As the racing season for this year enters into it’s final few months, teams have already begun to move drivers and teams around in preparation for 2007. The term “silly” has been attached to this phenomenon, as some of the moves just don’t seem to make sense…Mayfield’s out, Elliot is in and what the heck is a Gilliland? Even locally, cars and trailers are already being put up for sale as drivers have decided either to move into another division, or call it quits. All of these moves a calculated, based on money and results…both very serious topics.
     It’s always fun to watch the points leads vanish as the year rolls closer to it’s finale. The Chase for NASCAR has Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth locked in, but the rest of the eight positions are pretty much up for grabs. Jeff Burton had one bad week at Michigan and tumbled almost out of the “golden ten”. Kyle Bush is probably in, but past champion brother Kurt is nowhere to be found, same goes for Ryan Newman…so I’m sure Mr. Penske is a very unhappy camper. It’s great to see Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Mark Martin and Dale Earnhardt Jr. up there in points as they are still fan favorites..and face it, the fans want to see their guys competing for the championship, not just driving for the fun of it. Kevin Harvick not only has over a five hundred point lead in the Busch series at the time of this writing, but is having one of the best years of his Cop career…two points…he’s had his contract extended by Childress – good move, and how many sports let the varsity players compete against those in the junior varsity – let the Busch guys compete with each other! Also making his mark this season for Joe Gibbs Racing is the young Denny Hamlin. Give him credit…he’s doing great, but his spot has taken away the chance for a name like Kahne, Biffle, Edwards, Labonte or Jarrett to be in the final run for the trophy. I still do not like this points “switcheroo” at the end of the year…let the boys compete throughout the entire season…and may the best man win.
     Yates Racing has begun to look like the Petty organization, in that they have years of expertise, and championships to boot…but are failing miserably on Sundays…er…Saturday nights. Things have got to drastically change in these two teams if they are to make their way to the top again.  Childress is now competing favorably with the likes of Rousch, Hendricks, and Gibbs…due to a changing of the guard, and good attitudes throughout the teams. I didn’t mention Evernham Racing…as I don’t think even they know what the future will hold. Finally I’m really looking forward to the Toyota flop next year. Sure, Michael Waltrip, Bill Elliott, and Dale Jarrett have names… but they are past their prime..I mean way past… and I really can’t believe Awesome Bill will now be eating at the Home of the Whopper instead of at the Golden Arches.
     It will be a wild finish for most in the racing fraternity from the Street Stocks at the Grove, to the 358s at Trailway, the 410s at Lincoln and the Super Pro’s at South Mountain…but that’s what racing is all about…the win and the trophy.

Next time I see you, I hope it’s at the track…

Kirk M. Wise – the Wise Guy
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