Friday, June 26, 2015

Blinded: Five Questions for Sonoma

(Credit: Robert Laberge/Getty Images)
I’m a firm believer in giving people a voice. That’s what makes me a writer

I’ve been talking since birth. When I was a baby, I’d lay in my crib and babble to myself. Mom says it was both cute and creepy. Even my preschool teacher knew I’d end up in media, since I’d never shut up in class.

We all go through that shy phase, and it hit me in early high school. Thankfully, I’ve gotten over that. People like me — the loudmouths — have to exist so the quiet people have the confidence to speak. Everyone should feel safe while expressing themselves.

Being blinded by society is another issue.

Many loud people are loud so others don’t question their logic. This is pure ignorance. If you’re going to call attention to yourself, please be accurate in your statements. It makes me cringe when someone drinks someone else’s Kool-Aid and follows without any extra research. Why?

Research. Find out what makes sense to you and draw your opinions from that.

Talk. Express it in a positive, safe way. Don’t let anyone steal your voice.

Live. Put everything together and just roll with it.

NASCAR’s going to “roll with it” all the way to wine country. As the Cup regulars tackle Sonoma, I discuss road course ringers, TV duels and more in this week’s Five Questions.

What off-weekend? The NASCAR Sprint Cup Series took a quick vacation last weekend, and it’s been nothing but “on.” First, Dale Earnhardt Jr. got engaged, which is a big deal if you consider the metamorphosis he’s gone through the past few years. The craziness didn’t stop there; Wednesday brought the news that Kasey Kahne is going to be a daddy. He and girlfriend Sam Sheets are due to meet their baby boy in October. This must’ve been the scheduled time for NASCAR to break the entire Internet, and they succeeded. With NASCAR’s heartthrob becoming a father, can his female fans handle the image of a baby strapped to his chest? The world may never know.

Is the age of the road course ringer over? We switch gears to Sonoma Raceway, one of the two road course stops the NSCS makes. Every type of track has its masters, and the twisty layouts are no different. Some teams contact those masters to drive their cars and increase their chances of a better finish. Despite this standby, it’s being used less and less throughout the years. This is because drivers realize they need to adapt in order to survive. The days of having a road course in the Chase are coming closer and closer. It’s an inevitability. In order to have overall success, drivers need to prepare for that day if they want a championship. Road course ringers, you can hang up your driver suits. Your time to shine has passed.

Will we get our ninth different winner? Sonoma is special in many ways, but one sticks out — the last eight races have brought brand new winners. This is because this venue is very technical. Each turn is unique and requires individual attention. That’s a lot to juggle mid-race, and only the best racers can do so. Hence the plethora of victors. It seems like every year, a new guy comes in and maneuvers the track like a pro. This raises the question: will we see a new face in victory lane? I’m big on trends, so I say yes, and I know just the guy. He’s young, talented and in fantastic equipment. If you guessed Kyle Larson, come on down! You’ve won a prize! Larson and teammate Jamie McMurray are both great at Sonoma, but something about the drive of the No. 42 makes me feel like he’s ready to strike. It’s a hunch, but it’s something, right?

As NBC gets set to take over, should Fox be concerned? The end is near for Fox with the race at Sonoma being its last broadcast of the season. Many fans are excited for this, which raises a few eyebrows. Fox is infamous for their lackluster coverage, complete with their discordant announcing … according to those watching on TV. Now, NBC is jumping in to save the day and take the second half of the races. The company seems dedicated to the sport, too. Their show NASCAR America is a hit, complete with an all-star cast and original content. What does this mean for NASCAR on Fox? Bad things. Fox needs to step up their game. If NBC swoops in and charms everyone’s pants off, they’re going to kill in the ratings. So yes, Fox should be concerned. Very concerned.

How blind are we all? There is no doubt that this week’s focus is on the Confederate flag debate. Even NASCAR is speaking out on this topic, saying they refuse to use the flag in “any official capacity,” something they haven’t done since the 1970s. As politicians call for the banner’s removal from state grounds, I would like to remind you of what this is all about. Nine people were shot and killed at a church in Charleston, South Carolina, by a 21-year-old man. One of the victims was a state senator who is set to be buried Friday. This is where the focus should be, not on a flag that's hundreds of years old. The victims aren’t even buried, and the mainstream media has already switched over to this issue. I’m disgusted by this, and you should be, too. It doesn’t matter what your stance is on the Confederate flag because it shouldn’t be the focus at this time. A crime is a crime, and hate is the only thing that could fuel such heinous actions. I understand this isn’t a NASCAR-related question, but this has been on my mind this whole week. I’m just hoping I’m not the only one who’s heartbroken by this country’s response.


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