Two for the Road is a hangout for mystery writers Tammy Kaehler and Simon Wood to chat, reminisce, gossip, speculate and argue about all things motorsport.

Monday, November 18, 2013

Boring, Impressive, and Surprising

by Tammy

The last week in racing was a little bit of everything.

In Formula 1, not content with wrapping up the championship with 3 (or was it 4?) races still to run, Vettel ground the rest of the field into so much dust under his tires, winning the USGP, making it his 12th win of the season and his 8th in a row.

Impressive? Absolutely. Boring? No doubt. As I've said before, I've got massive respect ... but I also had better things to do than watch the race. Again.

In NASCAR, Jimmie Johnson won his sixth championship in smooth style, finishing the final race of the year in 9th place, for a 20-some point margin in the championship. It was a nail-biter down to the end, though, given that he needed to finish 23rd or better to win, and given Matt Kenseth (2nd place) doing all he could. The commentators reported Jimmie having said he wanted 8 championships (the record of 7 is held by Richard Petty and Dale Earnhardt) ... and no one who's watched him over the last decade would be surprised to see him achieve that.

Surprising? Nope. Impressive? Definitely. Boring? Depends on your point of view.

And in IndyCar, the news that took plenty by surprise, and dismayed many, many fans, was of Dario Franchitti's retirement from racing. The bottom line is that he got one-too-many concussions, and he hasn't been recovering as quickly as hoped from the last one. The medical opinion seems to be that any more such bell-ringers and he risks brain damage (Is this sounding familiar, Simon?), and he made the wise choice to stop. (It does make me wonder how many racecar drivers have chronic traumatic encephalopathy, the brain disease that the world of football is just beginning to recognize.)

Surprising? For sure. But rational and understandable.

Lastly, in the media, former NFL quarterback Donovan McNabb dredged up the years' old question of whether drivers are athletes. Jimmie wouldn't be drawn into the controversy, but Jeff Gordon had a great response (image).

Surprising? Yes. Boring? Completely. Aren't we past this by now? And seriously, even the notoriously unfit Tony Stewart could take most defensive linemen, am I right?

Best two Twitter hashtags of the week: #peoplewhoaremoreathleticthandonovan and #ThankYouDario.

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