Friday, August 30, 2013

What if...

There has been much speculation this week about who is really in charge these days at Stewart-Haas Racing -- Gene Haas, the millionaire businessman often perceived as the "money" behind the operation, or Tony Stewart, the also shrewd businessman who is also a world-class racer and the face of the company to the public on race weekends.

This speculation rose to new heights this week when Mr. Haas revealed that the impetus behind the recent signing of Kurt Busch to drive a 4th SHR entry in the Sprint Cup series was his, and his alone.  Mr. Stewart objected to the expansion at this time, but was told that the decision had essentially been made.

I'll submit this thought:  With the addition of Danica Patrick in 2012 and Kevin Harvick for 2014, where was Mr. Haas in those deals?   Seemingly, nowhere to be found.  I'm sure he was aware of the situation, but the spotlight was on and the impetus came from Mr. Stewart.

Maybe Mr. Haas thought it was his time to take charge for really the first time since this partnership was formed beginning with the 2009 Sprint Cup season.  Stranger things have happened...



Thursday, August 29, 2013

Be careful out there !

On Monday, August 5th., NASCAR star Tony Stewart broke his leg while participating in a sprint car race in Iowa, ending his 2013 Sprint Cup season.  Almost before he was transported to the hospital from the track, the debate had begun about whether or not drivers should be allowed to participate in other forms of racing or other activities which might jeopardize their safety outside of their Sprint Cup responsibilities.

Now, legendary iron-man Bobby Labonte has broken three ribs in a bicycling accident and will miss this weekend's Sprint Cup race in Atlanta.  Ironically, Labonte's 704-race consecutive start streak ended earlier this summer at Sparta, Kentucky when team brass at JTG Daugherty Racing decided to replace him with A.J. Allmendinger in an attempt to get different feedback and improve the team's performance.

Between both men, they have 4 series championships and 69 wins.  Each will be a future inductee to the NASCAR Hall of Fame.  Each has a name that we expect to hear in conjunction with a Sprint Cup series race.  Each has a fan base that is intensely loyal and passionate.  Each was also sidelined in an instant.

My point?  Be careful, guys and girls!   I realize that sprint car racing for Stewart and a bike ride for Labonte is how they relax, rejuvenate and reload between Sprint Cup starts.  Some drivers golf, some drivers fish, some drivers race late-model dirt cars, some drivers scuba dive... I get it.  I fully support all of them and whatever leisure activities they pursue.  Please balance those enjoyments with your responsibilities to your team, your sponsors and your fans wisely.  

We need these wheel men for OUR relaxation each week.  I want to see Stewart, Labonte and others drive an 800 horsepower race car each week and not a motorized scooter down the halls of a hospital.  Wait a minute!  I might have just stumbled upon a whole new NASCAR division... hmmm.   What should we do first -- short halls?  Intermediate?  Fast restrictor-battery super halls?  Night scooters with the lights on?