Is NASCAR Being Trained Like a Puppy?

Is NASCAR Being Trained Like a Puppy?

Monday, 20 March 2017
Dennis Michelsen

Is NASCAR Being Trained Like a Puppy?

Couch Potato Corner- Phoenix Raceway

This week I actually feel sorry for NASCAR. Over the weekend at Phoenix Raceway they put on two fairly interesting races and wake up this morning to zero attention in the sports world. Most of the press is going to the crazy NCAA Basketball Tournament with the scraps of attention for the racing world going to the Gator Nationals of the NHRA drag racing world. Last week the racing was not good at all but NASCAR made the headlines because of the fight. Is NASCAR being trained like a puppy?

Cup Race Grade: B

There is still too much of an advantage for the lead car in the clean air but at least we saw some exciting racing farther up front in the pack. The leaders seemed to shoot themselves in the foot with penalties which mixed up the running order a bit. We still didn’t see that many passes for the lead or hard side-by-side racing for the lead except right after a restart. Maybe the biggest surprise of the day is that more cars didn’t stay on the track on old tires when they knew it was only going to be a 2 lap dash for the cash. Ryan Newman didn’t have the fastest car all day but he was racing consistently in the top ten all day to get rewarded with the gift of being the first car in line to stay out on old tires.

Xfinity Race Grade: B+

This might be the first race that the Xfinity Race was better than the Cup race in many many years. This was a “Dash for Cash” event which restricted the event to only the most recent Cup drivers. We also had some drama when Austin Dillon one of the few Cup guys in the race was taken out by youngster Cole Custer and then Austin used his car as a weapon to retaliate. Obviously a fight among Cup guys gives better video and interests the media more than a mid pack Cup guy having a temper tantrum. It was a feel good win for Justin Allgaier who had not won a race since 2012.

Gripe of the Week

In my opinion the new “Stage Racing” seems to be making the drivers race a little harder for the bonus points. But listening to the announcers on a weekly basis rave about the new rule changes you would think NASCAR has found a cure for hangovers AND has also improved the racing. It almost sounds like they are reading off the same memo that told reporters NOT to call these rule changes in the first place.

Checkered Flag

Did your puppy ever do something bad that looked so cute that you couldn’t help but laughing? That puppy was training you! NASCAR put on a good (Not great but good) weekend of racing and nobody in the mainstream media paid attention at all. The week before NASCAR put on a stinker with a fight and they got all of the attention for looking cute. Hopefully NASCAR won’t eat the slippers in a humorous way next week and will just keep putting on a good show minus the shenanigans. Otherwise NASCAR will be like the cute little puppy doing all the wrong things for attention.

Sound Off

What did you think about the race weekend? Give us your grades and the reasons why you thought that and the best comments might be used on “The Final Inspection” on 105.7FM The Fan in Milwaukee on Saturday at Noon CT. Steve Zautke hosts the most entertaining two hours covering all things racing and Lori Munro and Dennis Michelsen will have your NASCAR news and views every week.


  1. Ken says:

    I thought the cup race was very ordinary and I would have given it a C or C-. I think it got the attention it deserved. When the excitement is tire failures that cause accidents, what is there to talk about. When the race winner is determined by the call of a crew chief, where is the excitement?

    The transparent “excitement” of stage racing by the announcers is making me want to turn the TV off. The “competition cautions” of stage racing only makes a long boring race longer and more boring. I suspect more than a few people switch channels during the designated cautions and don’t return.

    • Dennis Michelsen says:

      Ken…you offer a very interesting comment about race fans turning off the TV during the “Stage Breaks” we will discuss that on our NASCAR segment on 105.7FM the Fan in Milwaukee this Satuday…giving you full credit for the topic of course. DMIC

      PS: I have always been an easy grader I think because I love racing so much. I was entertained more this week than so far this year so I gave it a better grade than it might have deserved.

      • Rand says:

        I used to enjoy Nascar. Sadly, I find myself doing other things instead. The stages are ridiculous. When did an automobile race ever have 3 winners. I think stages will close the lid on the coffin.

  2. racefangurl says:

    Cole Whitt? Cole Custer

  3. John says:

    Stage racing, or not, there have been few exciting races at Phoenix. It’s a track (like New Hampshire & Indianapolis) that was designed for Indy Cars and too narrow for the big stock cars to put on fender-to-fender racing duels. NASCAR complicated things this year by cutting down the spoilers and taking away downforce. The preferred lane was close to the wall, but trying to run the low groove just heated up the brakes, wore out tires and popped left front tire beads. Kudos to RCR for making the call to stay out on old tires and even more kudos to Newman keeping the car out front. Clean air out front made the leaders nearly-invincible. But the only reason Kyle Busch failed to cruise to an easy, 3-second victory was the late caution for Logano’s loss of a left-front tire.

    • Dennis Michelsen says:

      John…since the repave/reconfiguration I have noticed Goodyear went with a much harder tire. The hot conditions Sunday made the track very slick too which didn’t help. As far as the decision to stay out…I expected many more teams to do that since tire fall off was not as bad as it has been at some tracks over the last 2 years. Thanks for adding to the conversation! DMIC

  4. Tom Nasella says:

    With regard to Stage racing…..other than awarding points it’s no different than any other caution during a race. IMO it beats bogus “debris” cautions all to pieces.

  5. Tom Nasella says:

    So, I wrote a comment, posted it and got a message that says, duplicate message, it looks like you already said that etc…..

    Stange, since this is the first time I’ve been here.

    • Dennis Michelsen says:

      Apparently our computer catches redundancy before it happens LOL

      Excellent comment Tom thank you…DMIC

  6. SALB says:

    I found the Xfinity race much more entertaining without all the top Cup drivers running. Nice not to have all the prize money taken by Cup teams that don’t need it. The Cup race…nothing special. As usual, whomever was out front had the aero advantage, and the ‘stages’ just justify competition cautions…and eat up too many laps under yellow. Trying to keep track of points is an exercise in futility, and I find I no longer give a rip.

    • Dennis Michelsen says:

      Glad to see someone agreed with me that the Xfinity race was better than Cup. Thanks for adding to the conversation! DMIC

  7. David Nance says:

    Enjoy the site and really the aerticle! I’m waiting to see NASCAR’s nose get rubbed in the puddles though. Maybe then lessons will be learned.

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