But more on that later. Formula 1 gets fired up on the 17th of March, down under, and it's only a few more days after that that we get to see the start of the IndyCar season. I know we have fans of all kinds of racing on this site, and it's about time for you to have a forum to voice your thoughts and predictions. In the meantime, we have our resident racing fanatics ready to tell us what they think about the coming seasons.
Once again, I am joined by Eric (gearhead), Jen (JenX63) and Scott. Let's see what they have to say.
1. The NASCAR season is well underway, now with three races under our belt. Is there any other racing you intend to follow this year?
Scott: I usually follow IndyCar and some of the local dirt track racing in and around the Midwest. I've never really gotten into F1 or the NHRA.
Eric: Ah, dirt tracking. That's an experience I've always wanted to have, but it's hard here in the East Coast. But, IndyCar, IndyCar, IndyCar. The wait has been excruciating. I also follow F1 to a point (hard to be up for those races), and NHRA and sports cars to some extent.
Debi: So, if I understand you correctly, Eric, you like IndyCar? I like anything racing. F1, IndyCar, NHRA, motorcycles, anything!
Jen: NHRA and Motocross
2. Formula 1 gets underway In Australia on March 17th, and unlike NASCAR, they have a plethora of teams, car brands and driver nationalities. It truly is a "world wide" sport, not just North American. Have you ever watched an F1 race? If so, do you have any favorite drivers or makes of car?
Scott: I've maybe seen bits and pieces of a F1 race and I could name off a couple of drivers who I know of from last season when i use to input game centers on the calendar but I honestly don't have a favorite driver or a make of car.
Eric: When the times allow, I watch F1 races, even though I've never really had a favorite, except for disliking Schumacher. For this season, the key is probably if Ferrari can get closer to Red Bull mechanically. The conventional wisdom from last year was that Alonso was a better driver than Vettel, but Ferrari was too far behind Red Bull and thus Vettel ended up champion. If the cars are closer together this year, Alonso can dethrone Vettel. I'm also wondering if Mercedes and Lewis Hamilton can show that their partnership was for any reason other than the dump truck full of money they parked in front of Hamilton's house.
Jen: I tried to watch a race, not sure if it was F1 or Indy.
Debi: Sundays in our house can be a little ridiculous. Sometimes there is an F1 race at 5am, then an IndyCar race, followed by a NASCAR race. Sometimes I really luck out and get NHRA or a motocross as a bonus!
3. So much has been made of Danica Patrick in NASCAR. The media cannot stop talking about her. However, she is far from the first woman to drive a race car. IndyCar now has Simona De Silvestro, to name one. NHRA has all of John Force's daughters, among others. But even before them, there was Angelle Seeling, driving a motorcycle down the quarter mile stretch. Do you think the media is making too much of Danica, or should we have been paying attention all along to the women of racing?
Eric: Of course they're making too much of a deal over Danica. She's a personable, marketable, and yes talented (you don't have her Indy 500 results if you suck) race car driver. It will die down in a few years. The other ladies aren't in a popular enough series (and in Simona's case, is the wrong nationality) to consume as much oxygen. It is what it is.
Scott: Nascar has been making a big deal out of Danica since she started driving in the Nationwide Series. I expect a lot more races like what we've seen the last two weeks and in time, I expect less and less coverage unless she starts to really become a player in the series. For now, she's a sideshow attraction that Nascar hopes to cash in on with women and men who aren't big time auto racing fans. She'll no doubt get her endorsements but hopefully, we will see less and less of her on race day unless she's in consideration to win a race.
Eric: The way it happened in IndyCar is that the Danica coverage was only as warranted when the race was on Versus/NBC Sports Network. On ABC/ESPN though, the joke was that during a battle for the lead, Marty Reid would go "and let's check in on Danica, she's in 17th." Since ESPN covers races, and FOX specializes in propagandizing, I doubt the attention is going to calm down any time soon.
Scott: For the most part, the coverage of Danica in Sunday's race is about what I expect for most of the rest of the season. Outside of the one instance late where the announcers acknowledged how much she struggled and tried to attribute that to the fact that qualifying was rained out, the only other shots of Danica were when she was in the same frame with the leaders trying not to lose another lap in the race. I think Nascar got what they wanted out of Danica in terms of publicity and ratings for their biggest race of the season when she won the pole for Daytona. I think GoDaddy.com only wants to promote their site and have bigger, more important things in the future for Danica other then winning or being competitive in Nascar races.
Jen: She is the flavor of the month. In past years we have had other drivers paraded about and talked about non stop. Angelle is/was something to watch.
Debi: I loved watching Angelle. I love watching the Force girls. I cheer for Simona. None of them are forced on me. I get the same amount of information about them that I get about any other competitor, which is the way it should be.
4. If the media offered more information and coverage of other forms of racing would you watch?
Scott: Being a motorsports fan, more is always better.
Debi: Couldn`t have said it better, Scott. I`ve always said, I am first a foremost a racing fan. NASCAR just happens to be my favorite style of racing.
Eric: Herein lies the catch-22. Other forms of racing won't get more coverage until more people are watching, but without more coverage, will more people watch? For IndyCar, I know I can go to Curt Cavin at the Indy Star, Marshall Pruett and Robin Miller at SPEED.com, Jenna Fryer at the AP sometimes, and the blogs. Until IndyCar can get some traction, that will have to be enough.
Jen: I will only watch the racing I enjoy.
Debi: See, I watch any kind of racing. If I don`t enjoy a particular race, I`ll change the channel, but I don`t count out the racing style, just that race.
5. Was there anything about this past week in NASCAR that you feel deserves further mention?
Scott: I'm definitely interested in seeing how far this whole Denny Hamlin versus Nascar thing goes. Part of the excitement of a race is hearing a drivers reaction during or after it. I hate the idea of a driver being censored when it comes to giving us an honest assessment of the sport they are in. I also think Matt Kenseth winning in Vegas is a big deal. He's looked really good making that transition from Ford and I still think he is going to be a major player in the race for the championship.
Eric Other than the obvious stuff. ;) Well, I hope Sam Hornish's performance and skill starts to get more noticed with his Nationwide win. When Sprint Cup didn't work out the first time, he just put his nose to the grindhouse and worked his butt, and took going down to Nationwide without a fuss. Now he's got a good early points lead in N'wide, and is looking like a guy who deserves a Cup ride again.
Jen: not really
Debi: I really enjoyed the race. I loved that they were able to run side by side without wrecking. I can`t wait for more. I am in agreement with you, though, Scott, that NASCAR needs to get over themselves. No one is going to hate the car, simply because a driver says he doesn`t know know if he likes it yet. If anything, I could hear more fans saying suck it up princess and learn how to drive!!
6. Matt Kenseth won Sunday in his third race with a new race team. If you watched the race, you heard him telling his spotter what information he needed and what he needed his spotter to do. I thought it was incredible that he was able to hold off Kasey, tell his spotter what he needed, drive with his mirrors, and still win the race. Were you as impressed as I? Do you think, after only three races, that Matt could be a legitimate contender for the Championship?
Jen: I watched the race. I have always been impressed with Matt and his demeanor. I have waited for 3 years for him to move to another team. I never really thought he got what he needed once he won the Championship for Roush. As for his "championship" hopes? Still to early for me to bet or guess.
Eric: It was an impressive run by a team that's still gelling together, especially holding off the dominant car. No one ever seems to talk about Kenseth, but he's probably one of the top five drivers in the series (top ten at absolute worst), and he has a good chance of being in the mix in the end.
Debi: I really like Ana, but this is really the kind of news that open wheel racing as a whole needs. Anytime you can bring in brother rivalries or teammates, father/son, father/daughter or what have you, it brings attention to the sport.
We have a busy week of racing coming up. If you'd like to see more about a certain kind of racing, let us know. If you want to join in our discussion, please do! The more the merrier. Next week, Eric (remember he likes IndyCar) will fill us in on what to watch with the opening race in IndyCar, who to keep our eyes on and what to expect in the coming season. After all, he'll be live at the Indianapolis 500, and I'm sure he'll give us some first hand accounts of what he sees.
Thanks for reading!