Last fall as I was mourning Tony Stewart’s injury, I got a Twitter alert that Gene Haas had signed Kurt Busch to drive a 4th car for Stewart-Haas Racing. I immediately poured another glass of wine. Now, I was proudly cheering for Kurt to make the Chase and win the damn title for Front Row, if my man Junior couldn’t win it. But hearing that he was joining SHR was shocking to me. I couldn’t really decide if I was stoked or horrified by the possibilities for the 2014 season. I knew Kurt had made some life altering decisions since that whole meltdown at Penske and he damn sure seemed to come out a better man after doing so. He was finishing races well for a single car team without the resources of the mega-teams. In other words, he was running with, and beating, the big dogs each weekend, even though he didn’t have the equipment they had. Kurt’s driving was right back on par with his 2004 season. He seemed to have gotten his edge back; he got his mojo back. I should have just been ecstatic for him. Instead, I was scared. My knee jerk reaction was that this was just gonna be awful. For him as well as SHR. See, Kurt was my comeback story. I was rooting for him. I have to admit, I could not stand him when he was at Roush and then Penske. But, I guess it was me that changed. As the sport has “evolved”, I have become a bit disgusted with where it has gone in recent years. It is just too PC for me. If you don’t follow NASCAR, that makes ZERO sense to you. If you do, you feel me. Drivers like Kurt and Kyle used to rile my emotions in a bad, bad, way. But now, I dig it. I like emotional athletes. I want to hear what they really think. It fires up the fans. Makes it interesting, which I something NASCAR lacks these days. Hell, Jimmie just accomplished one of the most amazing achievements in professional sports, and some may say he is still the 4th most popular driver in his own organization. NASCAR needs someone to bring the excitement back to the track. Well, I suppose there is a relatively new organization that is poised to do just that. Stewart-Haas has THE girl. The girl that once got into a shoving match, with a fellow INDY Car driver, who was a MALE. The girl that is the second most popular driver in NASCAR right now. The one that sat on the pole for the 2013 Daytona 500, and finished 8th. And she is the most mild-mannered driver in the shop. The men, well, they aren’t so well behaved. Tony Stewart has been placed on probation more than I can recall. Kurt, well, I just covered all of that. And Harvick, well, Harvick was actually PARKED by NASCAR for aggressive driving at one point. This team has fire. They have attitude. They have Budweiser, and Bass Pro. Four Cup titles between them. Daytona 500 wins, Brickyard wins. Bristol wins. These drivers have been such a major part of the last 15 years of auto racing, and they are now on the same team. The guys are older now and more centered. They are settled in their personal lives, and ready to drive damn race cars. Tony has been out of commission for so long, a simple seat fitting made him as giddy as Jeremy Mayfield in a meth lab. They all sound so excited about 2014 and the possibilities ahead of them. Tony expects himself, Kevin, and Kurt to make the Chase. So do I. I think this ticking time bomb is just going to tick all year, keeping the intensity up. At least until one of them puts another in the wall. Then we get to see it blow. That is the fun part. Damnit, I love NASCAR.
Oh, and P.S. Gene Haas just applied for Formula 1 ownership.