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Starting with the NASCAR Camping World Truck Series race on Friday night:
Where's the respect?
During Friday night's Truck race Ron Hornaday Jr. and Brad Keselowski got to beating and banging, simply a battle for the same real estate on track. Hornaday made contact with Keselowski after a restart on Lap 125, costing Keselowski the lead.
Keselowski felt the contact was unjustified and said in his post-race interviews, "I just told (Hornaday) I take care of him all the time in these races, I respect him and he shows me none at all. So, I’m just going to have to stop respecting him. That’s just the way it’s going to have to be." Keselowski continued, "I hate to do that because he’s a series regular and I’ve respected him now since the beginning of my truck career. Now, I’m fortunate to be where I’m at and he doesn’t show it back, so I feel like I don’t have to either."
That said, where's the respect? Hornaday is out there racing for points while Keselowski is out there just racing for wins, is there a difference?
And on to the All-Star Race:
Is Jimmie Johnson back in championship form?
Yes! After a win at Darlington, the No. 48 team winning the Pit Crew Challenge and then a win at the All-Star Race, I would say you cannot count Johnson out. And furthermore, was there ever a doubt that Johnson and Co. would be off their game two years in a row?
Five times Johnson, Knaus and the 48 team have been in adverse situations and have overcome it. If you are a hater of the 48 team, sorry to say but watch out, I think they are coming full steam ahead.
Does the latest format of the All-Star Race work best?
In my opinion, no. The racing was phenomenal during the first four segments but the final 10-lap shootout was a letdown. Jimmie Johnson ran away with the win.
Once a driver won one of the first segments, they opted to "lay back" the remainder of the 20-lap segments to be in play during the 10-lap shootout. One problem with the new format was the pit stops before the shootout. Segment winners were allowed down pit road first, thus allowing them to exit pit road first and setting up for one of those segment winners to win the race. Based on that, either Johnson, Kenseth, Keselowski or Earnhardt Jr. would win the All-Star race.
Is there an easy fix to the format with the All-Star race? What was wrong with the previous format? Someone, anyone?
Is this fan vote still relevant?
Do you remember in years past when drivers actively campaigned for votes? If I strain in my memory I can remember AJ Allmendinger's dog wearing a shirt that said "Vote for my daddy" and many drivers putting their children on display for votes. Why no more?
Fans seem to still vote, but do drivers care anymore? This year was intriguing with Dale Earnhardt Jr. winning the Sprint Showdown, Allmendinger in second and the fan vote going to Bobby Labonte. Labonte? That shocked me! As we were in the media center getting updates they told us Labonte had surged in the polls. Well, did he ever! Fans obviously care for a small(er) more grassroots team, but can the drivers get re-interested in the whole fan vote and make this worthy?
Will other team owners follow in Rick Hendrick's path, trademarking their own victory celebrations?
Carl Edwards does a backflip, Kyle Busch a bow, now we saw Rick Hendrick going old school by climbing into Johnson's window.
Should team owners be a part of these time honored celebrations? Yes! Without the owners none of this is possible. Sure we see them in victory lane for a picture or two, but I for one would love to see Rick, Jack Roush or any of the team owners get out there and celebrate it up with the boys!
Bonus questions: Will the former Lowes Motor Speedway once again be "Jimmie's house" during the Coca-Cola 600 as Johnson goes for a seventh win at CMS? Can Greg Biffle remain on top for another week and if not, who will overtake him?