100% throttle racing masks drivers shortcomings
AR1.com has long mocked IndyCar's 100% throttle high downforce oval racing as a way to put on a 'show' (recall all those artificial side-by-side finishes) but not a sport where the athlete's talent made the difference. In our view 100% throttle racing is 100% car and engineer and 0% driver. The driver is just along for the ride.
Because it is so easy, it masks a drivers talents, or shall we say lack of talent, which explains the struggles of drivers like Sam Hornish Jr. who was a star in IndyCar, but is a complete backmarker in NASCAR.
While his Penske teammate is winning races, Sam Hornish, Jr., finished 28th last year in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series points race. He is currently 28th in the 2010 standings. On Friday, he qualified 28th for Sunday's CARFAX 400 race at Michigan International Speedway.
While that is bad it's not as bad as fellow IndyCar star Danica Patrick who is simply ruining her career in NASCAR. Gone are the throngs of reporters who used to follow her around the paddock like puppy dogs in heat, now it's just a few hanger-on reporters who hope to be there when she does something spectacular. They have a long wait.
NASCAR cars have little downforce and are, therefore, a handful to drive. They move around a lot, and you must have the talent to drive a car sideways when it is loose at over 190 MPH. They shift and brake like a truck, there is a lot of 'play' in the wheel compared to an open wheel car, and the races are twice as long in a car that gets extremely hot inside.
So you can fault NASCAR for its managed racing, monopoly-bully tactics in American racing, its long boring races, and its 1950s technology race cars, but you cannot fault it for requiring drivers with raw racing talent. Don't let that southern drawl dumbed down talk kid you, you win in NASCAR if you have talent. Yes the car is important, but it's not everything and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is the prime example. He has the best car yet he is a backmarker on most race weekends - riding on his talented father Dale Earnhardt’s tailcoats.