Throughout the Olympics one often hears about a “Dream Team’’ in one sport or another. So what about NASCAR?
Members of the Backseat Drivers Fan Council were asked if they were an owner with four teams and could pick any Cup driver in any era, who would be the four for their Dream Team? Their picks proved quite interesting.
They also debated Jeff Gordon’s chances of making the Chase and Sunday’s Pocono race. Here’s what Fan Council members had to say:
Who is on your NASCAR Dream Team?
74.3 percent selected Dale Earnhardt Sr.
58.9 percent selected Jimmie Johnson
43.2 percent selected Tony Stewart
38.7 percent selected Richard Petty
33.2 percent selected Jeff Gordon
23.6 percent selected David Pearson
18.8 percent selected Kyle Busch
15.1 percent selected Cale Yarborough
10.6 percent selected Tim Richmond
10.3 percent selected Dale Earnhardt Jr.
9.6 percent selected Darrell Waltrip
7.5 percent selected Davey Allison
6.8 percent selected Junior Johnson
6.5 percent selected Matt Kenseth
No other drivers received more than 5 percent of the vote
What Fan Council members said:
• Dale Earnhardt for sheer tenacity and stubborn will. Jeff Gordon because he’s won championships with multiple crew chiefs. Cale Yarborough because he is the only driver who has REALLY won three championships back-to-back-to-back (sorry, I'm not counting Chase trophies — that is over 10 races not a full season.) David Pearson because he has an amazing winning record while rarely running a full schedule.
• I would want a team deep with knowledge, and someone to groom. That is why I picked Kyle Busch. Could you imagine Busch with the tutelage of Petty, Earnhardt and Jaws?
• Tony, Kyle, Dale (Sr.), and David Pearson. That's a winning team for certain! Four guys who could win in anything they stepped foot in. And can you imagine what the conversations and fights in the hauler would be like? Woohooo!
• The King: Because he is The King with wins that would guarantee me sponsors and TV “face time.” But also because he cares about the fans to a legendary level and would bring me a very loyal fan base. Smoke: Because if it has wheels and I need it to cross the finish line first, I want his butt in that seat. Curtis Turner: If he couldn't swing deals to get sponsorship money for me, he'd come up with some scheme to get someone else to give me the money. And he had no fear when it came to racing. Bill Elliott: Another great racer who took care of his cars more than the other three! Popular, a great back story, media friendly and sponsor sensitive.
• I picked DW, Tim Richmond, Kyle Busch and Smoke. All four can wheel anything with tires, and do it well. I went with an old-school/new-school theme. I see all four of these guys sort of being one in the same in their respective periods. There is enough talent there to fill Lake Lloyd but the egos and attitudes would be the only problem!
• Big E, Smoke, Busch and Junior Johnson. Give 'em a big slice of badass!
• Had to go with Earnhardt Sr. and Richard Petty, just because they are the best drivers this sport has seen. Then I went with two darkhorse choices: First, Terry Labonte just because he is one of the most consistent and level-headed drivers the sport has seen, and can definitely be a true asset on a Dream Team. Then I went with Buddy Baker because he has driven so many types of vehicles, not just NASCAR, and has a true need for speed and aggressive style that could help win in a style like in an Olympic-like format.
• I tried to go with some from a different era. So I went with Davey Allison, who let's face it, if he were still alive, would have been a great champion and made some great stats. Jimmie Johnson — five championships all in a row, people think he's vanilla, but he'll blow your socks off. Enough said. Dale Earnhardt — people feared him on the track and he’s a seven-time champion. Enough said. And Cale, first driver to win three championships (consecutively) and one hell of a driver.
• I chose The Intimidator because he knew what he needed from a car at all times and could rattle the best out there. He always gave 100 percent and hated losing. Seven titles and 76 wins along with a strong fan base (helps sales) would give my team a strong boost. Smoke has won in multiple forms of racing and is one of the best stock car drivers in recent memory. I would take Smoke in a one-race, winner-take-all battle over anyone. Pearson is a confident driver, but he will sneak up on you. Anyone that can be as dominant at Darlington and the big tracks like the Silver Fox will be on my team. Ned Jarrett is humble, well-spoken and drove as hard as he needed to. He would save the equipment and drive intelligently. I like the balance of my team and feel as though it could stand up against any team.
• Obviously, the best three drivers ever: Dale Sr., the King, and Five-Time. For my fourth driver, I went with Tim Richmond. Had he not be taken from us far too early, Dale Sr. would not have seven titles.
• This was one of the toughest questions ever! To put together my Dream Team I not only took into consideration talent but drivers who would complement each other and help each other be better than their raw talent alone. In my opinion, the all-time, all-around leadership of Richard Petty, the take-no-prisoners attitude of Dale Earnhardt Sr., the steadying even-keel resolve of Jeff Gordon and the feisty drive-the-wheels-off-anything-with-superb-car-control of Kyle Busch would blend perfectly, creating an unbeatable team.
• Most importantly, I would want Chad Knaus, Ray Evernham, Smokey Yunick and Dale Inman as my Dream Team’s crew chiefs.
Will Jeff Gordon make the Chase?
Gordon moved to second in the wild card standings (based on a tiebreaker) after his Pocono win. In late June, 29.2 percent of Fan Council members thought Gordon would make the Chase. So, what do Fan Council members think now?
70.5 percent say Gordon WILL make the Chase
29.5 percent say Gordon WILL NOT make the Chase
What Fan Council members said:
• Absolutely! If anyone has noticed he has been competitive all year, but that bad luck streak did him in. It is gone and they are rejuvenated to keep it going. He's going into the next five races at tracks where he can dominate for sure. NEVER count out Jeff Gordon!!
• I'd love nothing more than saying “yes he will make the Chase,” but I'm afraid 2012 will not be Jeff's year. The only thing he's been consistent with is bad cars and bad luck this season. He deserves better.
• I gave this a lot of thought before checking “yes” — I don't want to jinx it! But I honestly feel he has had the cars and most definitely the ability to win all season but has been slammed with the worst luck of his career. It's about time the law of averages kicks in and he posts the finishes he should have had all along. The same way a bad streak can start with an out-of-the-ordinary occurrence, a good streak can start with one. Wasn't it fitting that his win drought was ended by rain?
• Just about gave up on the 24, but he is alive and some of his good tracks are coming up. Still think he needs one more win, as both Kyle (Busch) and Ryan (Newman) are capable of winning any week.
• All of the Hendrick cars are running great right now. If Jeff Gordon can stay on the track and race up front, he can definitely make the Chase.
• I think he will make the Chase. He seems to be running a little better than Ryan Newman and Kyle Busch at the moment.
• No. Flashes of brilliance so far, but too inconsistent. Gustafson has seemed to always have this issue though, going back several years to the Kyle Busch days. He is one of the best crew chiefs when he is on, but if he is just a little off, count on them running in the 20s.
• (Gordon) had an eighth-place car and his teammate's bonehead move gave him the win. He's not going to get in. They've been way too inconsistent.
• After all the bad luck he has had in 2012, this may be just what he needs to get right for the Chase!
• I think his team is headed in the right direction. Wouldn't be surprised to see him get another win.
Grade Sunday’s Cup race at Pocono
54.8 percent called it Good
26.9 percent called it Fair
10.2 percent called it Great
8.2 percent called it Poor
What Fan Council members said:
• Giving it a “poor” rating because of what happened with the weather. As soon as the severe thunderstorm WARNING was issued, the stands should have been cleared, the cars parked and everyone taking shelter. Innocent people were hurt and one fan lost his life. Totally unacceptable.
• Since a fan died at the race and nine others were injured, I can't give this race any other grade other than “poor,” no matter what happened on the track.
• Once again, Pocono was one of the better races of the season. No one thought we would say that at the beginning of the year. However, I can't rate this as "great” due to the bizarre officiating for the rain. There were apparently about three laps where the track was completely clear, but NASCAR wouldn't wave the green due to the upcoming storm. If NASCAR was that concerned, they should have brought the cars to pit road immediately instead of fooling around under caution for no reason and risking fan safety.
• The race should have been rescheduled for Monday. All one had to do was look at the radar. That was no race.
• The rain made the race better than normal with a possible “moving finish line.”
• The rain being imminent from the start made the race more like a Truck Series race than a normal Cup race. Intensity from the green flag, no driving around for 300 miles then deciding to go.
• As a seasoned fan, I enjoy and understand the complicated strategies when the race is clearly going to be ended after the halfway point is reached and rain is imminent. I think it might be different for new fans coming into the sport. The racing was good and clean — typical Pocono for me. I enjoyed it.
• It sucks when someone wins because of rain that really did not have a good chance of winning.
• Good race for Pocono. It wasn't as exciting as the last Pocono race, but it wasn't as boring as the previous Pocono races. I enjoyed watching the passes for the lead when they occurred. I enjoyed watching Carl Edwards and others come through the field. I was thoroughly disappointed by the 48-17 incident, but things happen when the 17 gets anxious.
The Backseat Drivers Fan Council was founded and is administered by Dustin Long. Fans can join by sending Dustin an email at firstname.lastname@example.org.
Please include the following information:
Name, city, state, Twitter name, e-mail address and favorite driver.