The entertainment side of NASCAR

Published 12:00 am Monday, September 26, 2005

Special to the News-Herald

Ryan Newman passed the points’ leader, Tony Stewart, with two laps remaining to win the race at New Hampshire last week. It was a great race, but hey, who cares about the race? Let’s talk about the &uot;sports entertainment&uot; aspect of racing. That is what everyone seems to be talking about. It looked more like the McMahon family of pro wrestling fame was running NASCAR instead of the France family.

First, Scott Riggs takes out title contender Kurt Busch in the wall early in the race. How does Kurt respond? Well, he made sure that he was in full view of the cameras and he walked to Riggs’ pit stall, climbed atop the war wagon and discussed the wreck with Riggs’ crew chief, Rodney Childers.

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Come on, Kurt. Can’t you do better than that? Childers didn’t wreck you, Riggs did. And do you really think that Riggs intentionally spun Busch on the second lap of the race? But Kurt had to show everyone that he is a real tough guy.

I would have liked to have seen him climb up on Junior Johnson’s pit box back in the old days. He would have come down faster than he went up, I promise you that.

Busch could have more like Robby Gordon. Gordon was spun by Michael Waltrip, then he tried to back into Waltrip’s car in retaliation, tried to smash Waltrip’s face by throwing his helmet through Waltrip’s window. If that weren’t enough, he dispelled the popular opinion that Waltrip is a nice guy by calling him a &uot;piece of&uot; something that smells bad. Now that is what I call entertainment.

Gordon is, however, making lemonade out of lemons by auctioned the infamous helmet on the internet with the proceeds going to Hurricane Katrina victims. As I write this, the high bid is up to $50,100.

Speaking of Waltrip, by the time you read this, it will be announced that Waltrip will be driving a Dodge for Bill Davis Racing next year. NAPA will come with Waltrip and sponsor the car. That decision will leave DEI with only two full time teams next year. The wheels look to be in motion for Waltrip and Davis to field Toyotas for the 2007 season.

Oh, by the way, Ryan Newman won the race and jumped to third in the points standings. Tony Stewart looked strong the entire race and is still atop the standings.

The Monster Mile of Dover is up next on the schedule. Dover is a concrete short-track that can provide just as many fireworks as New Hampshire did last week. Greg Biffle won the race here back in June and he will have a say in who wins this week. Newman has three wins here in the last five races and seems to be on a roll.

My pick to win this week is Mark Martin. He finished third in the June race and has four career victories at Dover and he will make some noise down the stretch.

Have fun and we’ll see you next week.