Short Pitting: Party Crashers, Caring Kurt Busch, Counting Cars And Much More

Another edition of’s semi-regular concoction, brewed of the meatiest newsworthy items, opinions and meaningless meanderings down some paths that might not have anything to do with racing. Strap in for the ride.

— Who knew 5 a.m. comes so darned early in the Waterford Speedbowl parking lot? Yeah, we’re still recovering from the unofficial gala, red carpet post-race launch party early Sunday morning.

It was so ridiculously wild, people were literally trying to crash the party.

And speaking of Saturday night/Sunday morning, the Waterford Speedbowl management and staff from top to bottom deserve a pat on the back for Saturday’s rousing return of the NASCAR Whelen Modified Tour to the track for the first time since 2006 the running of the Mr. Rooter 161 at the shoreline oval.

From start to finish it was a fantastic event, well run and exactly what a Whelen Modified Tour show should be about. Fans hanging off the bleachers and shoulder to shoulder on the midway and great racing on the track throughout the card.

And who knew SK Modified division driver Nichole Morgillo had those kinds of lungs. Morgillo belted out a rousing National Anthem to start the show. Jeez, body builder, racer, American Idol wannabe. What doesn’t she do?

— Hey Red Bull, we’re looking for a beverage sponsor over here at, hint-hint.

— It was hard not to chuckle at many of the media folks declaring NASCAR Sprint Cup Series driver Kurt Busch a changed man after he poured with emotion following his third place finish Sunday on the road course at Sonoma.

The triumphant day for Busch came on the heels of a recent suspension by NASCAR after he intimated during an interview following a Nationwide Series event at Dover International Speedway that he would be willing to dole out some physical punishment on media members based on the types of questions they asked him.

And yes, it was the same Kurt Busch who lost his ride at Penske Racing last year after a profanity-laced off-camera tirade directed at ESPN announcer Jerry Punch, caught on video by an onlooker.

There’s no denying Busch is immensely talented, we’d argue he’s one of the top-five purely talented drivers in the Sprint Cup Series today. But the guy also seems on a mission of a career suicide through public relations disasters.

So it was laughable to hear folks talking on Monday about the changed Kurt Busch following his emotional interview after Sonoma. It’s like judging the career criminal as reformed and ready to be integrated back into society because he helped one old woman across the street.

How about this, how about folks marvel at a changed Kurt Busch after he doesn’t lose his marbles after a bad day.

Big deal, he just drove an unsponsored car fielded by an under-manned, underfunded team to a third place finish in a Sprint Cup Series event. The guy had every reason in the world to be thrilled, happy, emotional, elated and most importantly friendly and engaging with the media.

It’s real easy to be emotional and congenial after you were just battling for a victory in a Sprint Cup event with a team running on a fraction of the budget of most organizations. Let’s see him act like he’s not psychotic after a few bad days then we can declare him a changed man.

— We’ve long championed the opinion that Doug Coby is one of the most underrated Modified drivers of his generation.

After three wins in the first five Whelen Modified Tour events this year, including the victory Saturday at Waterford, we’re guessing a few people are joining the Coby bandwagon.

— Why is it that Taco Bell food seems to taste so much better on the hood of a car at 11:30 p.m. than it does sitting in a booth in the restaurant at noon?

— Ok, so everybody knows when this whole journalism thing falls apart we’re immediately joining the high stakes world of being a professional poker player.

That said, best we can remember, the gambling seed was planted for us a long time ago when spending nights laying down trifecta bets at the long since closed Hartford Jai Alai fronton.

So when the monsoon rains arrived last Friday at Stafford Motor Speedeway, washing away the Valenti Modified Racing Series Lincoln Tech 80 and the rest of the scheduled racing card, the RaceDayCT sponsored Toyota Camry (we had a top-five car all day) made a bee-line to the OTB room at Shea’s American Bar and Grill in Manchester.

Yes, it was a night of live Jai Alai from Dania, Fla., though a frustrating one at that. While the crack team from GWC Motorsports Marketing was racking up pay window visit after pay window visit betting on the trotters from Yonkers and the Meadowlands, the RaceDayCT team was getting killed on the fronton wagering.

Just a little tip here, if you bet the 1-2-7 trifecta for four games in a row, make sure you bet it for the fifth game too. Would have paid off the night and more. Sing it chairman, “Regrets, I’ve had a few.”

— Am I the only one that shudders, nails going down a chalkboard style, when someone refers to the “sport of NASCAR”?

NASCAR is not a sport. Auto racing is a sport. NASCAR is a sanctioning body that oversees a segment of events and divisions in the sport of auto racing.

It’s not that hard to figure out, just proper use of English. Nobody refers to the “sport of NFL” instead of calling it football or the “sport of PGA” when a golf tournament comes to town.

Ok, rant over. Next week we’ll return to trying to solve the Rick Hendrick vs. Rick Hendricks problem.

— Twenty-four cars Whelen Modified Tour teams showed up for the Mr. Rooter 161 at Waterford last weekend and the doomsday conspiracy theorists declaring the nearing end times for the division roared to life.

Ok doomsday folks, who is missing? Sure, we get that rising or lowering car counts can be a fair barometer for the health of any series, but it’s hardly a sign of terminal condition for the Whelen Modified Tour at this moment.

The reality is, the racing on the Whelen Modified Tour has actually been much better this year through five events than it has been for most events in the past few years.

Face facts, sure it’s great to say 40 cars showed up for a race, but does it really mean anything if only 15 of those 40 have any real shot of being competitive? Having backmarker junk show up week after doesn’t help the racing.

If you have 20 cars show up with 15 cars that can win and you have 30 cars show up with 15 cars that can win, there’s a very likely chance the fans will see a better race overall from the event with 20 cars than 30 cars.

— Brian Vickers doesn’t have a full-time ride in the Sprint Cup Series. David Gilliland does.

What’s wrong with this picture?

— It’s kind of surprising that the folks surrounding Danica Patrick and her full-time NASCAR Nationwide Series effort this year have already gone to the “Everybody hates her and wants to wreck her every week” excuse this early in the season. We figured that wouldn’t come until at least August.

— In the words of Whelen Modified Tour driver Ron Silk: “This is probably a good time to scatter.”

Copyright 2018 E-Media Sports

Website Designed by Thirty Marketing