Friday, July 31, 2015

Confidence Is Key: Five Questions for Pocono and Iowa

(Credit: Chris Graythen/NASCAR via Getty Images)
The other day, I was going to write a funny, self-deprecating tweet. It was going to read, “If anyone hears about a beached whale this weekend, don’t worry; it’ll just be me at the beach.”

It made me chuckle just thinking about it. Surely some people could relate. What woman hasn’t compared to herself to a large sea-dwelling creature while trying on last year’s bikini?

App opened and fingers ready, I hesitated.

What woman hasn’t… right?

And then I closed Twitter.

By posting that terrible joke, I could’ve encountered two types of women: one who does think she’s a whale and is now sure of that “fact” and another who was confident in her appearance yet now pulls at the skin around her hips.

To assume all women are body-conscious is indulging into one of the craziest stereotypes of all time. That means a female who is sure of herself—physically, mentally, emotionally—is unusual and weird. “Empowerment is gross and disgusting!” Is that something worth promoting?

In my 19 years, I’ve been both types of women while standing in front of the mirror. You couldn’t tell that from my social media feeds; my Twitter is full of motivational quotes, and my Instagram has pictures of happy things plastered on my profile. I’ve always felt that typing out my problems for roughly 3,000 people wouldn’t solve anything. Spreading positivity is what I prefer instead.

Overall, I’m a confident person. World domination is on my to-do list, right after graduating college and finding a pair of leggings that are the perfect length. I have my skin-pinching moments, but the good moments overcome the bad.

However, I see many instances of negativity winning in this world. People become downtrodden if something doesn’t go as planned. Once something—a relationship, a book, a trip to the scale—doesn’t live up to expectations, some of us give up. And that’s something I want to stop.

I’m telling you that being empowered is awesome and should become the norm. Don’t be afraid to take charge or stand up for yourself. There are going to be a lot of people in your life who will try to tear you down. Why would you become one of them?

Be confident and don’t care about everyone else’s two cents. Wear that bikini to the beach. Boast about your accomplishments. Anyone who thinks you’re a terrible person because of this is just jealous that he or she can’t be as secure as you. So tell them to shut it.

This idea of empowerment leads me to this week’s Five Questions. NASCAR is headed to both Pocono Raceway and Iowa Speedway, and each destination had its own slew of inquiries. 

Will Wallace go out with a bang? When the NASCAR XFINITY Series takes the green flag at Iowa this weekend, Kenny Wallace will make his final start. Wallace, whose family name has been synonymous with racing for decades, is retiring from NASCAR competition. The driver affectionately known as “Herman” will still be racing on dirt tracks across the nation because, well, he’s Herman. His ride for his last start is the Joe Gibbs Racing No. 20 Toyota. This should raise eyebrows; Wallace will be in a truly competitive ride for the first time in how long? I have no doubt he could do great things Saturday night. How amazing would it be if he won in his final start? I’m sorry, I’m getting ahead of myself. You go, Kenny Wallace.

How long before NASCAR adds a Cup race at Iowa? As everyone plans their weekends, they’re most likely planning it around the XFINITY race. Iowa is a heartland gem worth preserving. With that said, it’s time for the Powers That Be to consider a NASCAR Sprint Cup Series race in Newton, Iowa. The schedule is in desperate need of more short tracks; 1.5-mile tracks drag, and superspeedways have their place, but those small tracks are anything but insignificant. They repeatedly put on the best events, and fans want more. Be reactive, NASCAR, and give the fans what they want. And I don’t want to hear about the fans being fickle and eventually changing their minds on this subject. We all know that short-track racing will go down as the greatest variety of racing all-time. Just improve the sport as a whole and add more short tracks. DO IT.

With the Indy package’s mixed reviews, what does NASCAR do now? On the other hand, the sport has done a good job at being proactive in the last month. The announcement of rules packages for specific tracks was definitely a step in the right direction. However, the high drag package used at Indianapolis Motor Speedway didn’t produce the drastic results some were expecting. The race improved, but it wasn’t the drafting bonanza some predicted. The first thing we all need to do is be thankful NASCAR is taking initiative; it’s a lot better than their not doing anything. Next, it’s too soon to say how the entire set up will play out. This same package is slated to be used at Michigan International Speedway. That track is more suited for the high spoiler and wicker bill, anyway. It’s time to reserve judgment and let whatever happens occur in due time.

Will the Kauffman/Ganassi deal trigger a domino effect? There a lot going on with teams this week. Okay, that was probably an understatement. Rob Kauffman, the co-owner of Michael Waltrip Racing, has purchased interest in Chip Ganassi Racing. Partial owner of CGR Felix Sabates is apparently not going anywhere. It’s also suspected that Michael Waltrip Racing’s headquarters is up for sale, and potential buyers are looking at the building this week. Did I mention all this happened in the course of less than 24 hours? Looking at the bigger picture, this could have monumental effects on the current roster of organizations. One possibility is a merger of MWR and CGR, making it a four-car team. Another idea is that MWR could remain a sole organization, align itself with CGR, and run Chevrolets. The final scenario is MWR closing down shop altogether. How does Furniture Row Racing play into all of this? Rumor is that the Colorado-based team wants to switch manufacturers, and Toyota is a front runner. If they do this, they will collaborate with Joe Gibbs Racing and most likely expand into a two-car operation. Needless to say, this is a huge deal. Did you get all that? Good, because my fingers are tired from typing all that out.

Who has the confidence to derail Busch’s hot streak? Confidence plays a major role in both life and racing. Kyle Busch’s self-assurance is overflowing, but that’s not really news. He’s knocked out four wins in the past five races after returning from physical rehabilitation. Look, Busch is back to his old self—maybe even better. I’m wondering who’s got the gusto to rival his greatness. You don’t have to look far. Guess who’s posted six top-fives in the last seven races? It’s none other than 2015 Daytona 500 winner Joey Logano, who’s been flying under the radar with all the boasting about Busch, and that’s a fantastic thing. If Logano knocks out another win, everyone should watch their backs. Another contender is Martin Truex Jr. With everything going on with FRR and possibly switching manufacturers, the New Jersey driver is feeling some pressure. He can relieve that by sweeping both Pocono races. It’s going to take a lot to dethrone Busch, but Logano and Truex can do it if they muster up enough confidence in themselves and their teams. 

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