Frustration and aggravation are two of the worst feelings that any person can ever have to endure.
We have all gone through it at one time or another, and the best remedy is to allow it to run its course, hoping that it will end sooner than later.
There are many ways that we allow frustration to enter into our daily lives, and of course, there are always those unforeseen circumstances that cannot be avoided.
And after the frustration sets in, that's when the aggravation takes over and makes matters worse.
Circumstances that, at the time started out on the right path, but as time wore on, just never materialized while falling way short of our expectations.
Dale Earnhardt Jr, is only six races away from finishing the worst season he has ever experienced, while driving in the Sprint Cup Series.
It was a season that has seen far more downs than ups, which all started during the season opening Daytona 500.
Earnhardt, who won the 500 back in 2004 while finishing out the season with six wins and fifth in the point standings, didn’t fare as well when he pitted outside his box to fall a lap down.
And then, to add insult to injury, with 76 laps left while trying to get his lap back, he and Brian Vickers got into each other taking out 10 cars in the process.
Kyle Busch, who was also included, heavily criticized the drivers for their overly aggressive driving behavior while being a lap down.
“The highs have been not very high and the lows have been terribly low. It's hard to want to get back up and try again the next week when you take such a beating. But I don't know what else to do."
Earnhardt also added, “I really don't want the year to be over with, because I like going to the race track every week and racing. But the last several...well, all year, it's been so...low.”
If this race alone was any indication of how the rest of the season would play out, you have to wonder if maybe the crew chief change that took place later on in the season could have been one of the deciding factors to a better season.
And on the flip side of that, Earnhardt cannot be held without blame when he is just as much to blame for the predicament that he is in.
After all, it was Earnhardt who had trouble with his pit stops, and he has no one to blame but himself because he is the one who ultimately drives the car with the biggest responsibility.
Earnhardt is in the middle of one his worse nightmares and must be thinking there is no end in sight.
So, how does one of the sport's most popular drivers deal with his own frustrations, especially when early on in his career his actions backed up any words that were ever spoken about him?
"I've been riding it out. There comes a point though when you don't want to ride it out anymore," he said. "You just have had enough, you know? It's been a long year,” said a very frustrated Earnhardt.
Earnhardt also took the initiative earlier in the season, when he lobbied to fans that he was to blame for the team's misfortunes. He was trying to take the blame off of his crew chief Tony Eury Jr.
But Earnhardt also knows that the final decision is going to come from upper management, but that should never stop him from voicing his opinion on whom he would feel comfortable with.
Especially when a decision with this type of magnitude needs to made without putting a friendship in the way, because the outcome will ultimately dictate how well a season can play out.
"I don't have the credentials to make the call. If I told you that I wanted to be with Lance next year, I wouldn't be telling you that out of my knowledge of expertise and talent. I'd be telling you because, well, it's fun hanging out with him."
As far as where the team is headed, and what needs to be done to make them a championship contender is anybody’s guess, including Earnhardt’s.
"I really don't know what the logical next step would be," he said, "because we seem to be getting better, but even getting better is not satisfying me at all."
Rick Hendrick has a lot of work to do in the offseason, and the decisions that the organization needs to make will be carefully thought out and Earnhardt knows that.
"There are a lot of smart people around here, I'm just waiting on somebody to make the call. Put the damn team together and say, 'this is what you've got, and this is what you're going to do next year.' I'm just kind of waiting on that to happen."
The optimism that was lost during the season seems to have found its way back even though there are still six races left.
Especially if this is Earnhardt’s way of telling Rick who he feels he needs in order to turn the team around, especially when Lance McGrew’s tenure is only interim.
“Whoever I work with needs to be a dictator. The most success I had was with Tony [Eury] Sr., and you know how he runs his ship."
Treat People The Way You Want To Be Treated There is an old adage that says: "Treat people the way you want to be treated." It is sound advice for all aspects of our lives. Throughout our entire lives we will come in contact with all sorts of people. And you never know how your actions will impact a person when you cross paths.
Jimmie Johnson is at it again. During the final practice sessions for Saturday night’s NASCAR Banking 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway, Johnson set a blistering pace that no other driver had an answer for.
During the first session, Johnson wasn’t just good, he was off the charts good. His early lap of 187.162 mph was almost 2 mph faster than the second best time of teammate Mark Martin. That kind of speed differential rarely happens and is something he didn’t even do when he won an unprecedented five of six Charlotte races from off 2002 to 2005.
Greg Biffle was one of the drivers who was trying to keep pace with Johnson during the session - and did a decent job with the third best speed, noted that Johnson was just too quick in and out of turns three and four.
During Happy Hour, Johnson was just as good with the fastest lap of 185.478 mph early in the session followed once again by Martin with the second quickest lap. In just about all fazes of practice, Johnson dominated the day including having the best 10-lap average.
The chassis Johnson brought this week was the same one he led 17 laps with in Atlanta six weeks ago before having rear-end problems and finishing 36th. In the primary practice using race trim, Johnson was also fastest then and not so coincidentally, Martin was the second fastest then too, but not by such a wide margin.
Johnson’s dominance didn’t extend to just Friday. He was fastest in limited practice Thursday night just before qualifying. where he won the pole too. In what may be the most dominant display of consistency by two teammates, Mark Martin finished second fastest in every session including sitting on the front row with Jimmie. This is only the second time all season that one driver has lead all three practice sessions, and definitely a first for a 1-2 exacta.
Drivers sometimes say things that need not be said. It happens to all of us. The problem for NASCAR's personalities is that their most stressful moments, and the words produced during those moments, are all over the airwaves for everyone with a scanner to hear.
The occasionally foul mouths have some people upset.
Think of the word "perception" while applying it to the world of NASCAR. It can change the way things are seen while we look at what is actually happening in the sport around us.
A good parallel to defining the word perception in NASCAR would be to look at the "arm chair quarterback" in football. This is probably one the most popular phrases used around the homes of the typical football fan.
For those of you who are not familiar with the phrase, basically it's a person who sits back in his chair while watching the game, and then begins yelling at the T.V. Why would a team call such a ridiculous play knowing that the opposing team had already pre-conceived it? The arm chair quarterback thinks he can do better.
But if you really sit back and watch one of these fans in action, they never do it if their team scores, or if they advance down the field without losing any yardage. In that sense, their hindsight is always 20-20.
Well believe it or not, NASCAR also has that same type of fan. But with this type of fan, they usually only perceive the things on the track that they feel is right in their own mind.
Most of them choose to paint this pretty picture of how they feel the drivers should act while out on the track during a typical race weekend.
Alas they forget, it’s not always a perfect world, the world beyond the fence that separates the fans from the drivers that are paid to perform their weekly duties race after race.
Because of this high tech society that we live in, it’s not hard to pull up a website on your laptop, Blackberry, PDA, or whatever else you choose, and see what’s happening in the world around us.
NASCAR as a sport has also made it easy for the fans to be able to listen in on what’s going on with their favorite drivers during a race.
And just how bad can this be? Well most of the fans perceive their favorite drivers as these sweet, polite, cordial, and friendly drivers once they get into their hot, uncomfortable, and noisy race cars for about three to four hours on a typical race day.
They sit up in the stands and put their headphones on thinking that they will hear some pretty cool stuff.
With most of them thinking that the crew chief and driver get along like some fairy tale marriage, maybe talking about how Aunt Betty is doing, or how Uncle John just celebrated his 75th birthday on Friday.
But instead, what they do get to hear is probably some of the worse language that you would only expect to hear at some sailor convention.
Scanners have done a really good job of putting the fans in the figurative passenger seat—without all the worries of hitting a wall or being cramped up for three plus hours.
It’s amazing when you think about all the valuable information that is broadcast through a box that almost fits comfortably in the palm of your hand.
Scanners give the everyday fan a chance to listen in on what the drivers, spotters, and crew chiefs talk about during a race. And at the same time, it takes away the guess work of trying to perceive what there next move will be.
Now is this really a good thing?
What a lot of the fans don’t realize is that once they put those headphones on, they enter into a conversation that should more than likely be private.
Drivers often get caught up in the moment and sometimes they need to let off some steam, even when they're not thinking straight.
The language that is used can be a far cry from the expected for those fans who were hoping to hear some type of race startegy talk.
These drivers have a lot on their minds while racing around at these high speeds. They make split-second decisions under the greatest of pressure.
Not only do they have to concentrate on what they are doing, but they need to know what the driver in front of them is thinking. When all doesn’t go as planned, that’s usually when the slang—and yes, sometimes cursing—pours out.
So in all reality, can we actually think that the driver is worried what the fans will hear while sitting back enjoying a race, sipping on their favorite beverage, or eating their favorite snack?
Instead that has to be the furthest thing from his mind. The language that is used, and the heated remarks that they make are the norm in the middle of the race.
It’s just too bad when the fans take what should be a private conversation, and blow it up into something most of us have said at one time or another when maybe our blood was beyond boiling temperature.
You know what it's like. You lose control for either a minute or two, say something crazy, then when you cool off you look back and think to yourself, “Why did I say that?”
So why should the drivers be any different? Why are they scrutinized for things that they say, when actually they are just as human as us, and play with the same feelings?
This week marks the last Saturday night race of the 2009 season. ABC will be airing regional coverage of College Football which may or may not delay the start of the race telecast; however, looking at the schedule, none of the games look to be that close.
This week's Trifecta comes to you from Charlotte, North Carolina, where it's currently raining. Qualifying is at 7pm ET tonight; there's a 60% chance of continued precip, so expect the field to be set by points. The Weather Channel says that the rain should clear out in time for Friday night's Nationwide race as well as Saturday night's Cup race.
Following Saturday night's Cup race, we'll be jetting off to sunny Sao Paolo, Brazil for the F1 Brazilian Grand Prix.
1,) The NASCAR Nationwide Series race from Charlotte, Friday 10/16; green flag drops at 8:16pm ET. NOTE: You may not pick the same driver for both the Nationwide and Cup races.
2.) The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race from Charlotte, Saturday 10/17; green flag drops at 7:41pm ET.
3.) The F1 Brazilian Grand Prix from Sao Paolo, Brazil, Sunday 10/18; green flag drops at 12:00pm ET
Or was the 'inaugural class' for the Hall of Fame ridiculously predictable?
I must confess to be disappointed, but not surprised, that both Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt made it in since neither were around when the sport first kicked off...maybe that is just me, but there was plenty of time for those two to have made it in as it's highly unlikely that last night will be the last time people were added in *shrugs*
Maybe some voters forgot (or didn't know *laugh*) that the sport actually began before the 1970's?
After four Chase races, three-time defending Champion Jimmie Johnson has taken over the NASCAR’s Chase for the Championship lead. His win at California on Sunday was his second of the Chase in the last three races, his all-time track leading fourth overall, and fifth overall of the season.
It’s a remarkable feat that Mark Martin was able hold on for as long as he has. Hanging with Johnson is a tough feat to do. Through the four races, even with a 10-point lead and finishes of first, second, seventh, and fourth, Martin’s excellence isn’t good enough.
Carl Edwards is one driver who can relate with Martin about the dominant wrath of Johnson when it becomes crunch time in NASCAR. Last season in the 10 race Chase, Edwards had eight finishes within the top-4 that included three wins, but it still wasn’t good enough to keep up with the machine that Johnson is.
It’s beginning to sound like the same old song and dance, except this time around it came with a different twist. Southern California which is known for its hot, humid, and smoggy summer days that can easily peak out at over 100 degrees.
But instead, gone was the sweltering heat that plagued the last two fall races, and in its place was a cool, damp, and overcast balmy day of racing.
Now with the weather being the biggest twist, the results were still the same as Hendrick Motorsports driver Jimmie Johnson, once again showed the NASCAR world why he is the man to beat for the championship.
Along with his 16th chase victory and 45th overall, Johnson also took over the points lead from his teammate Mark Martin who dropped to second after a fourth place finish.
“I mean, we love where we're at. We love the fact that we're in the points lead.”
Johnson led the most laps with 126 while winning his third consecutive fall race, and at the same time also becoming the only driver to win four races at this two mile oval surpassing teammate Jeff Gordon, and Matt Kenseth who have three victories of their own.
“The last three years have been really special. Right now we're in a great position, but it's way too early to start thinking about other things.”
It wasn’t so much the amount of laps that he led this time around, but it was the fact that he just flat outran the rest of his the rest of the field once the sun began to shine on him.
“I think the track came to us some when the sun came out. Our car, really, I know Chad was making adjustments, but usually the sun comes out, and the car wants to slow down and not handle as well. With the adjustments we were making the car kept getting better and better.”
Johnson is once again making it hard for any team to gain points, especially now that he has those two wins under his belt and the next few races are at tracks that he runs really well at.
“I think it really boils down to the fact that the tracks in the Chase are my strongest tracks. If you look at Martinsville, you look at all of them. Lowe's Motor Speedway, this track, you go through them and they are tracks that we win at.”
Montoya, on the other hand who is new to the chase, is getting a dose of what the other drivers have felt who have participated in the chase in years past.
Frustration is probably an understatement for Montoya who has four top five finishes, and still hasn’t realized that for every point he loses to Johnson, that is one extra hat he gains.
“It's incredible. We have four or five in a row and I've been losing points to the leader.” Montoya is not the only driver that is feeling the intensity level that Johnson and company have brought into the chase.
Jeff Gordon who has four championships of his own, as well as owning part of Johnson’s team is once again feeling the pressure of reaching that elusive fifth championship that got away from him in 2007.
Gordon who had a 430 point lead over Johnson the week before the chase was to begin, only to see it wiped away once the chase started while at the same time putting his protégé in the top spot.
Gordon would not go down without a fight, and he picked up back to back wins at Talladega and Texas that put him right back in the lead.
But once again it was Johnson who would not be denied his second championship, when he put together a very impressive string of four wins-in-a-row to eventually win the championship.
Gordon, who knows first hand all the hard work and dedication it takes to win the big one, had nothing but praise for his HMS teammate.
“Yeah, they have something magical about the final ten races. You know, these ten tracks really suit them. They do an incredible job. What else can you say?"
Gordon added that, “They're the best out there. They've won the last three championships. They're going to be hard to beat for this one. Really, unless they make a mistake, I don't see how they lose it,”
The team to beat and the best out there are a few simple words that have become common place, whenever a discussion comes up about the No. 48 team.
Just how far they will go is nowhere found in their vocabulary, but instead the words when, and how soon better fit the position that they have put themselves in.
Four races into the chase, and it’s almost time for the other teams to worry more about who will finish second, because if they keep this up it will be over a lot sooner than later.
“If we are in the hunt come Homestead, come Phoenix, it's going to be the thoughts, the emotions, all of that is going to be so heavy on all of our shoulders that it's going to be a tough grind.”
For those of us who are parents, and even for those who aren’t, try and take a minute and ponder this question: “How far would you go to protect your kid, child, or teenager?”
Now I’m sure the first thing that comes to mind is the old cliché, “I would kill if anyone tried to hurt them.”
Now most of know that we wouldn’t actually go to that extreme, but it would be close enough to stand in the gap, and do anything it took to make sure their safety wasn’t compromised.
Whenever someone makes a threat to harm our children, the first thing that comes to mind is to protect them from any harm that may be coming their way, especially when it involves a 3,500 pound car racing at speeds beyond what is legal except only on a track.
When you factor in not only the weight and speed of these cars, but also the tremendous amount of forward momentum that they carry makes them way beyond the 3,500 pounds that they tip the scales at during inspection.
Now just because these are the some of the safest race cars around, does that give a driver the right to take it upon himself to seek retaliation for an incident that should have been forgotten?
How many more times will we have to witness a driver going beyond his driving duties, and instead taking on the mindset that he is racing in some Saturday night demolition derby?
Tom Logano, the father of Joey Logano who took over driving duties for Tony Stewart in the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20, Home Depot Toyota sponsored race car to begin the 2009 season was credentialed with a paper pass for Sunday’s race.
Logano had his hard card pulled by a NASCAR official, after he had a verbal confrontation along with an an improper hand gesture to Roush Fenway driver Greg Biffle, on pit row after the Copart 300 on Saturday.
The whole incident started on lap 50 when Nationwide and Sprint cup driver Greg Biffle made a reference over his radio that he was going to put the younger Logano into the fence.
It was then that Biffle, who tried passing Logano on the inside, slid up the track into his front fender with the damage to Logano’s car very minimal.
Saturday’s incident can easily be looked at as retaliation from what happened last week at Kansas, when it was Logano who ran into Biffle, with Biffle blaming him for his fifth place finish.
"They've got short memories, you know? They don't remember last week [at Kansas] when they smashed my left front fender in. See? It's all about their selves—and it's not always about you.”
Biffle who was still upset about what happened added this, "He was lucky that he had time to fix it. I got mine smashed in on the last run of the day. I didn't have time to fix mine. I fell back and finished wherever I did."
Now even though NASCAR is looking into what Biffle said on the radio just moments before he ran into Logano, because after all it is considered a threat, and a serious one at that because of the fact that another driver could have gotten seriously hurt or even killed?
Dave Rogers, Logano’s crew chief in the Nationwide series, was not very happy with the danger that his young driver was put under.
“It’s just terrible that you transport two cars (the Nos. 18 and 20) all the way across the country to come out and have a good, clean race, and a driver brags on his radio that the 20 car better have casters, because I’m going to fence him — and then pulls up and fences us."
"I’m sure NASCAR will review the tape and the audio. During the race I went down and talked to a NASCAR official, and I said, ‘This isn’t right. He’s bragging about it.’ And then he does it. And at that point the message is conveyed. … It’s a shame that people race like that, but it is what it is.”
I asked the question to a few fans at Auto Club Speedway this past weekend if Tom Logano had the right to defend his son, but more importantly did NASCAR overreact by pulling his hard card?
And of course we all know what the answer was to that, and it was that Logano had ever right to protect his son and NASCAR should have never pulled his card.
Now taking a more diplomatic approach, and looking at the situation as a whole. NASCAR had every right to pull his card and I’m sure the reasons were very valid ones, especially when most of the answers I got from the fans were taken on the spur of the moment.
NASCAR as an organization is here to provide us the fans a form of entertainment, and one of their main goals is to make sure that not only us the fans are protected, but the drivers, teams, and anyone else who is involved in the sport as well.
When Logano went after a driver in a state of rage, and he is not officially affiliated with the team other than his son who drivers for them, NASCAR had every right to protect their driver because of the fact that no one knew what Logano is capable of.
And furthermore since NASCAR does police what goes on in and around the track, Logano should have respected their authority and let them handle it the same way that every owner, and team have been doing since coming into the series.
One of the problems here is that the teams already know the guidelines, and they know the consequences if they are not followed.
Whether Logano knew the rules or not, the profession that his son chose to make his living at is a very dangerous one. And it’s also one that carries a very high energy level, as well as the competition that has to be very intense.
All Logano did was react in a way that I’m sure most of us would have, especially when you look at how dangerous the sport already is and another driver was using a heavy piece of metal to make a statement and your son happens to be involved.
And when look back a couple of weeks ago to Dover, the younger Logano had one the worse wrecks of his career that could have easily carried over into this week as far as his fathers emotions are concerned.
But the bottom line is what steps NASCAR will take if in fact those tapes do describe in an accurate way the accounts that led up to Biffle putting Logano into the fence.
Now is the time for NASCAR to step in and hand down a harsh penalty, which will send a message that this type of driving behavior will not be tolerated in the future.
A penalty of that magnitude could possibly save another family the grief of having to bury their loved one because of a move that could have been avoided.
NASCAR has already lost enough drivers because of the unforeseen; it would be a sad day if we were to lose another one because a fellow driver decide's to take matters into his hands while using a 3,500 pound race car to get his message across.
Not only is this type of practice unprofessional, but the consequences could be a lot worse than what NASCAR could hand down.
A driver could go to prison if in fact a court finds that he purposely wrecked another driver that resulted in his death. This is the reality of it, and it hopefully it will never get that point.
NASCAR spokesperson Ramsey Poston said the sanctioning body is looking into Biffle's radio transmissions, and also reviewing the video.