Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Underfunded Teams Show They Matter in Talladega

Recently many media sources and members have reached out on social media to show their opinions of the Underfunded teams of NASCAR. Many weren't friendly or rejoicing. These teams are teams who work Twice as Hard with 75% less funds than the higher dollar teams have and this past weekend you may have heard some of them getting notification on television and MRN. These teams are the ones that sometimes get laughed at for finishing 20th and celebrating but deep down that's just like a win for them.
One key driver who stuck out Sunday in the field of forty was Michael McDowell. McDowell made it all the way into the Top 5 at one time but after being involved in two wrecks, McDowell finished 21st. McDowell is one of the top drivers of the underfunded drivers and can commonly be found behind the wheel of any car he can get his hands on. McDowell has drove for the highest funded teams like Joe Gibbs Racing and Team Penske and some of the lowest like Whitney Motorsports and MacDonald Motorsports. Drivers like McDowell have some of the brightest talent.
Look at drivers like Jeffrey Earnhardt who have countless talent, they just never get that chance to show it in high money rides but when we get to tracks like Daytona and Talladega they can. True Jeffrey hasn't had the opportunity to race at two tracks his grandfather was so great at but I can guarantee if he had the shot he would not disappoint. These are the drivers and teams who do not have a voice in this world and that is what I am trying to do. Drivers like Chris Cockrum, Michael McDowell, Ryan Ellis, Derrike Cope, Landon Cassill, Cole Whitt and many more are drivers who need more media attention and be held to the same podium as some of the top drivers in NASCAR.
At Talladega this year these drivers proved they matter just as much as the other drivers. Clint Bowyer was a prime example of something and someone's voice about his performance next week was slightly sour in my mind. Clint finished 7th which was a great finish compared to how the rest of 2016 has gone and Bowyer of course notices that but one thing I will give him kudos for is the fact of never giving up. I guess it's that search for Happiness or just the plain and simple love for what they do that keeps not just Bowyer going but also drivers like Gase, Anderson, Cassill, Allmendinger, Whitt and many more. Jordan Anderson made it clearer to me on why these teams matter and its just the love we have for this sport. You have to go through hard times to get to those good times and when you have those Great times they feel even sweeter.
These are the teams that matter. I'm not saying the others don't but we make it seem like it's just them out there and these other teams are teams too! (Koelle,2016)

Crashes a Reality at Talladega.

Whether you liked it or not Sunday was a race filled with crashes rather it be a big one in one of the turns or a car being sent airborne. Many fans and drivers chimed in their opinion on the situation Sunday and many did not like the fact that we saw some of the biggest crashes of the 2016 Season but luckily fans and drivers all walked away from the track without any injuries and when it came to fans I saw tons of smiles and faces left in awe of what we just saw. The fact that some drivers were involved in wrecks numerous times and were still in the running for the victory in the latter part of the race like Austin Dillon, Michael McDowell among a few others.
Many fans and media outlets were questioning what we need to change and I think that is the wrong question to be asking. Yes someone could be killed but someone could be killed at Bristol or Indianapolis or heck even Dover and we don't question these. Safety has been tested and we're lucky that we have not killed someone or had someone seriously injured. When it comes to Superspeedway nothing needs to be changed. If you ask fans their opinion of Sunday's race I feel many will give you the answer that it was one of the best races in a very long time. That's my personal opinion. Despite the giant wrecks, we had side by side racing, four wide racing, and a thrilling finish that was ended with an issue that I will address in another article. Sunday's race needs no questions asked and In fact it deserves an encore performance and I expect we will see that this Saturday night in Kansas. Superspeedway races
always have these risks but heck so do the smaller tracks. It is simply in the form where if it's your time to go it's your time and you can't prevent it.(Koelle,2016)

Safety put to the Test in Chris Cockrum Accident

On Saturday during the Sparks Energy 300, Chris Cockrum got a bump from Garrett Smithley in the wrong part of the track sending him down into Joey Gase.
"My spotter let me know he was gonna bump me in the center of the corner in which he did but the second bump he did was at the worst part of the track. Because at that point on the track the cars unload and get very light exiting the corner so when he bumped me it just turned the car and had the 52 not been there I think I would have been able to save it" stated Cockrum in a one on one interview I had with him. Cockrum would then shoot down the track hitting the inside retaining wall nose first sending him into a 360 spin in mid-air. I asked Cockrum what his first thoughts were as he was barreling toward the wall and his answer may surprise you. "I didn't think anything but this is gonna hurt so I just released the steering wheel and held on to the
seat belts and when I hit the wall as the car was spinning I noticed the throttle was hung wide open so as I was spinning I had to reach up and cut the motor off." Chris Cockrum and Joey Gase's cars were both unrepairable relegating both to terrible finishes at a track that both have had success at in the past. This type of crash along with the one Joey Logano and Blake Koch were involved in at the end are true testaments to how far NASCAR has gotten in Safety Innovation. We appreciate Chris Cockrum for taking time to tell us about his horrific crash and we are really thankful he walked away! (Koelle,2016)