Motorsport News

Getting NASCAR Out of the Junk Drawer

2024 Cup Chicago street pack racing II - Christopher Bell, No. 20 Joe Gibbs Racing Toyota (Credit: Meg Oliphant/Getty Images via NASCAR Media)

More years ago than I’d like to admit, there was a local sports columnist who would occasionally write a piece that he called “cleaning out his desk drawers,” or write about several items he’d been thinking about but which didn’t necessarily need a column of their very own. 

As a journalism student, I always pictured the seasoned writer opening his metaphorical desk and pulling out a stack of neatly organized file folders labeled with different topics, or maybe a neat stack of index cards, in alphabetical order of course.

I pictured myself someday opening a similarly organized mental drawer of my own, full of carefully thought-out and provocative ideas, color-coded and ripe for discussion, all there for my taking.

A couple of decades in, my mental drawer looks more like a junk drawer. You know the one: you have to squash down the 26 recipes you printed but never actually made just to open it. Then you pick through seven confiscated cat toys, a charging cable from five phones ago, two coupons that expired in 1995, what used to be a roll of Life Savers, 13 thumbtacks, six assorted race car stickers, a yo-yo and exactly 62 pens, only half of which write, to find the screwdriver you were looking for…and oh, $#!&, it’s a Philips head. WTF.

Admit it, you know exactly what I’m talking about because you have the same drawer.

Most of the stuff is useful, but it’s all tossed in there with a few things that should have been thrown out in the last millennium.

I just didn’t think my brain’s idea drawer would be like that, too. Most of what’s up there is interesting (to me, anyway) and relevant, along with a couple of grudges and some really stupid questions. 

Anyhow, the mental drawer is full, so here are some thoughts that fell out of it.

So, how about that weather?

Rain has affected the last month or so of the NASCAR schedule. It’s frustrating for teams and it’s frustrating for fans. June, July and August are tough months to schedule. In the few places where thunderstorms aren’t likely to pop up on a hot day, it’s summer-in-the-desert hot, too hot for much human outdoor activity.

On one hand, NASCAR has come up with a tire that can be raced on certain tracks in some wet conditions. Sunday’s (July 7) race on the Chicago street course showed why racing in heavy rain or on a very wet track just isn’t feasible—the spray from the cars makes it impossible to see, and that’s dangerous for…

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