What Do We Race Fans Do Now?
Written by Rob Layman   
Tuesday, 04 December 2012 04:36

The annual Snowball Derby has now come and gone, which with the exception of a couple of mid-winter specials; usually signifies the end of the racing season. What are we going to do now?

As a huge fan of the sport, I now find myself twiddling my thumbs on the weekends!

With regards to the Snowball Derby, there are a few tidbits that seem to bear mention. Sixteen-year-old Michigan driver Erik Jones came home the victor after what was described as a terrific battle with Kyle Busch over the last twenty laps.

Jones was the second sixteen-year-old winner in a row, as Chase Elliott was the winner last year. As a matter of fact, Elliott won Saturday’s prelim race the Snowflake 100 making it an all teenager victory circle over the weekend.

The Derby had a field of 60 cars trying to make the 37-car starting field which was the largest since 2008. By winning the Derby, Jones became only the second driver in history to win the two biggest Late Model races in Florida. The other being the Governor’s Cup which has its own great history as an event. The other driver to win both races also happens to be from Michigan, the great Ed Howe.

I read a report today that Roger Penske has officially offered the great Tony Stewart an opportunity to try to pull the Indy/Charlotte “double” off for 2013. I hope Stewart makes an attempt at this, it would be great to see him add the “500” to his resume as a winner; and I know how much it would mean to him as well.

A video that really made me laugh, when during Tony Stewart’s “Stewie Awards”, Matt Kenseth came out to accept an award and playing lobbed a helmet to Stewart. It’s good to see that there can be humor off the track after tensions escalate on the speedway.

Also saw a quote from Jimmie Johnson stating that maybe some of the race tracks configurations should be looked at in an effort to increase the competition at some of the facilities. I could not agree more, which leads me to a few stats that seem to be aligned right with that idea.

Over the 2012 Sprint Cup season, there were 62 less caution periods than in 2011 and an astonishing 89 less than in 2009. Yes this means more green flag racing which is a good thing, but it seems to indicate that maybe it’s solely because the field is just strung out and nobody is actually able to race.

During the race at California Speedway in Fontana, California (or whatever it is called) the whole race went by with only a single caution. I don’t remember much action during that race, but it was many months ago.

The second race at Kansas however had 14 cautions, and a majority of the action in that race seemed to be related to tire issues more than hard nose racing. Even with the drop in cautions over the season there were ten races that went into overtime which was up from 2011.

This tells me that for most of the races the racers are riding around more biding their time, then perhaps losing their mind when it gets to the last few laps. Hmmmm, very interesting.

One last note for the week, in this year’s rain delayed to Monday night Daytona 500; there was an amazing 21% of the race run under caution. Folks that is 105 miles of the 500 mile distance!

Until next week, keep the shiny side up and come on 2013!