Friday, June 13, 2014

Father of The Year: Five Questions for Michigan

(Credit: Alan Marier)
It takes a special man to be a dad. They are the sidekicks to moms, who are inarguably the greatest superheroes ever. From dance recitals to fishing trips, he is always there, either cheering on his child or helping Super Mom weather the storm. All fathers are Father of The Year, in my eyes.

The truth is, having a kid is a game-changer. When a man becomes a father, he sees how selfish he was and attempts to right all wrongs by changing. Child is now the center of his universe. Everything from then on is for the sake of his offspring.

There’s a special connection between a dad and his daughter. From the first moment he holds her, there’s an even more important woman in his life than any other woman has been: this screaming, disgusting-looking baby. Even when they know that, one day, a man will waltz away with that little girl’s heart.

I think it’s said best by Steve Martin, who plays the patriarch in Father of The Bride. As the movie begins, he goes into this spiel about watching his daughter get married, and he describes his worrying. He tells the camera, “You fathers will understand. You have a little girl. An adorable little girl who looks up to you and adores you in a way you could never have imagined. I remember how her little hand used to fit inside mine. Then comes the day when she wants to get her ears pierced, and wants you to drop her off a block before the movie theater. From that moment on you're in a constant panic. You worry about her meeting the wrong kind of guy, the kind of guy who only wants one thing, and you know exactly what that one thing is, because it's the same thing you wanted when you were their age. Then, you stop worrying about her meeting the wrong guy, and you worry about her meeting the right guy. That's the greatest fear of all, because, then you lose her.” (Thanks IMDB for the quote).

Whoever wrote that is a genius because they captured fatherhood in a single monologue. It makes you realize why your dad cleans the shotgun before your boyfriend shows up. (Maybe that’s just my dad).

It takes a special man to be a dad. In my completely unbiased opinion, my dad is the best. What girl can say she’s spent half an hour with her father discussing Journey’s awesomeness? That would be me. He gave me my love for racing, and we’ve shared so many memories while watching race cars, fishing, and surrounding a campfire. He’s always been there for me. That’s what I love the most.

On Father’s Day weekend, NASCAR heads to Michigan International Speedway. With dozens of storylines, I pick and chose a few to discuss on this week’s Five Questions. Grab your dad and read them together!

Juan Pablo Montoya and kids before the
Firestone 600 at Texas last weekend.
Credit: Lisa Janine Cloud/Skirts and Scuffs
How will Montoya fare in his NASCAR return? Juan Pablo Montoya. It’s been awhile since we’ve discussed that name, but he’s back this weekend, running for Team Penske. He’s been running for the team on the IndyCar side, going back to his roots. So, how will his race go? It’s going to take some time to readjust to the bulkiness of a stock car. He can shake the cobwebs during practice. Now, for the actual race. I don’t think it’s going to be a spectacular return, but it’ll be a great opportunity to strengthen the relationship between NASCAR and IndyCar. It was reestablished when Kurt Busch did The Double last month, and this will reaffirm it.

Is RFR being plagued by Silly Season chatter? I honestly feel bad for Roush Fenway Racing. It’s unknown what has caused them become a B-list team, but it’s alarming. They were in shambles before their lead engineer left, and it’s gone downhill from there. Could increased publicity make all this worse? Silly Season is in full-swing, and Greg Biffle and Carl Edwards are on top of the list. It seems like Biffle is staying, yet Edwards’ ties to Joe Gibbs Racing strengthen with each passing day. This could be weighing the team down even more. I doubt there will be any official statements this early in the season, so they’ll have to deal with the problems.

Were Keselowski’s final laps at Pocono smart or stupid? For what it’s worth, he was in a very difficult position; blow up an engine and lose, or get debris off and win? He ended up doing a combination of both, and people were confused. You’d have to sit in his firesuit to understand that moment. Keselowski’s heart had to break when he got behind Danica Patrick and realized how slow she was; it killed his momentum, and the No. 88 flew on by. He was trying to conserve a perfectly stout engine for his guys, and that’s admirable. He took the smart way out.

Does Earnhardt Jr. have the makings of a champion? Speaking of the No. 88, Dale Earnhardt Jr. won his second race of the season at Pocono Raceway, his first time racking up multiple victories in ten years. Does anyone else see where I’m going with this? This is the Year of The Junior. With Steve Letarte leaving, the motivation within this team and its driver has skyrocketed. It’s remarkable. This is a whole new Earnhardt Jr., and it’s very convincing. If you’re asking me, then it’s time for Junior Nation to get REALLY excited.

What is your favorite aspect about Father’s Day? I know many people don’t have a relationship with their fathers, or their fathers have passed on. With that in mind, I would love to hear some favorite memories involving your dad or the central male figure in your life. Racing-related or not, every moment should be cherished, and it should always bring a smile to your face. Comment below or tweet me your responses!

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