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Author Topic: An era passes before our eyes...  (Read 603 times)
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Desmond
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« on: October 13, 2004, 04:24:21 PM »

The retirement plans of Terry Labonte is just the latest sign of the end of NASCAR as we have known it for years.

The title sponsor has changed.  So have the cars they drive, the fuel in those cars, the points system they use to determine the champion, the TV networks showing the races, and so much more.  And, of course, Dale Earnhardt is dead.

Now the youth movement is well underway.

Goodbye, Bill Elliott, Rusty Wallace, T. Labonte, and Mark Martin.  Hello, Brian Vickers, Kyle Busch, Carl Edwards, and who knows who else.  

Even grassroots racing isn't the same.  The Nextel Cup development programs have infiltrated ARCA, ASA and may even come to a short track near you.  The search for racing talent is as cutthroat as it has become in any walk of life.

Busting your butt for years hoping to get noticed is no longer the answer for aspiring racers.  If you didn't start before, say, 10 years old, it's too late.

We all agree that the era is new.  But is it any better than before?
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Cheryl
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« Reply #1 on: October 13, 2004, 04:41:39 PM »

I guess I take a little exception to the examples you mentioned (Vickers, Busch, and Edwards).  To me, at least they have worked their way up through stock car (or truck) ranks.  More so, than the Kasey Kahnes, JJ Yeleys, or that guy who wears his hat sideways (Tyler Walker, I think)...

Personally, I have no problem with "young guns" per se. IF they have a stock car background...I have always had a problem with guys just "cherrypicking" certain events to get a little taste of stock cars and when they, of course, win in superior equipment, someone decides they are the "new phenom" and put them in a Cup car.  

Vickers worked his way up through Hooters Cup, then did two years in Busch (one before he was ever noticed by Hendrick), and now is in Cup.  Kyle is finishing his second year in Busch.  I don't think he's quite ready for Cup yet, but obviously his car owner thinks otherwise.  Edwards probably would have done another year in trucks had not Burton left the 99 car.  But so far, he's done a good job and not been a hazard to others in Cup.  

But I do hate that someone has decided that people like Terry and Rusty are no longer suitable for the "new NASCAR."  

Cheryl "who guess she won't be a "suitable" fan much longer either...
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Desmond
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« Reply #2 on: October 14, 2004, 04:10:16 PM »

The backgrounds of these "young guns" doesn't matter to me as much as their attitudes.  Will they be as wholesome, selfless and fan-friendly as their predecessors?  Or will they follow the same path as Tony Stewart?

Will these drivers trip over themselves to be as "hip" as possible, with the hottest girlfriends, most MTV appearances, and biggest "street cred"?

We know that auto racing is not like other sports.  Let's hope it stays that way.
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old hot rodder
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« Reply #3 on: October 14, 2004, 06:28:31 PM »

Cheryl, for once I don't quite agree with you. TLAB Mark and Rusty are each great drivers and will always be recognized as such. But time moves on and each of us gets older. Poor Mark could hardly contain his criticism of plate racing after Talledega, so why should he keep on subjecting himself to the danger after this year and next? He has a fine son, Matt, to help learn racing. I don't think anyone has decided that these guys are no longer fit for today's Nascar, especially in Mark's case.

I'd rather see them quit while they are healthy, ala Bill Elliott, than after a serious wreck, ala Bobby Allison.
JMO....Dick Smiley
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William James
Cheryl
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« Reply #4 on: October 14, 2004, 07:33:58 PM »

Someone just posted on my other group that Mark and Roush just made the announcement that he will retire (or at least leave Cup) at the end of the 2005 season.

I understand what Dick is saying about "going out gracefully" and I couldn't agree more.  It just seems like TV, the media, sponsors, and NASCAR itself seems to be shoving them out the door.  I know they were just rumors we heard a while back, but I wouldn't be surprised if NASCAR didn't approach several of the over-40 drivers and suggest they retire soon.  It just seems too weird for them all to decide to go all of a sudden, you know?

And as much as I like Sterling and Schrader, I hate to say it, but they both ought to be going before Martin, Wallace, or Labonte.  Especially Schrader, who has not won a race in 13 years...

Cheryl
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old hot rodder
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« Reply #5 on: October 14, 2004, 07:49:05 PM »

NOW we agreeCheryl.  :lol: Ken S should quit, but he just can't give up what he loves so much. He is so far past his prime that its not funny, but you can't help but like the guy, and kinda quietly root for him to win just one more time...
 Yes, Jack and Mark did make that announcement a bit ago this PM. Sad, but I would rather see Mark go out on top...
Dick
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William James
marrtinigirl
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« Reply #6 on: October 15, 2004, 12:19:46 AM »

I find myself wondering if after Tony Stewart made those remarks to DW about staying past his prime and having to use provisionals to even make a race the last few years, these other guys didn't stop and go "Dang, I don't want anyone saying that about me."  

Staci
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Cheryl
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« Reply #7 on: October 15, 2004, 12:07:40 PM »

Quote from: "marrtinigirl"
I find myself wondering if after Tony Stewart made those remarks to DW about staying past his prime and having to use provisionals to even make a race the last few years, these other guys didn't stop and go "Dang, I don't want anyone saying that about me."  


I'm sure they were thinking that before Tony made that crack about DW.  I know I was...I think Bill or Terry had to take a Past Champion's Provisional once before DW left, but since he retired, I've noted no one else has had to use it.  So I'm sure Rusty, Terry, DJ and Bill have thought about it (being past champions themselves).  But it was looking pretty iffy for Terry and DJ last night.  Thankfully they were high enough in the points, they just took regular provisionals for this weekend.

Cheryl
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old hot rodder
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« Reply #8 on: October 15, 2004, 03:08:47 PM »

Good points, Staci and Cheryl. I thought that it was strange that Elliott Sadler qualified so well, while D J and Ricky Rudd (another old timer) were really slow and had to take provisionals.
Dick
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Cheryl
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« Reply #9 on: October 15, 2004, 03:12:14 PM »

Quote from: "old hot rodder"
Good points, Staci and Cheryl. I thought that it was strange that Elliott Sadler qualified so well, while D J and Ricky Rudd (another old timer) were really slow and had to take provisionals.


I think the difference is Elliott has the advantage of having Todd Parrot as a crew chief.  He's definitely a guy I count as one of the best crew chiefs we've seen in the last 10 years.  I don't really know what happened that he left DJ, but that team has never been the same since he left.

Cheryl
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