Thursday, December 20, 2007

The 2007 Robbie Awards

These awards are presented annually to various NASCAR drivers, crew chiefs, announcers, etc. for making my job easier or harder during the season.

Best Driver Award: Jimmie Johnson
The defending champion again showed why he is the best, with 10 wins and back to back titles. All I've got to say is: Jimmie, we got it. You're awesome.

Best Crew Chief: Steve Letarte
Although he's only been on Jeff Gordon's pit box for 2 years plus 10 races, he is quickly becoming one of the best in the business. If it hadn't been for an ill-handling racecar at Phoenix in the fall, he could be sitting at the head table in New York Friday night.

Best Car Owner: Rick Hendrick
Duh… 18 wins in 36 tries, plus the top 2 finishing positions in the points. Next year with the addition of Dale Earnhardt Jr., a 20-plus win total is not out of the question.

Most memorable moment: Final lap of the Daytona 500
With cars wrecking behind them, Kevin Harvick and Mark Martin battled to the line for the win in the Great American Race, with Harvick pulling out the victory for Richard Childress Racing, 6 years to the day of Dale Earnhardt's passing in the 500.

Most memorable lashing out: Kyle Busch
After crossing the finish line just ahead of Jeff Burton at Bristol in the first Car of Tomorrow race in the spring, the younger of the Busch brothers got out of his car and said on national television that the car, quote "sucked."

"That did not just happen" moment: Tony Stewart
It's no secret that ESPN and Smoke do not get along. After winning the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard in August, Stewart handled himself fairly well through three questions for an ESPN reporter in victory lane before dropping a four letter word and sending the media into a frenzy.

Worst race broadcast: ESPN 2 Busch Race at Mexico City
I mean, I know we were in Mexico and everything, but Juan Montoya is from South America. Say it with me: SOUTH AMERICA NOT MEXICO! The broadcast almost made me throw up. It was Juan this and Juan that. From the moment from sign on to sign off, ESPN 2 wanted to make sure everyone knew who they wanted to win the race.

Worst race broadcaster: Rusty Wallace
Aero Push, Draft Tracker, hot rod, tell you what, my son Steven… If you've followed ESPN this year, these are all phrases that make you wake up at night in a cold sweat. At least we don't have to listen to him for three months. Please ESPN, replace him with Dale Jarrett!!!

Scandal of the Year: Michael Waltrip at Daytona
I felt sorry for Michael because I know he worked so hard and spent millions upon millions to get his three-car team up and running in 2007 only to have things blow up in his face. But then the illegal substance was found and he was in a hole before the season started, one he didn't pull himself out of this year and next year isn't looking anymore promising. He's a good ole boy and I hope things turn around for him.

Worst cheater of the year: Chad Knaus
This guy may have two championship rings, but he's also been at the center of controversy his entire career. He has been suspended three times in the last three seasons, and there could be several more violations that we don't know about. Hey NASCAR, how bout that three strikes and you're out rule?

Best one liner: Dale Earnhardt Jr.
"And now I'd like to introduce you to my new boss for 2008, Mr. Rick Hendrick." At the time, I wanted to die, now 6 months later, I'm happy because I know my favorite driver will win 8 races next season.

Most promising rookie not named Juan Pablo Montoya: David Ragan
Made his Nextel Cup debut at Martinsville last fall and hit everything including the pace car. Had a top 5 at the season opening Daytona 500 and has really improved over the last year. I think this kid might have some potential.

Most over-used story: Junior leaving DEI/Joining HMS/Free the 8/Sponsor, etc…
The first three months of the season, all ESPN could talk about was will Junior leave DEI? Then after he announced he was leaving, it was where was he going? Then what number would he take? Then what would the new sponsor be? One reason why the racing coverage was horrible during ESPN's portion of the season: because Junior announced all those things before the Chase for the Cup began. Then Junior missed the chase and ESPN was in real trouble. Point of the story: ESPN is just terrible.

That's all for this year, join us again next year for the 2008 edition of The Robbie Awards.

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