Daytona Ramblings: ARCA, Danica & Battle at the Beach

Daytona Ramblings: ARCA, Danica & Battle at the Beach

by February 21, 2013 0 comments

Maybe it’s because we’ve had little to talk about over the past three months, but after the first weekend of Speedweeks in Daytona I’ve found plenty to share my opinions on.

ARCA’s 50th Daytona Celebration??

Let’s start on a mild note with the ARCA race. Yes, it was a boring race, as most ARCA Daytona events aren’t too exciting. But I must say I was not impressed with the coverage, especially for it being ARCA’s 50th Anniversary at Daytona.

I think there were about two pre-race interviews, none of which I would consider ARCA veterans. For their 50th celebration it would have been nice to see a greater focus placed on several drivers who have been around for a large portion of those years: James Hylton, Frank Kimmel, Bobby Gerhart, Mark Thompson, etc.

A big focus throughout the race was placed on Venturini Motorsports never winning at Daytona. Well, they got their first Daytona win, in addition to John Wes Townley earning his first career win (I know I was just as shocked) and yet their celebration was an afterthought as coverage immediately went back to NASCAR and the Gen6 cars. I heard enough about them in the previous hours, I think I could have held off another 30 minutes. Side note-  While they do look nice and translate more to the actual makes and models, until you start using stock pieces and parts again, they still aren’t really “stock cars”.

Where is the respect to ARCA, its sponsors, competitors and fans?? I know it is not the most exciting series and its ratings don’t compare to NASCAR, but seriously?? It does nothing to help a struggling series. If you commit to covering the event, please do not cut off post race coverage, especially when the race did not run over time and there was no on track action preceding the race.

Danica on Daytona 500 Pole

Most people think I would love seeing her claim the pole, but I have to say I have never been a Danica Patrick fan. Gender is irrelevant to me; show me what you have to back it up. I personally do not feel her on track statistics to date justify putting her into the Cup series. Yes she has one Indy Car win; it was won on fuel mileage. But look at her 2012 Nationwide stats. She finished 10th in points of the 13 full time drivers and claimed only four top 10’s in 33 events.

I am a fan of the sport, and as such I want to see people make it to the top based on talent. Not money, gender or genetics. It is good coverage that will boost ratings and ticket sales, but show me something in the race and I will be impressed. We can continue to push her to boost viewership, but until we bring focus back on talent that viewership is only temporary as they have no reason to stay. The way I look at it is this was the best case scenario for her to make it into the 500. Her chance at racing in via the Duels was somewhat a risk.

UNOH Battle at the Beach

Before jumping to the controversy I’ll start by saying I think everyone is in agreement there should be a mandated rule that a competitor is parked after their third incident. Shut it down, it is not your day. They are preventing green flag laps for the rest of the field, damaging equipment and leaving a bad impression for the sport.

The internet has been buzzing over the Larson vs. Falk battle, and of course I am going to add my opinion as well. I do not think they should have let the finish stand, but I didn’t expect NASCAR to step up either. After all Kyle Larson essentially is a “NASCAR” driver – Drive for Diversity is funded by?? This is also why many D4D drivers have failed to make it into NASCAR’s top three ranks, conflict of interest.

There is an art to the “bump and run”, but what Larson did can be done by anyone, that doesn’t take talent. You get one chance. If you can’t bump your competitor then get on with it, you lost your chance. If he save its, then he deserves to be ahead of you. It is about respect – for the equipment and competitors.

In my opinion Larson showed little respect after the race and even echoed a sense of entitlement. He said “I don’t get to do this stuff a whole lot” referencing late model short track racing, and also made a comment about “stealing the win”. Maybe I took the remarks in the wrong context, however you did certainly show you have a lot to learn about what is acceptable in short track racing.

I have no question that Larson is talented, although I have never been a fan and now never will. Those that were fans will continue to be, but I don’t think this did anything to help his image. When respected NASCAR voices such as Darrell Waltrip, Kyle Petty, Dick Berggren among many others are commenting about lost respect for Kyle Larson, I’d say he isn’t starting his NASCAR career on the right note.

C.E. Falk said “Kyle will go on to do bigger and better things. I’m just a late model guy.” With his statement he echoed the sad reality in our sport. These ‘late model guys’ who have proven to be hard working talented racers (and in most cases classy and respectful) are left with little to no opportunities, unless of course they are blessed with money and/or genetics.

One article stated “It essentially sent a message to America that short track racing across the land is simply Enduro style competition where destruction of your competition is not only allowed, but heartily encouraged.” Unfortunately, that is accurate. Too may racers struggle these days, we do not need to encourage this type of racing.

And that type of racing is exactly what happened during the K&N event as well. NASCAR needed to step up after the late model event Monday, because now they have set the tone and it is only going to get worse. This goes back to my first blog about drivers respecting equipment. It is killing the sport – ‘punk’ kids who have no understanding or respect for the time and effort that goes into the sport. Please take your money elsewhere; you are a dime a dozen in racing and we need to get back to real racing.

Caitlin Tinius

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