Monday, September 19, 2016
Chicago And More NASCAR Questions
After dominating the final third of the Chicago 400 and leading 75 laps in total, Chase Elliott found another way to blow the win, raising further question about whether he is in fact able to figure out how to win. Such a question bedeviled Kyle Larson before he broke through at the Yankee 400 at Michigan, though, so writing off Chase Elliott is premature to an extreme.
It was also a bizarre weekend for NASCAR. NASCAR's new laser inspection process has seen multiple teams fail postrace - including Truex as well as Kyle Busch after the Chicago Truck 250 - and NASCAR's Steve O'Donnell addressed it to Sirius Radio's NASCAR channel. That the process is seeing so many failures brings the inevitable question - is the concept behind the process the real problem as opposed to the teams?
Brian France also addressed media during the Chicagoland weekend as NASCAR's top touring series is in need of a new title sponsor for 2017, with a name - Coca-Cola - finally emerging from Rumor Control Central, and with Brian France again saying (in a Tom Jensen interview) another manufacturer is wanted for NASCAR; Jensen speculates Hyundai, Volkswagen, and Nissan are the targets for France. Dodge of course is not coming back, stating in essence NASCAR is no longer worth their while - a bad sign for France.
Adding to that angle was a Twitter posting from Brad Keselowski - "We have to cut costs in this sport for sustainability." That's been true for decades, but it was offered in seeming defense of NASCAR's laser inspection process, which is doing nothing to costs. It remains that teams and NASCAR need to get together to work out a true spending cap, as spending is what keeps driving up costs. Yet as Richard Petty has asked, "Who's running NASCAR?"
As for the racing, the Trucks once again had the most competitive racing while the Xfinity 300 turned out to be surprising with some excellent dicing for the lead in the first half. The Cup 400 had the shocker of a finish, but it all shows anew the need for more passing - and far more incentive to go for the lead.