Friday, October 4, 2013

Taken for Granted, Hated for Success: Five Questions for Kansas

Todd Warshaw/Getty Images
Though we aren’t proud of it, taking things for granted is a common occurrence. We plan on people being there for us, events to come through, and everything going off without a hitch.

You never understand what you have until it’s gone. We’ll never understand what we have until Jimmie Johnson’s gone. That sounds cryptic, but, after his record-setting eighth win at Dover International Speedway, it seemed like fans were more negative than ever.

What they don’t realize is a true Hall of Famer is here. His story is unfolding before us. How can that be boring to some?

We can draw parallels to the career of his teammate, Jeff Gordon. People HATED him for racing how he did. Now, we’re at the end of his road, and the mood has changed. “I wish he could be the Jeff Gordon he was back in the day.” Well, “back in the day,” you hated his guts.

The similarities lie within the story of Dale Earnhardt Sr., too. During his championship years, the crowds booed him because he was rivaling the records set by great men before him. It was when he passed away did people stand back and think about how they should’ve accepted his talent more.

Why are we letting history repeat itself? It’s time to stop taking Johnson’s success for granted; he has earned his accolades, so why deny it? We should sit back and soak it in while we still can.

You can’t tell me Jimmie Johnson isn’t one of the best drivers in this generation, maybe even in the era. There are so many things we need to take in from him before it’s too late.

This week, I talk about sponsors, a troubled track, and a Sprint Cup debut from a promising rookie. It’s all here in this post for Five Questions.

Is Miller Lite’s cutback a sign of trouble? A few columns ago, I talked about Nationwide Insurance and NAPA Auto Parts making NASCAR-changing decisions. This week brought us some good sponsor news: Miller Lite is extending its partnership with Penske Racing and Brad Keselowski through 2017. However, there is a catch: instead of being on the No. 2 for a whole season, the company is cutting back to 24 races. That leaves 12 blank schemes. Does this add to the bleak picture for the sport? I don’t think so, mostly because Miller Lite is going to be back for three more seasons. The extension shows they’re dedicated to the relationship they have with Penske, but it also highlights how expensive it is. This is a positive blip on NASCAR’s heart monitor.

What’s Rockingham Speedway’s future? The track’s return to the schedule was surrounded by hype and ticket sales as NASCAR Camping World trucks hit the rubber-hungry surface that hadn’t eaten since 2004. With business booming, it was a shock when the track cancelled its spot as the season finale for the NASCAR K&N Pro Series East. Now, rumors are going around that the venue is off the 2014 NCWTS lineup. What’s going on? I don’t have those answers, but I hope everything is OK there. I’d hate to see that track fade away yet again.

How will Kyle Larson fare at Charlotte Motor Speedway and Martinsville Speedway? It was announced that Larson will make two Sprint Cup starts with Phoenix Racing and the No. 51 team later in The Chase. He is preparing to jump into the No. 42 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing next year, replacing Juan Pablo Montoya. The entire NASCAR world is on the edge of their seats in anticipation. No pressure, Kyle.

Will Texas Motor Speedway’s latest changes pay off? Everything’s bigger in Texas, and an infield TV screen is no exception. The track is adding a HUGE screen to the mix, larger than the one at the track in Charlotte. This change is followed by a time switch: next year’s April race will be held in the daytime, like their Chase race this year. The big question is, do these changes bring more positives to the venue? The TV might, but switching the race to a different time doesn’t take away the fact that it’s a mile-and-a-half long. That’s the main factor in the racing.

Do we take Jimmie Johnson for granted? I touched on this earlier, but now I want your take. How do you feel about Johnson’s dominance, and should we give him more or less praise? Leave your responses in the comment section, and I’ll talk about them next week!

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