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Author Topic: Team USA  (Read 424 times)
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« on: March 07, 2006, 06:42:09 PM »

There is a lot of talk about international sports right now.

The Winter Olympics have been over for a little more than a week.  The World Baseball Classic began last weekend in Japan and the first pitch of the competition in the U.S. will be thrown in about a half hour.  The World Cup of soccer will grab the world's attention in June and July, and the World Basketball Championship in August will be the first test in the U.S. team's plans to restore supremacy.

And, of course, last weekend NASCAR went international once again as the Busch Series ran in Mexico.

So this leads to the question of what would happen if auto racing had a true Olympic or World Cup competition.  (No, the Race of Champions and A-1 Series don't count.  The ROC is too gimmicky and A-1 is for up-and-coming drivers, a global ProCup Series of sorts.)

The competition would probably be held on a road course, and the drivers will use Daytona Prototypes, LeMans cars, or something similar.

Here, I will name my "Team USA" selections.  But first, these drivers just missed my team:
--Jeff Gordon (yes, him!)  He would have been a shoo-in as late as two years ago, but he failed to make the 2005 Chase and his struggles have continued into this year.
--Jimmie Johnson has too little road-course experience.
--Dale Earnhardt, Jr. has spotty credentials and would have to overcome thoughts of a fiery crash at Sonoma.
--Boris Said has a great record, but would be better as a coach.
--No one from ChampCar or IndyCar makes it because there are no real American stars on these circuits.  The split has hurt the efforts of both series to retain top talent on these shores.

Now, for my selections:
--Tony Stewart: The incredibly talented driver is, of course, the two-time Nextel Cup champion and has titles in IndyCar and USAC as well--in short, the most glittering resume since his idol A.J. Foyt.  He has more road-course victories than any other active NASCAR driver except Gordon.  Also, his enthusiasm and patriotism cannot be questioned.
--Mark Martin: Another star of NASCAR's occasional road course runs, his veteran savvy would be invaluable to the team effort.  He would bring both ability and leadership to this team.
--Casey Mears: This rising star hasn't won a Cup race, but everyone thinks it's just a matter of time before he does.  Mears won the Rolex 24 at Daytona this past January with Dan Wheldon and Scott Dixon.  Those drivers were the first visitors to the sports-car world ever to win the most prestigious endurance race in the U.S.

So there's my team.  What's yours?

If you think Gordon is in, who's out?

Buddy Wayne Barefoot, unhappy with Baby Brian's handiwork, finds his true passion.Smiley
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