Story by Paul Blaufuss. Photo courtesy

I’m having one of those senior opinionated kind of days:

  • What a wonderful racing weekend this past Labor Day was! There truly was something for everybody.
  • The retro theme done at Darlington each Labor Day weekend recently is a fantastic idea, and what racing in all series needs more of…. Fun! What a fun and unique way to keep the history of the sport alive for the future generations of race fans. It’s nice to see the sponsors look beyond their self interests, and allow retro sponsors and paint jobs on the cars. Great to see the crews, announcers and fans get in the spirit with retro wardrobes, music and so on.
  • It was also great to see Indy cars back at the Glen. The memories rushed back to that glorious speed wonderland of my younger days. It is such a majestic and magical place. Open wheel never should have left. My only wish, no plea, is that ISC undertake desperately needed safety upgrades at the Glen, and soon. Open wheel cars, at the speed the Glen produces, with Armco immediately alongside the racing surface, set at odd and terrifying angles around the circuit, is a recipe for disaster. Like Indy racing on superspeedways, no one should be surprised when bad things happen; it is just a matter of when. I have long been very outspoken and critical in my opinion of Indycar’s actions (or lack thereof) in terms of safety. The Glen presents another example. The circuit begs for a major safety overhaul before racing of any kind, open wheel or stock cars, returns. And in this case Indycar obviously does not bear sole blame. ISC has spent a great deal on grandstands and press facilities at the Glen, which admittedly needed to be addressed. However NASCAR has had a number of scary incidents at the Glen over the years. Safety barriers have not changed appreciably since Cevert in ’73. And that is inexcusable.  Come on ISC, Improve the shoulder areas, move back the Armco, and get SAFER all around the track.
  • All that being said, the Indy race was a snoozer. The grand old course deserved better than a fuel mileage coast fest.
  • I think the quality of TV racing broadcasts is mediocre at present. I have often recently muted NASCAR TV broadcasts to listen to MRN/ PRN. I cannot listen to most TV broadcasts any longer. I long for the days of Benny and Ned, Squier and Economaki, heck Jenkins and Nuber.
  • Once exception is Tony Pedregon on NHRA telecasts. I find his delivery and style mixed with knowledge of the sport, experience as a car owner and driver, to be refreshing.
  • Kudos for Dale Jr for taking his stand on concussions and vowing to not return to the driver’s seat until he is fully recovered. That is the type of steadfast stoic leadership needed in sports.
  • However Dale’s absence, along with the retirement of Jeff Gordon (?) and Tony Stewart must be causing good bit of agitation down on one Daytona Boulevard. NASCAR needs to move the next generation of drivers into the forefront of the collective race fan consciousness, and quickly. Fans need to care about and in turn want to go see the DiBenedettos race the Craftons of the world. .  NASCAR has always made the generational transitions successfully…. from Fireball and Lee, to Richard and David, Dale and Bill, Jeff and Tony and so on.  Change is coming again quickly.   Racing needs the personal investment between fans and drivers. Fans need a personal stake in racing and they need to care. If not, the empty aluminum seen at most circuits is sure to continue.
  • Having said that, I don’t think the NASCAR talent pool has ever been better stocked with young racing talent than at present. The skill and ability of the youngsters is beginning to show in the results as well. With Kyle Larson winning his first race (and surely poised to win more and soon) Chase Elliott (who my daughter, the lovely Princess B the elder, is still certain she is going to marry one day) Ryan Blaney, Chris Buescher, the Dillons, Daniel Suarez, William Byron, Daniel Hemric and many other up-and-coming drivers that I am sure I am drawing a blank on, the sport is well positioned with driving talent for the foreseeable future.
  • The question is will there be enough quality teams in NASCAR to accommodate all the young talent? I am concerned when a handful of wealthy teams possess inordinate control in the sport (see CART circa 1995). ? Is the sport in a good state when a Haas, Penske, or Gibbs car is almost guaranteed victory most weekends?  I question the current NASCAR Charter system…..will this format aide new team development in the sport?  I somehow think not, which seems totally bassackwards.
  • Did anyone take in the Motocross GP event at the Charlotte dirt track last weekend? I would love to hear fan feedback. It’s great to see the speedway bringing new and diverse events to the CMS facilities
  • Is anyone else bored by the current state of Formula 1? The top teams with the most funding have always been at the top of the F1 food chain. But never like this season. It has now become more or less a mind numbing technology parade. Even the grandeur of Monza could not overcome Sunday’s tedium. If you have trouble sleeping, forget the Unisom, just DVR a current F1 race. Anyone not fortunate enough to pilot a Mercedes is racing for third.  Sure, Rosberg and Hamilton are good drivers, but seriously…
  • Best races of the weekend: NASCAR Trucks in Canada and the NHRA U.S. Nationals.
  • And with that I must retreat to my cubicle and close for now y’all, however with great anticipation of the NHRA Carolina Nationals at zMAX in two weeks!