#QuestionsForKristen: Confused fans, Silly Season, and Canada, Eh?

Once again, I have asked my amazing Twitter followers to send in NASCAR-related questions I can sound-off on. And, once again, I have written a novella for each inquiry.

With sass and bluntness, I have given my opinion on topics ranging from Silly Season prospects to Denny Hamlin’s injury to Twitter hate.

Welcome to September, the beginning of The Chase, and the wildest part of the season!

Ryan Newman in the No. 78 or a fourth RCR car? -@tim_rfr_pr_rpm

Newman’s hopes for a ride next year is slowly disintegrating, with Kyle Larson’s announcement of filling the No. 42 for Earnhardt-Ganassi Racing breaking Friday. Another potential seat is filled, and the current Stewart-Haas Racing driver is up a creek without a paddle.

I believe the best fit for him is with Furniture Row Racing and that No. 78. Not only can he help with the technical side (I heard he’s kinda smart with engines), but his situation is similar to Busch’s when he joined FRR: those around him gave up on him, and it seemed like the end.

What Newman lacks isn’t talent; those around him lack confidence in their driver. That’s something at SHR he didn’t need. He’ll get in that No. 78 and knock out some wins.

With Juan Pablo Montoya’s recent good results, do you think he’ll still be in NASCAR in 2014? -@Liam_Redford

When drivers are booted from next year’s lineup, they do rack up nice finishes. Montoya is an example; for someone known for not having any car control, he’s spruced up his on-track act quite nicely. However, this isn’t a special occasion. See Newman at The Brickyard, Clint Bowyer in his last races with Richard Childress Racing, ect.

From what Chip Ganassi said (“I see Montoya and I working together in the future”), I’d say the best bet is in another series. He’s talented, he’s fiery, but he’s not meant for stock cars.

Is [Ricky] Stenhouse finally coming around? – @JustinKrizel

It was surprising to see Stenhouse grab the pole at Atlanta Motor Speedway this past weekend, this first ever NASCAR Sprint Cup honor he’s received. That glimmering light soon faded come race time, where he dropped like a rock into the mid 20s. By the end of the night, he missed out on a top-15 finish, ranking 16th.

Decent result, but is it something to celebrate? Not really. A pole your rookie year looks great on a résumé, but it doesn’t signify a complete breakthrough. He’s got a ways to go.

But what exactly is he supposedly “coming around” to, the unrealistic expectations? Everyone needs to slow down. Well, everyone except Stenhouse. This two-time NASCAR Nationwide Series champion is doing just fine.

Do you think Denny Hamlin should have the back surgery, rest his hand and return [to] title contention [next year]? -@Wonderboyfan24

As I have preached before, I don’t agree with Hamlin’s choice to continue on with his season after injuring his back. The fact that he hurt his hand/wrist in a wreck last week at Bristol doesn’t help, either. The most recent injury seems to be bearable, so that isn’t a concern.

Over the course of this season, I’ve come to realize that my thoughts of him staying out of the car are moot. Along with this came the epiphany: there is no way I can understand what fire possesses Hamlin, or any driver for that matter. What he feels in the car, how the adrenaline numbs the pain, erasing any burning doubts in his mind? I, nor the fans, can equate that to our own lives.

I say let Hamlin race. Because he knows what he wants, and what he can handle, better than I can daydream.

What is the right balance? At [Bristol Motor Speedway], we had “He shoulda moved him!” Yesterday [at Canadian Tire Motorsports Park]? “He shoulda backed off!” -@ourpoppy

What happened at CTMP (when newbie Chase Elliott dumped championship contender Ty Dillon to grab his first Truck win) is definitely a 180-degree flip from what we saw in the closing laps last Saturday night. The battle between Matt Kenseth and Kasey Kahne was subdued, ending in horrid remarks about Kahne’s approach. The driver, who verbally expressed his anger with Joe Gibbs Racing, refused to wreck Kenseth for the win, saying he “just don’t race like that.” Fans are still commenting that Kahne was too soft, that he won’t win a championship that way.

On the other side, we have what went down between Elliott and Dillon, which brought the winner mounds of criticism. Afterwards, Elliott stated, “I hate to win like that, but sometimes you gotta do what you gotta do.” That’s the mentality of a racer summed up in a simple statement.

So, what’s the right balance? None. I don’t think there is an instance where you can avoid controversy from the fans. They are a fickle bunch, but they also don’t know what they want. Do you want wrecks, or do you want clean racing? Tell me, because I’m confused.

Do you think there should be a [NASCAR Sprint Cup Series] race in Canada? -@PensBKPKligGirl

Speaking of the race at CTMP, it was every bit as exciting as it was argumentative. The NASCAR Camping World Truck Series hit a road course (and the country north of the border) for a double dose of history Sunday afternoon. It didn’t disappoint, to say the least.

This track and the stop NNS made in Montreal are both gems, so I don’t see why the Cup series couldn’t race there. Besides, NASCAR needs to embrace their Canadian fans, since the new TV deals the organization has made pushes them aside. Let’s go to Canada, eh.

If you were a driver, would you have a Twitter even though it can be a direct link to hate mail? -@abullins

As I mentioned before, NASCAR fans are a confusing bunch, more confusing than trying to figure out why your girlfriend is mad at you. That Catch 22 extends to social media, where it’s hard to tell what’s asked of a driver. You want them to be open so you can send horribly misspelled rants, right? But then you’d be upset if they deleted their account because the driver “isn’t connecting with the fans”? Please.

If I were a driver, I would definitely have a Twitter, mostly because I’m addicted as it is (@KristenGoRawr is my handle, if you would like to follow me). If fans chose to send me hate mail, then I would call them out, similar to how Jimmie Johnson does to his haters.

If you’re confident enough to press ‘tweet,’ then you should be ready for the recoil.


4 thoughts on “#QuestionsForKristen: Confused fans, Silly Season, and Canada, Eh?”

  1. Why don’t any NASCAR writers mention dollars when discussing silly season moves? Does NASCAR forbid it? Ganassi is saving millions switching to Larson. Mcmurray probably agreed to less pay. Many drivers are driving for 10% or less of the purse ( which is still good money), but guaranteed million dollar salary are leaving quickly. Newman can get a ride but will have to accept a lot less. Plenty of good young drivers willing to drive just for the experience. Please comment, thanks.

    1. Macky,

      Money is a definitely a major part of NASCAR (it is a business, after all), yet it isn’t the only thing. It can’t buy talent or determination. It can’t buy championships or wins.

      To me, money is a non-factor when I look at a driver, but you do make an excellent point. I can see McMurray accepting less money, but I don’t think EGR is necessarily saving money with Larson; they’re actually making more. Face it, the kid has a large following, from Sprint car fanatics to elder NASCAR fans. Endorsements from Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon has helped the hype. Imagine how much the organization will make on merchandising.

      Thank you for bringing this up, and thanks for reading! I appreciate it :)

      -Kristen Schneider

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