I left work Saturday night at 10:45 p.m., with at least four television sets fixated on soccer’s Gold Cup final between the U.S. and Mexico.
No, I don’t get it, either.
But that’s OK. I enjoy and write about two athletic endeavors that many others don’t get — NASCAR and professional wrestling. Live and let live, right?
Undoubtedly, though, at some point soon I’ll end up in one of those classic water cooler conversations where folks defend their favorite sport’s legitimacy, and I’d like to be able to at least hold my own.
Gang, if somebody brings up Saturday’s Nationwide race in Wisconsin, I’m screwed.
“OK, Josh, so this guy won the race because it ended when the caution flag was thrown and he was in front,” soccer fan says. “But then he wasn’t the winner because he didn’t have enough gas to make it to the end of the race, even though they weren’t really racing at that point? And he only ran out of gas because they kept extending the race past the distance they said they were going to run?”
What am I supposed to come back with? Other than David Beckham’s wife, the former Posh Spice, going out in public scowling like the warden in some women-in-prison flick, I got nothing.
The truth is that Justin Allgaier screaming congratulations to his team just seconds before his car slowed was the worst moment in NASCAR since the 2008 Brickyard 400 was rendered a joke thanks to tires that couldn’t last 10 laps.
Luck may be a definitive element in auto racing, but Reed Sorenson’s win was so random the teams could have saved on engine rebuilds by swiping the NBA lottery’s ping-pong ball machine, pulling out a number and sending the haulers back east.
This was awful, although the fix may be simple enough. NASCAR tracks, much like baseball stadiums, have markedly different dimensions. Baseball accounts for the individuality of its fields with different ground rules.
Time for NASCAR to take a lesson. You simply can’t have up to three green-white-checker finishes at a four-mile road course. People will win the race, then lose it, again, and the only emotion anyone will have other than the winner is utter deflation.
If NASCAR doesn’t want different rules for different tracks, then lay down the law for everywhere they race. If a yellow falls on the last lap of a green-white-checker finish, then the guy in the lead at that time is the winner, whether he can make it back to the finish line or not. It is simply a formality at that point, holding all the importance of a pitcher delivering to the plate during an intentional walk. The drivers had enough gas to make it to the scheduled distance, so you can’t say they didn’t deserve it.
I have a feeling NASCAR will get this one fixed.
Just stay away from your soccer friends until then.