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NASCAR Crapped on Race Fans Sunday


I’m not sure how many of you are race fans and know exactly what happened Sunday night. For those of you who aren’t, let me fill you in. The Auto Club 500 was set to start Sunday afternoon in Fontana but was delayed over an hour because of rain. They finally got on the track while it was still slick, resulting in two incidents that saw the race come to an end for a few drivers. Then after 87 laps, the rain really started to come down so the red flag was dropped, and the tarps were thrown over the cars. At this point it was well into the evening on the East Coast, and certainly in the evening on the West Coast, where the race was being held — I’d say around 6pm PT. What ensued over the following five hours was maddening, if not downright embarrassing.

Scrambling to decide what would happen, FOX began airing re-runs of shows like the Simpsons and Family Guy on my local affiliate as they presumably tried to dry the track off in Fontana. At 9pm — midnight on the East Coast mind you — there was a cut in to the FOX studio at the track where they announced the race would resume in an hour, at 10pm PT, since the weather reports indicated the sky was clearing up. Great. With nearly two-thirds of the race incomplete, they would try to finish it up at 1am on the East Coast. A nice kick in the nuts for the die-hard fans out in the Carolinas and whatnot. Anyway, the news continued to get worse for the soldiers who braved the hour of anticipation.

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Danica Patrick Wants to Shake Anna Kournikova Comparisons

Truthfully, I never thought there was anything wrong with Anna Kournikova comparisons. Chick is extremely beautiful, better looking than most models, so I thought it was a smart idea for her to switch professions. And when she played, she was pretty outstanding. She was a Top 10 player in the world. That’s pretty commendable where I come from. So just why Danica wants to end the Anna K comparisons, I’m not quite sure.

“I see the parallels,” the American told Reuters. “But you know what, it’s surface stuff.

“For one, I’m competing against guys so right off the bat it’s different.

“I’m not so worried about that first win, I want it to come, I want it to be over with but I’ve been racing up front every weekend and that’s a big relief for me because the wins will come.

“Hey and let’s not forget she (Kournikova) was pretty darn good too.”

See, she’s right — they both are pretty darn good. Patrick’s still getting Top 10 finishes in IRL, and Kournikova was a Top 10 player in the world. On top of being attractive? What’s wrong with that? And as far as Danica’s concerned, I guess until she wins the stigma will be there. She might need to grab a snickers, but at least she’s in good company as far as I’m concerned.

Who’s Hotter: Ashley Force, or Danica Patrick?

I’ve been working on this little project for AOL Sports where I handicap some of the matchups in their hottest female athlete tournament. It’s pretty cool, though probably not the first time you’ve seen something like that. Well, we’re down to the semi finals, and one of the Final Four matchups is between two starlets of the racing world — Ashley Force, and Danica Patrick. While Patrick carries the name recognition, I’m not so sure she’s the hottest. Let’s go to the tale of the tape.

According to her wiki, Force is a 24-year-old funny car drag racer. She’s a So. Cal girl, having gone to Esperanza High School in Anaheim where she was a cheerleader. From high school, Ashley went onto Cal St. Fullerton where she graduated with a communications degree. Ashley comes from a family of race car drivers, with her father, John Force, being a funny car division champion and head of John Force Racing. Ashley is not the lone female racer in the family. She also has two younger sisters who are racers, and quite attractive at that. More pics after the jump.

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Must We Fight With HANS Devices on?

So Kevin Harvick and Juan Pablo Montoya got into a little bit of a squabble Sunday at Watkins Glen. I guess Harvick was run off the track by Montoya — or something like that — which led Harvick to speak his mind and say he wanted to kick Montoya’s ass. That’s cool and all, I can certainly roll with ass kickings. One problem though, was what Tony Stewart (who won the race) pegged:

When all was said and done, there were more heated words exchanged than anything else. Even Sunday’s race winner at Watkins Glen International, Tony Stewart, was disappointed.

“They still had their HANS and their helmets on, so it didn’t impress me,” he said.

Honestly, if you’re actually going to try and act like tough guys, the least you can do is drop gloves and remove the protective suits. Seriously. Even I can take an Al Iafrate slapshot to the sternum with some chestpads on, you feel me? So next time, if you’re going to act pissed off, drop gloves and let’s really throw down.

(photo courtesy David Duprey/AP)

Juan Pablo Montoya Got Lucky

At least that’s what Robby Gordon thinks. No, don’t get it twisted, I’m not a fan of motorsports, but I sure enjoy a good storyline. And Robby Gordon — he of three career wins — calling Juan Pablo Montoya’s win at Sonoma on Sunday the product of luck — is a storyline I appreciate.

“I’m going to say he got lucky today,” Gordon said. ”He didn’t win this race, he got lucky on fuel mileage. … He’s a helluva racecar driver, I’ll give him that credit. His team probably worked on their carburetors, but they didn’t have the fastest car. They just got lucky and won.”

I won’t begin to pretend to understand the basics of racing strategy, but anytime a driver wins a NASCAR race that lasts several hundred laps, I have to say it’s not a product of luck. Memo to Robby: you had 110 laps to get to first place and stay there. Figure it out next time, and don’t call someone else’s win lucky.

(photo courtesy Reuters)

Danica Patrick Smacked Down by Dan Wheldon After A.J. Foyt 225

Neither Danica Patrick nor Dan Wheldon won the IRL race in Milwaukee on Sunday, but they managed to become the center of attention afterwards. And let me tell you, it was one of the best exchanges of smack-talking this year.

Here’s the deal. While battling for fourth in the 87th lap, Wheldon bumped into Patrick, sending Danica spinning towards the inside of the track. The bump set Danica back a lap, and she later complained that the nudge was the result of Wheldon’s jealousy:

I don’t know if he’s mad that I passed him at Indy and he got passed by five more cars or something. I don’t know. I don’t know if the message got across, I’ve never been in a situation with Dan before.

Wheldon however, did not hesitate to put Danica in her place. Check it out:

What goes around comes around. She nearly put me into the pit wall at Indianapolis. I certainly have no problem with everybody else on the track. I’m sure she’s just feeling the pressure of not winning races and her teammates are.

She’s just being Danica. She’ll be fine when she calms down. She’s messing with the wrong person if she wants to get feisty that’s for sure, because I’m a lot tougher than she is on the track.

That is effin’ great! Uhh, this actually might get me interested in watching the next time the two of them are on the track. And how great is it that Wheldon said what everyone’s thinking — Danica’s just pissed because she hasn’t won anything! And forget gender too — Wheldon says he’s tougher than Danica. This is great. Props to Wheldon for smacking Danica around a bit and telling it like it is. Nicely done, my man.

Dario Franchitti Gets Dissed by Yahoo! after Winning Indy 500

No less than three hours after winning the Greatest Spectacle in Motor Racing, here’s what appeared on the homepage of Yahoo!:

Yes, congrats to the winner of the Indy 500 — Ashley Judd’s husband. Seriously. How sad is that? This was pointed out to me by my buddy John Fricke, who was lamenting the diminished relevance of the Indianapolis 500. I see what Yahoo! is doing here — they have this featured on their homepage, where people are more likely to recognize the name “Ashley Judd” than “Dario Franchitti.” They figure it’s a great way of getting non-sports fans to cross over into the world of athletics. But as a sports fan, this upsets me. Just as the phrase “Eva Longoria’s fiance wins NBA championship,” would bother me. But the ultimate point John made, aside from the slight towards Dario, was that there was a time in our society, not too long ago, when putting the name of the Indy 500 on the front page of a popular website would have been enough. But then again, if Franchitti weren’t married to Judd, would this have even made front page news? Probably not.