Ryan's Best Of NASCAR 2014 Columns

by Ryan Isley

Each year since I have been writing for More Than A Fan, I have done a year-end piece with links to my personal favorite pieces I have written that year. In those first couple of years, the final piece of the year was always a mixture of regular site and the More Than A Fan Wheels site.

For the first couple of months this year, I was sporadic in writing for either site. Then in March, Shay Hazen came to me and asked if I could begin writing a weekly column again for the MTAF Wheels site, I was excited to get back to a regular posting. Starting right then, I began posting a NASCAR piece every Friday with a few others sprinkled in throughout the week when needed.

So the following are my five favorite pieces that I wrote for the MTAF Wheels site in 2014, complete with a link and a snippet from each one. Thanks as always for the readership – see you again in 2015.

Danica Patrick Still Failing to Live Up To The Hype (June 27):

As always, the hype surrounding Danica Patrick was larger than the actual production produced by NASCAR’s little spitfire. However, sometimes – ok, always  – her fans ignore the facts and take offense anyone says anything negative about their favorite driver.

“The five-foot-two ball of fire could best be described as having the looks of a model, the temper of a redheaded Irishman and the mouth of a sailor. If there was ever a case of Napoleon complex in women, you could look no further than the driver of the No.10 GoDaddy.com Chevrolet for Stewart-Haas Racing.

The thing with Patrick is that no matter her success, or lack thereof, on the track, she is a hit among advertisers. Having the distinction of being the first female to lead the Indianapolis 500 and also the first female to lead a green-flag lap in the Daytona 500, coupled with her unquestionably good looks, she is a marketing dream. While there are other attractive female athletes out there, compared to most of them, Danica Patrick might as well be one of the Angels from Victoria’s Secret.”

NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Drivers Hurting NASCAR Nationwide Series (July 11):

For the second straight season, NASCAR Sprint Cup Series drivers dominated the Nationwide circuit. While NASCAR sees it as drawing fans to see the bigger names, it actually makes the series less exciting and no longer feels like a place where young drivers can cut their teeth.

“This is insanity. Seeing as how the Nationwide Series is supposed to be a sort of a minor league for drivers trying to make their way to the big league (the Sprint Cup Series), there is no way NASCAR can continue to allow the drivers from their premier series to drop down and race in the lower-tier series on a regular basis. This would be like the Pittsburgh Penguins sending Sidney Crosby to Wilkes Barre/Scranton to help win the AHL championship. It would be like the Los Angeles Dodgers sending Clayton Kershaw to the Albuquerque Isotopes to try to deliver a PCL title. It would be like the Oklahoma City Thunder sending Kevin Durant to the Sioux City 66ers to bring home a NDBL championship.”

There is Nothing Easy With The Tony Stewart Saga (August 15):

When the sprint car of Tony Stewart struck Kevin Ward Jr. leading to the death of the younger driver, those in the national media who are clueless about NASCAR and racing in general took to the airwaves and to their computers to spew their ignorance.  What they didn’t understand is that this case was not just cut and dry like they wanted it to be.

“Speaking of those people, one thing I have seen is that people are saying they believe Stewart did this intentionally because he has had a temper in the past and is thought of by many as one of the badasses of NASCAR. So because of Stewart’s reputation as somewhat of a badass, he is capable of a cold-blooded murder on the track? These are the kind of statements and inferences that have become extremely dangerous since last Saturday night.

Just because Stewart has had a temper at times does not make him a cold-blooded murderer. By making him out to be one based on a few outbursts, it would be reasonable that Kyle Busch or Danica Patrick could possibly kill someone on the track as well. That’s a slippery slope to go down – one that won’t end well for those who venture down it.”

No Chase Needed – Sherry Pollex Is The True NASCAR Champion In 2014 (September 19):

When Sherry Pollex announced in August that she had been diagnosed with ovarian cancer and had undergone surgery, the way she continued to approach things was extraordinary. Her positive outlook and attitude made her ongoing battle not seem like a negative thing. The support she received then and continues to receive shows just how special she really is.

“What this has shown to many is that while she is battling the disease, the disease is not beating her. She is still doing what she wants to do and is not changing just because she is now in a fight for her health. By doing this, she is becoming – and should continue to become – an inspiration to women who might be battling the same disease. But it is more than that – she is an inspiration to anyone, even those who aren’t fighting cancer, just by showing the strength and fight she has already shown.”

Media Focus On Tony Stewart Once Again Misguided (October 17):

When all hell broke loose at Charlotte, the least significant of the incidents involved Tony Stewart. However, people made it seem like Stewart was the largest offender based on his past and the incident just two months prior.

“In light of the incident that occurred August 9th at Canandaigua Motorsports Park in a sprint car race on a dirt track that resulted in the death of Kevin Ward Jr., the national media has decided that Stewart is a villain. Pay no attention to the fact that there were no charges brought against Stewart following the incident, even as the district attorney sent the case to the grand jury to see if an indictment would be handed down. In fact, Stewart not being charged in the incident has probably turned some even more against Stewart, as they let their personal opinions – no matter how off base and uneducated they may be – play into how they handle every story involving the 3-time NASCAR champion.”

Comments? Questions? You can leave them here or email Ryan at ryan.isley@morethanafan.net. You can also connect with him on Twitter @isley23.