Storm Clouds On a Sunday

Posted by Iannucci | 10/09/2006 | 2 comments »
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Now that the IndyCar season is over, I have all kinds of time on Sunday afternoons to do yard work. You should see how nice my lawn looks, especially since the frost will probably kill it all off next month. (Yes, it will get to freezing overnight in Phoenix – but it’s a dry cold.) However, yesterday I didn’t get do much more than mow the front yard.

As luck would have it, some ominous, lightening-spewing clouds rolled out shortly after I commenced my yard work. Instead of possible electrocution, I opted to go inside and experience the less-painful option of watching the conclusion of the NASCAR race at Talladega, which had an official sponsor that no one bothered to mention. NASCAR is all about sponsor names, but if the race is at either restrictor-plate haven of Daytona or Talladega then it’s sponsor be damned.

If you don’t know how the race finished, then just wait for the DVD of Pixar’s “Cars”. It’s very much the same ending, but with the addition of beer bottles being thrown on the track.

So why am I talking about NASCAR? Because other than the absurdly silly finish on Sunday, the big news in stock car racing was the performance of two open-wheel drivers.

Juan Pablo Montoya has the distinction of having the perfect IndyCar record (one race, one win at Indy), but he has spent the last few years scuffling around Formula One because he isn’t Michael Schumacher. This weekend Montoya drove in his debut ARCA race, which is his way of warming up to running in NASCAR next season for Target Chip Ganassi Racing. Montoya is a quick learner and he showed he is still a pretty talented driver by finishing third in his debut.

As a side note, I have nothing against the Columbian-born Montoya or Target but wouldn’t it make sense to get this guy sponsored by a coffee-related company? It just makes too much sense.

Anyhow, while much of the focus on up-and-coming drivers was on Montoya, many missed the performance by Champ Car’s AJ Allmendinger. Allmendinger finished fifth this weekend in just his second Craftsman Truck series race, which is considered a higher level than ARCA. AJ’s top 5 may start scaring the you-know-what out of the CCWS folks since he is the only American in the series, and at second in the series championship standings he’s fine one at that. If he can fit a few more finishes like this in the final weeks of the Craftsman season, then it can be expected that he would skip Champ Car altogether next year.

Don’t get me wrong - I’m not happy about this migration to the Bumping Behemoths, because I’d rather see these guys stay in open-wheel racing. I would definitelyly prefer to see a quality American driver like Allmendinger in the IndyCar series. But as the level of competition rises for jobs in NASCAR, my hope as a fan is that IndyCar regulars like Uncle Sam will think twice before venturing into the ever-crowded pond of stock car competition.

Cue the storm cloud analogy.

2 comments

  1. pressdog // October 10, 2006 6:51 AM  

    Braving lightning or watching NASCAR -- that's a coin toss.

  2. Jahuti Rhys // October 10, 2006 9:39 AM  

    BTW: Since Sarah Fisher is being buddy-buddy with Kat Legge, and she is indeed Amurrican, let's see if she shows up at Surfer's Paradise...
    The off-season can be interesting.