Wednesday, September 30, 2009

On ThorSport, Johnny Benson, Logano's flip, and a little irony

Johnny Sauter dominated the Truck race out in Las Vegas on Saturday. After how well that truck has performed recently - read that as after the addition of Joe Shear, Jr. as crew chief - it shouldn't come as a big surprise. Yet there are still people who are surprised that a team based in Ohio with no real connection to a Cup program can win. They shouldn't be. ThorSport has assembled all of the pieces needed to be a championship contender: they have great trucks, great people, great sponsorship programs, and an owner that refuses to quit. Throughout the years numerous people have told Duke Thorson he couldn't win based in Ohio, and that had only strengthened his resolve. Now he has two teams among the top five in the series standings, and if not for a slow start by Sauter's team he could have two in the top three. No one has scored more points than Sauter in the last six races, and that's exactly why Ray Dunlap predicted early in the year that he would be the champion. He missed the mark a little but not by much. The economics of the series continue to change, but ThorSport remains on very solid ground. Look for Sauter and Crafton to figure very heavily in the 2010 championship battle.

I don't think I want to see him retire from driving quite yet, but as soon as Johnny Benson, Jr. calls it a career behind the wheel SPEED needs to hire him to be the permanent third voice in the NCWTS booth. He did a fantastic job during the three races he worked and the entire series will benefit from having someone with his experience and professionalism handling color analyst duties.

As should be predicted any time there is a significant crash with the "COT", there are columnists and fans alike lighting up blogs and message boards everywhere saying how Joey Logano would most certainly be dead if not for the safety features built into the new car. Yes, Logano's wreck was spectacular and the car did what it was designed to do. But again, must I point out the thousands of crashes in the "old" car in which drivers hopped out and walked away from? It's like every crash in that old car left drivers hobbled or dead, and that's simply not the case. The old car was plenty safe. There are hundreds of clips on YouTube of crashes involving the "old" car - and most of them resulted in no injuries at all. The "COT" was directly responsible for this particular crash too because Tony Stewart couldn't see through Logano's car to know that Bobby Labonte was coming down the track forcing Logano to get off the gas ever so slightly. Spotters are great but no spotter in the world can see something happen in a split second and relay that on to the driver. Drivers should be able to see what's happening in front of them, and that's something that needs to be worked out with the new car.

Anyone else think it was ironic that in the City of Lights the start of the race was delayed because a bank of lights went out?

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