National / Sports / October 19, 2011

Fulton County Haze: Wheldon crash, World Series

Nate Williams: The Dashboard melted but we still have the radio. Hey, that is punny!

Dan Wheldon

N: Unfortunately, we have to open up on a sober note for the second week in a row. We lost another person in the sports world, Indy Car driver Dan Wheldon, who passed away this weekend. He was involved in a horrific accident which had 15 different cars involved. His car flipped into the air and collided with another car and then hit the wall, the car exploding on impact. It was by far one of the most horrific accidents I have seen in motor racing.

Gabe Ayers: It’s a little surprising that there aren’t any more casualties in Indy Car because they race in open-wheel racecars with no roof over their head, so they are just protected by their helmets if something happens. Also, their cars are so light that when there is a wreck it is not unusual to see them fly into the air, so really we are lucky that there aren’t more casualties than have actually happened.

N: Wheldon was a two-time Indianapolis 500 winner. He won it this year with a team owner coming up to him and just offering him a ride, then he didn’t take the lead until the final lap on the final turn. It was a thrilling finish.

G: I recently read on Yahoo! that the night before the race Dan and his wife got tattoos of each other’s initials on their wrists. This is truly heart-wrenching for his wife; you have to think that every time she sees this new tattoo she will no doubt think of him, but also her mind will probably travel to that day that she lost the person she loved.

N: He was without a ride for most of this season, so he spent most of the year testing next year’s safer Indy car. He had just signed a contract with Michael Andretti Racing to drive for them next year. It is just a sad story all around.

(Moment of silence observed for the Wheldon family.)

NASCAR

N: So staying on racing but on a more positive note, how about that NASCAR Sprint Cup Chase for the Cup? Halfway through the Chase, Carl Edwards is in the lead, followed closely by Kevin Harvick (-5) and Matt Kenseth (-7).

G: I was just going to ask you, how quickly can the points be made up in a single race?

N: Those points are actually positions on the track. Since there are 43 cars in a race, the race winner receives 43 points. For each position that follows there is a one-point deduction. Bonus points are awarded for winning (+1), leading a lap (+1) and leading the most laps (+1).

G: So what you are saying is that if Kevin Harvick, who is five points down, simply beats Carl Edwards by six positions he will be the new leader?

N: Yeah, more or less. This week will be a big wild card in the chase with Talladega. It is a huge superspeedway known for “The Big One,” which is a huge multicar pile up that involves a lot of the field. It will be interesting to see the impact Talladega and The Big One will have on a very close Chase.

World Series

G: Well, I figured that you wanted to gloat about your World Series picks thus far since you are smiling at me, but I will start this off. I am one for two on my picks; the Rangers are still alive like I anticipated but unfortunately the Cardinals beat the Phillies in the first round of the Playoffs, all but ruining my National League Pennant winner. But I still do believe that the Rangers will win it all.

N: As of this moment I am still perfect with my picks having both the Rangers and Cardinals in the World Series. You want to give us some of the keys for this World Series?

G: Well, for the Cardinals their big problem last series was their starting pitching. They actually pitched less innings than their bullpen pitchers, which is not a normal occurrence. As for the Rangers their bullpen has been their story all year, and their starters haven’t fared very well this postseason either. So I think that the most important and telling point of the series will be whose pitching staff can contain the other team’s offense. This could become a pitching duel wrapped around offensive powerhouses.

N: Do you think anyone will tune in without this being in a major market, i.e. New York, Boston, Los Angeles?

G: I think the fact that they are both offensive juggernauts will get this some pretty good views. Especially since this is the second straight year that the Rangers have reached the World Series, while the Cardinals have the second-most titles in the history of the MLB. Final story, Rangers in six!

N: You know what? I am calling unnecessary roughness on you! Cardinals in seven, more home games for Pujols!

Lions/49ers Coach Fight

N: Speaking of unnecessary roughness!

G: This last Sunday, during the coach’s handshake after a game between the Lions and the 49ers, a little bit of a tussle went down. According to Jim Schwartz (Lions), Jim Harbaugh of the 49ers apparently shook his hand a little bit too hard, patted him on the back a little hard and may have also said something. Strangely enough Schwartz chased down Harbaugh and, if you know anything about football, a “scuffle” began.

N: I think Jim Schwartz handled this a little off-kilter. He didn’t need to chase him down. He easily could have waited and handled it. But it really got ugly when the players got involved; that is really when it started to appear ugly. I just believe it could have been handled better.

G: I disagree. I like what Schwartz did. It shows that the Lions can’t really be messed with this year. He took offense to what Harbaugh did and wanted to show himself and his team that they will not be pushed around at all this season. I’m not saying that it was right, but if I’m one of his players I will always have his back after this.

N: Neither coach lacks fire. That is exactly why this situation happened. One hard handshake and there is a lot of drama, what can you do?

Theo Epstein

N: Oh, did you hear the Cubs got Theo Epstein, the former General Manager of the Red Sox? Theo did turn around the Red Sox and helped break their curse, so a lot of Cubs fans have thought they won the World Series. I am excited to see what happens with the Cubs next year and the years to come.

G: Yeah there is no doubt that if anyone can help turn around the Cubs organization it is Epstein. I know the way his tenure in Boston ended may worry some people, with the collapse being highlighted by player insubordination, but the general manager is not in charge of those things. His past results are more important, and the Cubs should be happy he wants to duplicate them.

If there is anything you would like the guys from the Haze to discuss just email Nate at nwilliam@knox.edu or Gabe at gjayers@knox.edu.

Nate Williams


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