I know I seem to find fault with just about everything the IndyCar Series does – or doesn’t do – these days, but this is the sort of thing that drives me crazy about their marketing and public rleations.
They send out a media release that trumpets, "TV viewership of Grand Prix of Baltimore jumps 54 per cent," and you say to yourself, "Wow."
So you read the story to find the numbers and there aren’t any.
Percentages are meaningless without figures. A 100 per cent increase could be two people watching instead of one. By making that "54 per cent increase" information public without figures to back it up, IndyCar just looks silly.
Okay, the chips are down in two NASCAR series and this weekend may tell the tale of who will eventually emerge as champion in each.
Saturday night in Richmond, Va., the final race of the Sprint Cup "regular season" will be held (the Federated Auto Parts 400, if you must know) and at the checkers the field will be set for the Chase for the Championship.
As of this writing, seven drivers are in the playoffs (in the top ten or holding a wild card), leaving five places to be filled.
Jimmie Johnson, Clint Bowyer, Kevin Harvick, Carl Edwards, Kyle Busch and Matt Kenseth are in the Chase and Kasey Kahne has a wild card because he’s won two races. Dale Earnhardt Jr., Joey Logano, Greg Biffle and Kurt Busch are in the top ten going into Richmond but will all have to score solid finishes to hold their positions.
And anything can happen on that short track in Virginia.
Jeff Gordon is 11th in the standings and will have to race his way into the Chase because Kahne, Martin Truex Jr. and Ryan Newman are all behind him but have won races, which is something he hasn’t been able to do.
It is going to take a miracle for defending champion Brad Keselowski to make the playoffs. He’s 28 points out of tenth place and hasn’t won a race this season. It sure looks like he’ll soon be kaput.
Defending champion D.J. Kennington is leading the championship with 387 points. Two-time champion Scott Steckly is second with 384 while L.P. Dumoulin is third with 366. Jason Hathaway is fourth with 360.
After Barrie, there is just one race remaining – at Kawartha Speedway out near Peterborough in two weeks. The championship is generally decided at that track, which is also the home of horse racing and slot machines.
Three things before we wrap this up:
1. If you can’t make it up to Barrie on Saturday, the NASCARONTSN crew will once again be webcasting the Canadian Tire Series action. Just go to TSN.ca or NASCARONTSN.ca to watch live final practice from 2 till 2:30 p.m. and then final qualifying from 4:40 till 5:15.
2. Old friend Jim Bray called me Thursday to say that OMVIC, the Ontario Motor Vehicle Industry Council that enforces the Motor Vehicle Dealers Act (MVDA), will be sponsoring his cars at the Barrie meet this weekend.
Lead driver Howie Scannell Jr., finished a fine eighth last weekend at Canadian Tire Motorsport Park and it’s great to see old campaigners like Bray – the second Canadian to qualify for the Daytona 500, by the way – get some support, just as he’s supported Canadian stock car racing all these years.
3. A final reminder that if you want to watch the Italian Grand Prix Sunday morning on a really big screen (I know, we all have big screens these days but I’m talking a big, big screen), then go to the Colossus Vaughan Cinemas, 3555 Highway 7 West (highway 400 and 407 area). Doors will open at 7:30 a.m. $20 gets you in. Snack bar willl be open, I'm told. Proceeds to Sheena's Place, which treats people with eating disorders. My wife and I will be there. Will you?