It should be all about the racing, but it isn't
What was noticeable before the race, however, was the drama. At this point in the season, it seems asinine to me that some of these teams are behaving like teenagers, or even younger.
Pat Tryson announced that he is moving from Penske Racing at the end of the season to take over Crew Chief duties for Martin Truex Jr. over at Michael Waltrip Racing.Currently, Pat Tryson is Crew Chief for Kurt Busch, who is in the Chase for the Sprint Cup Championship. Kurt had an incredible run on Sunday and was a challenge to win the race all day long. The last couple of accidents on-track worked against Kurt, and he wound up finishing sixth in the race, lining up in 5th in the Championship standings going into Dover.
I have a problem with the way Penske is handling Tryson impending departure. It was announced a couple of days ago that Tryson has been told he's unwelcome at the shop, except for Tuesdays when the crew meets to recap the weekend. Oh, wow. That's going to help Kurt and the 2 team immensely. Now, before you jump all over me and scream betrayal, let me offer an alternative. It is critical that Pat and his crew have close contact. Pat has said he is communicating with his crew via e-mail, and he is allowed at the team headquarters that one day, but it isn't enough. The brainstorming session they have on Tuesdays will undoubtedly work in giving them ideas on what they can and need to do for the coming race. I understand that Penske is thinking Tryson is going to steal their ideas or notes on the cars, but come on, are we all 8 years old?
Surely there is a way the Company can allow Tryson to go about his work with Kurt in the Team Garage without barring him from the shop. They hired him for his expertise. Pat had no obligation to announce to Penske that he was leaving. If he were thinking about stealing anything, more than likely he would have kept his plans for 2010 a big secret and gone about his work with Penske in a more covert way. Surely Penske can make some adjustments to compromise?
Wait, I guess winning a Championship just isn't as important to them as we thought.
Then there's the Kasey Kahne issue. Richard Petty Motorsports and Yates Racing have announced a merger for 2010. Great. Wonderful. Yates is doing a crappy job right now anyway, so the move makes sense, but who's going to be the boss? That's exactly what Kasey was asking earlier this weekend. He's also in the Chase, or at least he was. Some of the people in the engine department at Richard Petty Motorsports have walked off the job. It seems they feel they are going to be out of a job in 2010 anyway, so this is the way they are protecting themselves. Okay. I'm not a team owner or a Head of R&D or anything else, but my way of thinking is, if you don't have enough loyalty to stay where you were hired to complete a season, especially when your driver is in the Chase for the Championship, I don't want you on my team.
Thanks guys, you walked off the job and Kasey's care detonated. Now he's in 12th place after the first race of the Chase and it is going to take a miracle for him to even come close to winning the Championship. I say shame on you people who walked off. I'd like to make your names public and ensure you never work in NASCAR again.
Then there's the trip to New York. All of the drivers in the top twelve traveled to New York last week and made the rounds of the talk show circuit. This, in my mind, is one of the stupidest ideas ever. Yeah, let's take these guys to the big city, traipse them all over town day after day, have them appear on a dozen or so talk shows, embarrass the hell out of themselves in a pie fight, among other things and make sure their minds are anywhere but on the task at hand - winning ten more races. Absolutely ridiculous.
So, who's to blame for all this dysfunction? Or is it necessary to find blame? Maybe not, but instead of focusing on the Chase and all the races it entails, we are, again, looking at the stories that should have no place in the Chase.
Call me hypocrite because now, instead of giving you an update on the race and the Chase, as I normally would, I too, am focusing on the matters that are aside of the Chase. Shame on me.
What do you think? Am I way off base here? Are these stories really part of the whole thing that is the Chase? Or should these drivers be permitted to focus on driving and winning? Or are these the types of adversities that make a driver "tough" and "a winner"?