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« Darlington would be likely place for Gordon to turn season around | Main | Hendrick Motorsports claims historic 200th victory in Darlington »

Darlington Nationwide: Logano takes out Sadler while Danica and Pastrana dominate the attention

By admin | May 12, 2012

By Richard Allen

 

In the opinion of this writer, Friday’s Nationwide Series race at the Darlington Raceway represented much of what’s going wrong in today’s NASCAR. First, a Sprint Cup regular took out a driver who could have potentially been leading the Nationwide Series standings after the race and then that Cup driver went on to win. Second, two drivers with no real credentials but who are supposed to stand as the new face of the sport dominated the attention during and after the race for doing very little and despite the controversial finish.

On a late race restart, Joe Gibbs Racing driver and Sprint Cup series regular Joey Logano banged the rear bumper of Nationwide Series regular Elliott Sadler as the two attempted to get out to an advantage over Logano’s teammate, Denny Hamlin. The result of the banging was for Sadler’s car to be turned into the outside wall and his night to be ended prematurely.

Sadler is racing for a championship in that division while Logano is not. The irony is that considering Logano’s situation at JGR on the Sprint Cup side, he could easily find himself in the same situation as Sadler next season.

It was pointed out by some that Logano was actually giving Sadler a ‘boost’ by bumping him. As a matter of fact, Hamlin feared that was the case as he discussed the matter with his spotter over their in-car radio prior to the restart in question.

Hamlin directed his spotter to get word to Logano not to bump Sadler on the restart for fear it would push Sadler’s Richard Childress Racing car out to a sizeable lead with only a few laps remaining and hand him the win. “I never got an answer out of the 20(Logano),” was the reply from Hamlin’s spotter when he urged the teammate not to ‘boost’ Sadler.

But the fact that Logano was actually trying to help Sadler, and thus himself, is irrelevant. What is relevant is that he hit Sadler hard enough to take him out, and thus, play a role in the Nationwide Series points championship.

And apparently, the ’boost’ had been less than appreciated by Sadler and his team when it had been performed by Logano early in the race. “The 20 didn’t wreck us the first two times he hit us so he got us again,” Salder’s spotter replied when asked by Richard Childress what had happened.

Now don’t get me wrong, I like aggressive racing and drivers trying to win rather than settle for a “good points day”. The real issue I have here is simply the fact that someone with no thoughts of running for a championship damaged the chances of someone who is running for a championship. In other words, my real issue is with Cup drivers racing in the lower divisions, as it has been for a long time.

And speaking of folks not in contention for a championship but playing a role in the race, or at least the race coverage and the post-race chatter, how about Danica Patrick and Travis Pastrana?

In case you haven’t heard(and you would have had to be unconscious for that to be true), those two drivers finished 12th and 17th respectively in their first starts at the tough old Darlington Raceway. And also in case you haven’t heard, “It was a victory in and of itself just for them to finish and get those laps in” and “They kept the fenders on their cars and stayed out of trouble” and “You have to be impressed with how they handled racing here on this track that has chewed up so many veteran drivers in the past” and so on and so on.

Of course, I am being a bit mean spirited with the comments posted above. However, there are only so many times statements like those need to be made, and they are made multiple times on a weekly basis. And, they were made over and over on Friday night about two drivers who have major sponsors and are in great equipment but ran mid-pack all night until attrition moved them forward at the end.

Good for them.

What’s really sad, or actually pathetic, about these two is not only the way they are gushed over on a weekly basis but how NASCAR and its media partners have gambled so much on the success or failure of such unproven, yet overly hyped, ‘stars’. It’s as if they are playing an early round at the ‘World Series of Poker’ and have decided to push all of their chips to the center of the table with only a pairs of fives in their hand.

And this gamble is all for the sake of a quick ratings pop and the hope of drawing in a new and previously untapped demographic. That strategy has not exactly been working well in recent years, but who knows, maybe it’s time to hit the jackpot on this spin of the wheel.

Anyway, those are my thoughts from Friday night’s Nationwide race. I am not covering any dirt races this weekend because Darlington is my favorite track and I wanted to watch these races live rather than on the DVR. I hope the Sprint Cup event will prove worthy of that choice, but after last night and considering who’s in the Saturday race, I’m now less than encouraged.

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6 Responses to “Darlington Nationwide: Logano takes out Sadler while Danica and Pastrana dominate the attention”

  1. Sue Rarick Says:
    May 12th, 2012 at 8:13 am

    I hate to point this out but nobody has mentioned that Brad did the same thing to Lagano on the last restart. The difference being that Lagano kept control of the car and then went on to win.

    Granted neither was in a points race, but a win is a win and in my opinion the only thing that counts. I’ll let others worry about a system that nobody paid attention to untill Junior Johnson and I believe it was Yarborough decided they were going to specifically run for a championship, rather than outright wins.

    I remember reading back then about how they were made fun of because they’d go back t the garage and come back with a few laps to go just to get a few useless points. How times have changed. Today it seems a win is an afterthought.

  2. Russ Says:
    May 12th, 2012 at 9:06 am

    Sue, that is a point so many overlook today. And look at the result to the “sport”. Talk about unintended consequences.

  3. midasmicah Says:
    May 12th, 2012 at 10:11 am

    Great article Rich! Anyone who thinks what Logano did was justified is delusional. This is the only way Logano is going to win races. His only win in cup was because of rain. Sadler is fighting to keep his racing career alive and a cup driver puts a big dent in his championship hopes.

  4. Steven Says:
    May 12th, 2012 at 1:33 pm

    Logano needs to run better with the big boys. Home Depot must be sick of him by now. And Danica is pretty much uncompetitive despite the spin that has been used to insult the intelligence of Nascar fans by Nascar and the broadcasters. The Nationwide series is a joke outside of the few competitive teams out for the wins. Of course Idiot Sadler is obsessed with points but he isn’t going anywhere. We had Big Bill and Petty, now we have Brian France and Danica. OK?

  5. zhills fan Says:
    May 12th, 2012 at 5:22 pm

    Steve, the cup series is the same way as the nationwide series as far as having only a few competitive teams. It’s usually about 24 good cars and the rest are subpar cars starting, and you know several are start and parkers.

  6. Tony Geinzer Says:
    May 12th, 2012 at 6:45 pm

    Rich, I am perfectly fine and dandy being fed up with “Joey Jerk” and when can he be free like James Stewart for his Joe Gibbs Experience?

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