Odds and Ends- Rush to Judgment in Stewart Incident and Larson Wins Edition
Each week I take a random tour of the world of NASCAR (Mostly) and give my take on the latest news. I hope you bring your funny bone to the party and take the good natured jabs in a responsible way. You will also find my “Fantasy Insight” predictions for this week’s race complete with the best computer analysis available for NASCAR racing!
And now on with the show…
Rush to Judgment in Stewart Incident
I heard about the Tony Stewart accident with Kevin Ward Jr at Canandaigua Motorsports Park on Saturday night just as I got back to the hotel after the 54th annual Knoxville Nationals. The first headline said, “Tony Stewart Kills Sprint Car Racer.” Saying I was stunned would be the understatement of a lifetime. What in the hell did Stewart do was my first reaction. After seeing the video for the first time on ESPN’s Sportscenter I could not understand the first headline I saw that was definitive in its proclamation. In my world if someone is accused of killing someone I assume they were definitely at fault otherwise the term doesn’t apply. If I am motoring down the road at the legal limit and someone leaps in front of my car I did not “Kill” that person I hit that person in a horrible accident that led to their death. Media reports after this incident with Stewart and Ward Jr showed that each network seemed to be involved in some sort of limbo contest to see who could lower the bar the most. One network interviewed the boyfriend of Stewart’s ex girlfriend sprint car racer. You know the one, the one in which Stewart said he was “getting rid of dead weight.” Expecting that person to be unbiased is like relying on Baghdad Bob for updates on the Iraq War!
Maybe in today’s world we ALL think we are experts on police investigations, legal proceedings and more. After all I grew up watching Perry Mason, the TV show not the legendary Audi mechanic from Ontario. I have seen investigations solved in less than 60 minutes on CSI, NCIS, and every other letter combination possible. (I am a huge fan of CSI Mooseville Flats that was added to the CSI collection this year. That episode about the mysterious theft of the high school mascot that led to Ethel bashing Doris over the head with her cane was an amazing example of forensic science at its best) Just because you have seen them wrap up a case using the IBM Psycholatronic Video Reenactment Simulator on CSI that doesn’t mean you are an expert at breaking down the video.
I watched that first video of the Stewart/Ward Jr incident many times and I admit I saw different things each time. This week I reached out to sprint car drivers I have interviewed in the past and five of them agreed to an interview “Off the Record” to give me their unfiltered opinions. The consensus was that the worst that Stewart was guilty of was bad judgment because he might have been attempting to “Buzz” the driver and there was also a consensus that Ward Jr was trying to hit Stewart’s wing with his hand. (Buzzing is common at dirt tracks I am told and involves spinning the tires to sling mud and dirt at someone) Thankfully another slow motion video has emerged that seems to conclusively show that Ward Jr grabbed the wing as Stewart’s car passed him and got dragged along. There is almost nothing Stewart could have done to avoid that from happening and due to poor vision out the right side of the car it is unlikely Stewart knew that Ward Jr was holding on to his wing. Don’t let me convince you of anything…let’s all wait for the experts to finish their job and issue their report. It might not be done by the next commercial break but it will be the definitive word on what happened in what now appears to be a tragic accident not a deliberate act.
Fantasy Insight-Michigan 2
Every week I break down the statistics for the upcoming race with my exclusive Pro Power Ratings. Here is this week’s fearless forecast for the Michigan Sweet Corn Race.
Driver Last 5 Course Type PRO
Top Tier 92+
Second Tier 90-91.99
Third Tier 85-89.99
Earnhardt Jr 91.0 85.6 94.0 89.98- Tops the rating chart again this week
C Bowyer 87.6 92.8 88.6 89.36- Still not trusting of MWR to win races
K Harvick 84.6 93.6 88.8 88.14- If they remember the bean bags this week…
G Biffle 86.0 93.0 83.2 87.54- Still not trusting of Roush cars to win
M Kenseth 86.6 89.0 84.6 86.92- Should be ready for another win
K Larson 89.0 79.0 93.4 86.88- Discount the low track type and rookie wins
Keselowski 83.2 91.6 86.8 86.44- Should be the favorite to beat
J Logano 87.8 84.2 84.6 86.08- Always in the hunt on speedways
J Gordon 85.0 82.6 93.2 85.92- This is his worst track in this type
K Kahne 86.8 85.0 83.8 85.66- An enigma wrapped in a question mark
R Newman 84.4 86.2 87.8 85.62- RCR seems to be improving
D Hamlin 90.0 76.0 87.0 85.20- Low track type rating here last 5 races
Win- Kyle Larson- Gets his first Cup win this week! (18 to 1 Odds)
Place- Brad Keselowski- Would be my morning line favorite (6 to 1 Odds)
Show- Dale Earnhardt Jr- Could win a few more times (8 to 1 Odds)
Longshot- (20 to 1 or More) Clint Bowyer 30 to 1 Odds worth chance on MWR
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