Top Row Seat - PhoenixDateline: 11/4/97
This week Dale Jarrett absolutely dominated. To come from nearly a lap down to the front of the field without a caution is truly remarkable. This performance is echoed in the amazing year that DJ is having. This week's win brings him to 15 lifetime victories, nearly half of them (7) from this season.
But the biggest win for DJ on my scorecard this weekend was remembering his daughters' gymnastics competitions. With all of the pressure of a Winston Cup race and a grueling points battle, he still kept in all in perspective and remembered the important stuff. Congratulations DJ.
Ricky Craven got into the race on an obscure rule where NASCAR has the right to fill the field at it's discretion based on car owner points. Adding Craven to the race made it a 43 car field. I always thought that 42 cars was the maximum, with the exception of a possible champion's provisional. If this is true then why not invoke this rule all the time?
I can certainly understand allowing as many people to race as possible. But why start now? What makes Craven more valuable to the race than Dave Marcis? I'm sure there were races this year where Dave would have been eligible for the 43rd starting spot.
I'm not questioning the rule, I think it's a good idea. I am questioning NASCAR's selective use of it. If we're going to say that the field is not full until we have 43 cars then let's start 43 every week. Let's not start 43 just because the eligible guy going home happens to be from one of the "superteams."
My only consolation is that the guy I believed did not belong in the field finished dead last and as a result didn't affect the race a great deal.
What I want to know is who is the genius from TNN who thought that a camera would survive 312 laps mounted on the wall at the exit to turn two? Just a few laps into the race Craven swung wide off of turn two and bounced the camera around. He was then followed in short order by Bobby Labonte who really scraped the wall hard and took the camera out.
I love the shots we get from that angle. But the camera doesn't do anybody any good if it doesn't finish the race, not to mention the fact that it's got to be expensive.
Since the boys have the week off to prepare for the final points race of the season in Atlanta I'm going to hold off on my comments about the Winston Cup title race and the newly redesigned Atlanta Motor Speedway for now. They will appear in this space next week.... Stay Tuned.
Go Fast, Turn Left, Stay Safe!
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