Michigan: Saturday Notebook - "It'll kill all the single-car teams." That was the observation of a crew member of a Nationwide NASCAR series single-car team, when AR1 asked him about the rumored transition to new car styles for the 2010 season. Sponsor dollars are already tight in that series, and no doubt some sponsors have out that the Nationwide money can make the sponsor for a top IRL team in the Indy 500. One of the team owners summed it up in one of those wonderful southern similes: "This whole deal is like a mother dog eating her pups," he drawled.
- Then again, rumors abound that the Americans are seriously reconsidering their level of involvement in NASCAR. The American pickup truck market that once caused the Craftsman Truck Series to be born is now on life support. In addition, Toyota is now beating them both on the track, the showroom, and on the balance sheet. Perhaps this is yet another reason why the American manufacturers want to market their new "retro" cars (Mustang, Challenger, Camaro, etc) in Nationwide — can anyone honest say they long for a retro Camry?
- There was a wedding this morning on the start-finish line at Michigan Speedway. If you have a mental image of a couple who would get married at the race track during a NASCAR weekend, you've probably underestimated the situation this morning. The couple seemed like nice people, what with the bride all dressed in a white short-sleeved dress that showed her tattoos, and the groom dressed in his best silk shirt (from some energy drink, I think) and all. The pastor was dressed up as a 19th century circuit-riding pastor, but didn't bring his horse with him to complete the ensemble. Certainly all AR1 readers wish the bride and groom the best of luck.
- Colorful stories of past drivers abound in the pits. One story is told of the mother of one of the MIS security guards -- himself the size of your average grizzly bear -- who took on AJ in a battle of verbal abuse. The match itself was a draw, but AJ later sent peace offerings (jackets and such) saying that no woman in his life to that point had done as good of a job chewing him out. In previous times, some drivers spent as much energy hiding from process servers, usually for debts and paternity suits, as modern drivers expend hiding from the press. Then there is the story of country-western singer (and part-time NASCAR driver) Marty Robbins showing off the centerfold of his Playboy magazine to the rest of the drivers at MIS, complete with entertaining commentary, in an event that was never published by the reporters. And to think that Home Depot wanted to pull their sponsorship from Tony Stewart for simply "pushing" a photographer....
- Give the Yellow Shirts a break. For that matter, give all of the security people at every track a break. Once again, MIS is crawling with Feds of every type, including bomb-sniffing ATF dogs (who aren't exactly shy about asking for treats). NASCAR's security people have no qualms about chewing ass when they believe that the local track security people aren't doing their job either. In June, Scott Speed tried to go through a checkpoint without the proper credentials, and in the process lost his ARCA and NASCAR credentials, and his PR person was fired after the incident. While Roger Penske owned MIS, he demanded that every checkpoint ask him -- as if everyone doesn't know who Roger is? -- for his credentials. So, if you're at a track, and have credentials, simply take it upon yourself to "wave" your credentials as you approach the security people, and you won't have many problems. Most people who complain about the "Yellow Shirts" simply don't know the routine, or have a credential problem, and hate it when someone tells them that they can't go where they want to go. Tim Wohlford reporting from MIS
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