NASCAR is back and the Daytona 500 is finally here! Finally the biggest race of the year is upon and NASCAR fans can rejoice....well, sort of...
The obvious rant: Qualifying.
The group qualifying comment is terrible. In both Sprint and Xfinity series qualifying there were crashes that destroyed really good cars, and for what? To make it more exciting? As much as fans want to see aggressive racing and guys going all out, we'd rather see it in a race with cars and drivers at their full capability instead of angry drivers making the best out of their back up cars.
Next rant: Kurt Busch...
This is going to be a touchy one but I'll try and tackle it. First of all, Kurt has not been charged criminally with anything. He has been issued a restraining order because some low level family court judge say he thinks he "more likely than not" did something to his ex-girlfriend. This is not a criminal charge nor is it damning evidence that he did anything. It is an order based solely on one man's opinion. With all that in mind, how does NASCAR get off suspending him? He is being punished for "actions or behaviors detrimental to stock car racing," but they are actions that no one has proved or charged him with committing. And now in less than a day NASCAR has heard his appeal and denied it immediately? Seriously NASCAR? Appeals in NASCAR have always taken a minimum of 3 days to complete and you pulled this one off in less than 24 hours? If you're not suspicious of this entire story then you should be. If NASCAR truly believed he had committed these actions then they should've suspended him in November when it happened. Keep this in mind also, he has not been charged or formally accused. He has not been arrested and the matter is still under investigation. Under those exact same circumstances, Tony Stewart was allowed to return to racing and was even granted a waiver to be in The Chase if he won a race. If that's not biased then I don't know what is.
Final rant: Kyle Busch...
It's a bad day to be a Busch brother. At the end of the Xfinity Series race Kyle made contact with Eric Jones and his car went flying head on into the infield wall. According to ESPN Kyle suffered a compound fracture in his right leg and could be out for 4-6 months. I know, crashing is part or NASCAR and injuries are possible, but this is unacceptable. Since 2001, NASCAR has made great safety improvements and they've made sure that all the tracks they go to have also made safety a priority. How was this missed?!?! In 14 years no one ever thought "hey, we should cover that giant concrete wall down there with a Safer Barrier?" I realize that it is not NASCAR's call as to where a track places these barriers but they do hold some of the power. Kevin Harvick says NASCAR should refuse to race anywhere that doesn't have every wall covered with Safer Barriers. I'd have to agree. If NASCAR made an announcement like that what do you think would happen? Every track would immediately begin implementing the soft walls. Shame on Daytona International Speedway for this oversight too. They vowed to make the track safer. Ever since the death of Dale Earnhardt Sr. Daytona has been at the forefront of track safety. This shouldn't have ever happened. Kyle should be racing tomorrow. Joe Gibbs shouldn't be looking for a replacement driver (Rumors are it could be Matt Crafton.) Daytona International Speedway President Joie Chitwood has already said that the track will have Safer Barriers everywhere for the next race and track crews began work immediately lining the concrete wall with tire barriers for the race tomorrow. So it's a step in the right direction, but can we please stop waiting for something bad to happen to react to? There should be a job position in which someone thinks up every possible worst case scenario possible and finds a solution, and if someone already holds that position, he ought to be fired.
So that's it for now. I'll be back tomorrow after the race if need be. For now, head on over to NASCAR.com and check out the 2016 Hall of Fame nominees. It's a great class, which leads to one final point.
Possible future rant: Mark Martin not placed in 2016 Hall of Fame Class. (Note: I will go crazy if that happens.)
Good night NASCAR fans. Here's hoping the 500 is everything we hoped for.