Thursday, November 29, 2007
Rusty gives his Best and Worst for the NASCAR season
As the stars of NASCAR gallavant around New York City this week, I thought I'd take a minute to do a Best & Worst recap of the past season.
Best Finish: Kevin Harvick vs. Mark Martin (Daytona 500) - While there were some great battles and close finishes, nothing seemed to have quite the excitement of the season opener this year. Only thing that could have been better would have been if the pereninal bridesmaid finally won.
Best Team: Hendrick Motorsports - Hands down, no questions asked, no debate or explanation needed. Period!
Worst Team: Dale Earnhardt Inc. - Even though DEI put Truex into the Chase field, and had some dominant cars throughout races, the team really suffered this year. The new partnership with RCR on the GM R07 engine seemed to be a losing battle all year. To make matters worse, losing their #1 driver and biggest name in the sport did not help to make matters any better.
Best Fight: Harvick vs. Montoya (Watkins Glen) - It was only a matter of time till these two hotheads came to blows, and Watkins Glen proved to be the perfect stage. It was kinda silly, though, that despite their bad boy images, they both kept their helmets on during the minor frakus.
Most Boring Race: To be honest, there were several that would normally qualify for this category. The new COT seemed to provide for some pretty un-interesting racing this season. But I think the top billing would go to both races at Bristol. Under the lights, Bristol used to be some of the best racing on the circuit. The COT seemed to dramatically reduce the passing, bumping, and quality racing that gave Bristol the nickname, "Thunder Valley".
Best In-Race Quote: "Here kitty, kitty, kitty" - With his car dialed in at one of his favorite tracks, Tony Stewart was heard calling over the radio "here kitty, kitty" as he chased down Kevin Harvick to take the victory at the Brickyard. When Smoke's in his element, he can provide some great entertainment.
Biggest Upset Win: Jamie McMurray (Pepsi 400) - The atypical surfer-boy type racer, Jamie's never made much noise on the Cup level, especially since moving to Roush. He just happened to be in the right place at the right time, and came home with a much needed victory on one of the most famous tracks on the circuit.
Biggest Disappointment: Dale Jarrett - Watching a former Cup champion struggle to even qualify week-in and week-out was painful. While his performance was waning in recent years, I don't think anyone wanted to see Jarrett crash and burn with Waltrip's Toyota team like he did.
Biggest Surprise: Clint Bowyer - Having never won a NASCAR Nextel Cup race, Bowyer was a surprise to even make the Chase. Then he really surprised everyone by dominating the field at New Hampshire, and getting his first ever victory at the first Chase event.
Worst Luck: Dale Earnhardt Jr. - In his final year with DEI, Jr couldn't catch a break to save his season. From busted valve-springs to dismembered tires, June-bug seemed to catch the worst of luck this past season. (Editor's note: you still cannot convince me there wasn't some tom-foolery going on in Garage-Mahal).
Best part of TV Broadcast: New ESPN Tech Center. The Ford cut-away car used by Fox was good, but it didn't hold a candle to ESPN's car. They used it far more, and the information was much clearer and more in-depth.
Worst part of TV Broadcast: Pre-Race. First, the races are starting too late. I know the whole song and dance about TV ratings and the West Coast, but frankly I don't care, and I think it's doing more to hurt rather than help the sport. Second, the pre-race show has become way to elaborate. It's almost an hour of talk, music, and fancy montages. Cut it all! Give me five minute update of what's happened in the week, then drop the green flag.
And that concludes the 2007 season, y'all come back now, hear?