Tuesday, August 31, 2010

Why 19 is bigger than 79

Ok weird title I know, but I have a point to all of my madness.

I know in real numbers that 79 is way bigger than 19. But today, it's gonna be reversed. I'm sure some of you are saying right now "wow that idiot must have failed math." Well I did (a couple of times) but that's beside the point.

Over the last 3 years, Kyle Busch has put up remarkable win totals in the Sprint Cup, Nationwide, and Camping World Truck series. He's now got 79 total over the three series (19 Cup, 40 Nationwide, 20 Trucks.)

And the majority of those have comes since he moved out of the inn at Hendrick Motorsports following the 2007 season, and into the season of a Toyota for Joe Gibbs Racing at the beginning of the 2008 season. He's scored 58 wins in that time frame over the three series. Yeah, that's impressive.

He won the Nationwide Series championship in 2009 - another trophy that some could say elevates him to elite status in NASCAR.

He started his own truck series team earlier this year and has been to victory lane in it 4 times this year, including the last two in a row at Bristol and Chicago.

Two weeks ago he did the triple at Bristol, winning all three races which is something that I figured he'd end up getting around to one of these days.

He's accomplished all of this against some very, very difficult competition, including his own JGR teammates Denny Hamlin and Joey Logano and 4-time defending Sprint Cup champion Jimmie Johnson.

All this success, however, isn't all that great in my opinion. Yeah, like I said, 19 is bigger than 79.

Kyle Busch is a Sprint Cup Series driver. He should be winning all of the lower support series races he enters. Why? Because he's better than his competition in those races. There's a reason why he climbs behind the wheel of an upper tier car on Sunday and those other Nationwide and Truck series drivers don't.

He's driving equipment in the lower series that is so much better than his competition it's not funny, and when he wins I don't think he should brag about it. Rather he should say yeah I whipped em again. Give me the trophy and the check and let's get outta here.

Wrecking Jennifer Jo Cobb to win at Bristol in the Truck Series shouldn't be celebrated. Wrecking driver X in the Nationwide Series to take the lead shouldn't be celebrated. Making a pass on the outside of Jimmie Johnson for the win in the closing laps of the Sprint Cup race in Chicago - now that's impressive. That's what should be celebrated.

My point is this: people may say Kyle is one of the greatest ever; he may reach 100 wins across the three series; he may do this and he may do that, but until he wins championships and more races in the Sprint Cup Series, what does all this Nationwide and Truck success do to further his career? In my opinion, not much.

It's like Brett Favre going back to the college ranks. It's like Greg Maddox throwing in the minors. It's like Michael Jordan in a pick-up basketball game. Succesful athletes are celebrated and honored for winning at the highest level, not for beating up the younger, less experienced and less talented folks in a lower division.

I'm sure when Kyle reaches 100 wins across the three series that the media will appoint him the new King of NASCAR. But hopefully, if most of those wins aren't in the Sprint Cup Series, that they will think before they speak.

19 is bigger than 79. But call/email/tweet me when Kyle reaches 200 wins in the Cup Series - then we'll talk.

Friday, August 27, 2010

People Will Talk... about High School Football

Wow... Two days in a row. People are gonna start talking.

Anyway, Week #1 of High School Football in South Carolina is tonight, and I thought I'd share a few thoughts on the sport that takes my small hometown of Camden, SC under storm every fall.

Technically it's Game #2 for CHS tonight as they did play and win a "Week 0" game last week. But for our purposes it is officially Week 1 in South Carolina.

Camden opened the season with a 28-21 victory over the Spring Valley Vikings at Zemp Stadium in Camden. This is a series that has been on again-off again since 1970. But it was the first meeting between the two schools since my freshman year of 1997, a game that the Vikings won in Billy Ammons' final season as coach at Camden.

Tonight the Bulldogs will make a nearly 2-hour drive to Ware Shoals, SC (Where?) for a matchup with an inferior opponent. I say inferior... honestly I know nothing about Ware Shoals. I don't even know their mascot believe it or not. But, that's where Camden is going tonight.

Ware Shoals became the second game of the year after CHS decided not to play in-county rival North Central. That was a series I enjoyed, but in reality needed to end. North Central is a very small Class A school in the northern half of Kershaw County. And while it did provide them an excellent opportunity for a large crowd (which means more $$$) the games were blowouts and really did nothing to progress the teams every year.

Camden and North Central interestingly enough never played each other in the regular season until 2006. Yeah I know that's weird - 20 miles apart and didn't meet until NCHS had been around for nearly three decades.

Tonight Camden should pick up win #2 of the season as they look ahead to a matchup with the West Florence Knights next Friday night at home, a game I will be at... as a spectator. It'll be the first time since 1995 that I've actually gone and watched a Camden game as a fan. Very, very weird.

You can hear tonight's game on KOOL 102.7 FM or online at www.kool1027.com.

Yep, I had to get that plug in.

Thursday, August 26, 2010

I'm back...

Or, atleast I'm gonna try to be back. It's been crazy these last 12 or so months and I have seriously neglected this blog. My bad.

I'm gonna try to update more often in the future. Instead of going with long, drawn out stuff, I think my goal should be to just write short updates - blurbs, random thoughts, etc. - just to keep folks updated (the 1 person who is actually subscribed to this blog that is.)

Anyway, it's an off-week in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series, the final one of the season. Atlanta is next week, followed by Richmond, and then the 10-race Chase for the Sprint Cup kicks off in New Hampshire in September.

Should be a fun ride to the title as there really hasn't been a clear-cut favorite throughout the entire season. Kevin Harvick and Jeff Gordon have been 1-2 in the points for weeks now, but I don't know if consistency can win this chase this year. I think wins will be big. Someone needs to seperate themselves from the rest of the field.

Until next time, there's my random update for today. See you again in 3 months.

Wednesday, August 11, 2010

I say goodbye to a friend and an uncle

It's been about three weeks now since my family lost a dear son, brother, father, uncle, and friend. My uncle, Toby Eddings, passed away on July 24, 2010 at the age of 52. It was the that day his daughter Tiffany was married and on a weekend that brought the highest and lowest of emotions to my family.

It occurs to me that I have yet to properly say goodbye to my friend, and he was a friend. With the fast-paced life I've chosen to take on working in NASCAR (where I fly to a track on Thursday, go hard for three days, fly home Sunday night, and spend two days recovering before prepping and heading to another city) I've found it difficult to stop and take a minute and see what's happening around me.

Often in life, we never realize how much someone means to you until they are gone. This is no different. Never again will I be able to jab with him about college football at Thanksgiving. Never again will he be pestered by my grandmother (his mother) and my mom (his sister) about going to the doctor, or wearing cologne at the dinner table (which I laughed at even if nobody else did.) And never again will I be able to share stories of my career as a sports journalist.

He and I shared a lot of similarities. Both of us caught the journalism "bug" at an early age. He was a statistician for Camden High School athletics as a teenager. He worked for WACA Radio in Camden, S.C., which later became WCAM Radio and eventually into WPUB/WCAM Radio, where I spent seven years of my life as an on-air talent.

We both grew up in the same house - my room was the same room he once had. He enjoyed making people laugh, much as I do, and we both had no greater joy than impressing my mom and grandmother talking sports on the couch at home.

Both of us stubborn, thinking we know more than everyone else (I also get this from my dad so don't think the Mays side of my family is no different.) And both of us share a very dry wit and sense of humor.

I remember the first time I got to sit in the play-by-play chair as voice of the Camden Bulldogs. The regular play-by-play guy had a separate engagement and was unable to announce that night. I got tagged to fill his spot. It was my audition as a year later I became the full-time Voice of the Bulldogs. Toby listened that night on the internet and later wrote a very flattering blog post, hailing my ability and the fact that he was proud of my career choice.

I wish I had kept that blog post - I can't find it online anymore.

Later as I grew as an announcer, and then when I was hired by Sprint Vision in January, his pride in me grew. I've learned in the last few days that he often bragged about me to his friends and co-workers.

I know his life at times wasn't easy. His divorce, numerous medical problems, and having to move to Georgia and then North Carolina to find a newspaper job were all difficult times. But I think that didn't bother him. At the end of the day he was able to be proud of what he'd done that day.

I said earlier you often don't realize things until its too late to do anything about it. I hadn't seen him since Christmas. And now living just 40 minutes away from him, I feel worse that I never made an effort to drive down after work just to go have dinner or share a story.

Not to get too sappy, but I encourage whoever reads this to make that effort.

The past few weeks have been difficult for all of us and I'm sure in the weeks and months ahead, particularly the holidays, will be even tougher.

I take comfort in the fact that he was a very religious man, and also that his ailments that took such a toll on him over the past two years are no longer hurting him. I wish I could have spent more time with him over the years, but the memories will always be special.

I feel the most pain for my grandmother, my mom, his children - son, daughter, and son-in-law - and especially to his friends that he touched on a daily basis.

We all must go on. Life doesn't stop, for me especially. So with this, I say goodbye to my uncle. My friend. He's really not gone as long as we remember him.