the decades Championships.
Bill B
09/20/2016 6:29 am (3)
As always, great review Carol. Thanks as I only watched about a tenth of the race live.

You are right. Overall I like Steve Letarte but I don't like him as an announcer and I find his voice grating and he is needlessly overly verbose in his explanations. He's like the Rube Goldberg of announcers.

In my opinion Johnson's 7 championships will never be equal to the 7 (season long) championships that Earnhardt and Petty won. A chase championship is often based on being handed a ton of points you didn't earn on the track.

And while I like Truex overall, and am glad Sherry overcame her illness, I have reached the point where I am tired of hearing about it every time he wins.
grumpyone
09/20/2016 6:49 am (4)
CHEERS for a good column Carol. CHEERS to Alex Bowman for a top 10 finish in good equipment. Does this tell you anything about the kids talent with good equipment under him. It also speaks volumes about the equipment of the backmarkers doesn't it. JEERS to NASCAR for allowing Truex to keep his win and hitting the 48 with multiple penalties for not passing post race inspection. Come on NASCAR, a little out of spec is OK??? JEERS to the complete circus that NASCAR has become and finally JEERS to the pretend one race championship, the chase. What is the purpose of the other 35?
BNP
09/20/2016 8:01 am (5)
CHEERS to Bill B's " He's like the Rube Goldberg of announcers." Perfect, I am stealing that.

JEERS to me since I only watched the first 20 laps and saw it was going to be the usual Chicago race. Meaning not much racing shown.

CHEERS to Carol for a column that substitutes for the race.

sealevel
09/20/2016 8:55 am (6)
CHEERS to you Carol for an excellent writeup.
JEERS - kick that dude back to his hockey arena, best hack of our anthem to date.
JEERS - the laser inspection post race and the
nascar circus on their selective penalty assignments, just another example of how ignorant they are.
JEERS - nice job goodyear
joni20
09/20/2016 10:37 am (7)
Liberty Mutual has been around since 1912, and in 2013 was # 76 on the Fortune 100 list based on revenue. CHEERS to any possible sponsorship by them.
Agree with Bill B I like Truex well enough and I'm thrilled that Sherry is doing well but maybe just maybe Martin & Sherry would like one interview without mention of her illness.
nlucas
09/20/2016 11:09 am (8)
JEERS - To the all of the NBC announcers who must be getting paid by the word. Sometimes they should just shut up.
possum
09/20/2016 7:16 pm (9)
@Carol: when there's a gap in the wall (to let cars go to the garage area) there's a stripe painted across which represents the "wall". As long as a guy is behind the stripe he counts as being behind the wall. Since we do occasionally see guys get hit by cars going to the garage, it probably would make sense for NASCAR to forbid people standing in the openings, crew or otherwise.

@grumpyone: I was thinking the same thing - now Bowman-Gray is getting used to the car, he's running near as well as Elliott and Blaney. Can't help but wonder if it won't be his name on the door next year.

(also, yeah, that's the rule now - a little out of spec is OK. Or to use NASCAR's words, a little out of spec is "not encumbered").

John
aharste
09/22/2016 9:17 am (10)
I guess I'm just not a Ninja Turtles fan, but JEERS to one of the ugliest tacky trophies I've seen in a long time.

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