LONDON: The Racing Journal

VALLEY STREAM, N.Y. — I often cringe when watching a race on TV. The poor use of the English language offends me. But it is obvious that our sport pays a lot of people to talk and they aren’t very astute.

Often something will happen during a race and the TV mouth automatically will call it a “tough break.”

That’s not always the case. For example, getting caught speeding in the pits and getting a penalty, or losing time in the pits because a crewman failed to properly attach a lug nut, is not a bad break.

These things are human frailties. Luck has nothing to do with it. Now if a driver pits under green, and shortly after, a caution flag comes out, that is indeed a bad break because it was something that he had no control over.

Often a driver wins a race because he is said to be “lucky.” Actually you don’t need to be fortunate, just don’t be unlucky.

Why do those on TV insist on calling a driver who starts a race for somebody else a “relief” driver, such as Ricky Stenhouse, Jr., who subbed for the ill Trevor Bayne on the Nationwide circuit?

There is a big difference. A relief driver subs for one who actually starts the race. Hence, he’s ill and needs relief and no longer can drive. Stenhouse was a replacement driver.

Haven’t had a chance to comment about the happenings at Memorial Day. It’s good the see the Indy 500 is back where it belongs. It never stopped being a great race, the politics got in the way.

Rookie J.R. Hildebrand certainly earned all our respect. He has held his head high through a devastating day at the Brickyard. He is very polished for age 23. He will win this race one day.

I was surprised that many people say he should have won the race because the yellow flag came out and Dan Wheldon passed him. Most of these people say so because they didn’t want Wheldon to win. But you have to be fair here.

You can’t let someone win when he crashes and brings the yellow out. Since there have been a proliferation of cars running out of gas lately, a guy could run into the wall if he runs out and win the race that way.

It was brought up that Rich Vogler won the race in which he lost his life. That was different. His crash came on the white-flag lap. He was a lap ahead and the race was red flagged.

How come Hildebrand at age 23, and never in the spotlight before, seems heads above Kyle Busch who is three years older and has been in the forefront for six years? One can imagine the tantrum Kyle would have had if he had been the unfortunate one at Indy.

I was a bit annoyed when no one made mention that winner Wheldon was in car No. 98. That was J.C. Agajanian’s famed number, which won for Troy Ruttman in 1952 and Parnelli Jones in 1963. Mike Curb was one of the sponsors of the car and he was Aggie’s last supporter.

The Kyle Busch vs. Richard Childress dustup has been filling the net here and TV. Can you imagine the gall shown by that lout Jimmy Spencer, criticizing Childress?

Richard’s $150,000 fine still was less than that hardened violator Carl Long.

My apologies for the typo in the Indy winner’s list published here. Bob Sweikert lost his life in 1956.

Darrell Waltrip never ceases to be annoying. At the start of the TV telecast of the World 600 at Charlotte, DW slobbered all over NASCAR because it played “Taps” and had a military fly over. He went on to say that nobody else does this.

They’ve been traditionally featuring that at the Indy 500 since it began. Indy doesn’t have “boogity,” though!

My best wishes to old friend and NSSN contributor Al Robinson who is ill and hope he is back in action soon.

We’re at [email protected]



Posted by on Jun 10 2011 Filed under Columns, Opinion. You can follow any responses to this entry through the RSS 2.0. You can skip to the end and leave a response. Pinging is currently not allowed.


  1. Dick says:

    I realize that this is two months late but I just recently found NSSN on-line. I want to comment on playing TAPS at the Speedway this past May. I saw my first 500 when Lee Wallard drove Murriel Belanger’s #99 to victory and I have seen several races in each decade since. This year, whoever it was that played TAPS needs to be recognized and commended. Never have I heard it rendered as heart-felt and moving as this musician did. There is always a slight rumble of background noise, even during the National Anthem, but at the end of the first phrase of TAPS there was utter silence throughout the Speedway. The end note was a long sustained diminuendo that just faded away into silence and then a very long pause before the stunned crowd just sat down. I still get goosebumps when I think of it.
    PS) NASCAR is about 50 years late. The playing of the National Anthem and “fly-overs” go back to the earliest days of racing in the US. The Vanderbilt Cup races 100 years ago had both. The only thing that NASCAR has added is a clergyman (woman?) asking the Divine to grant safety to all participating in a dangerous sport. Seems slightly sacrilegious to me. You want safety? Stay home!


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