NASCAR & Auto Racing

Common courtesy isn't necessarily customary

Notes and observations on NASCAR, motorsports and other topics from the Observer's beat writer:

OBSERVATIONS

Courtesy isn't just for golfers

A lot of screwy things happened on pit road Sunday at Kansas.

Positions gained and lost on pit road are so important these days. If a driver makes a mistake that blocks another car in, the problem can cascade when people try to get back ground they might have lost.

I don't know that anything could be done from a rulebook perspective, but NASCAR should at least have a chat with the teams at this week's drivers' meeting about how pit road courtesy can go a long way.

Move was wreckless, not reckless

I've run across a couple of people this week who said the move Carl Edwards tried on the last lap at Kansas was reckless because he could have taken out Jimmie Johnson or somebody else.

Well, for one, Edwards didn't take anybody out. I just think it was such a manifestation of Edwards' desire to win that everyone is predisposed to give him a pass.

MY TWO CENTS

So I get to Kansas City last week and as I am driving from the airport to the hotel I tune into the local sports-talk station.

The regular hosts are talking with two guys who do some NASCAR stuff for the station. The regular guys are asking all kinds of questions about the Chase. One of their central points was that they couldn't understand why the 12 drivers eligible for the Chase weren't the only ones allowed to compete in playoff races.

Their point, as silly as it was, is that in other sports only the playoff teams participate in playoff events. You hear that every so often and it just is completely dunderheaded.

In other sports, there might be 16 teams in the playoffs. But there's never more than two of them playing at any one time. Match-ups make a huge difference. Weather at various game sites can favor one team over another. In baseball, a team with two good pitchers can be deadly in a short series over a team with a deeper staff.

Each sport has its own specific characteristics, and each sport's post-season has good sides and bad sides. Well, except for major college football, which has only bad sides.

NASCAR can't race with 12 cars on the track; anybody with half a brain understands that.

If a non-Chase driver has a wreck that takes out a Chase driver in one of the playoff races, that's just the way it is.

If the guy on the Kansas City sports-talk radio show had fallen out of love with his own voice long enough to give out the station's phone number, I might actually have called him to point out another factor. If every sport took teams off the field of play as soon as they were eliminated from any possibility of winning a championship, how many straight years would the Kansas City Royals have been done by May 15?

BY THE NUMBERS

23.7 - Average finish for Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Talladega in the past seven races.

28 - Number of drivers who could be in Sunday's race with a better average finish in those past seven Talladega races.

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