On Sunday Jamie McMurray became the 10th different winner in the 17 year history of the Brickyard 400. Now I'd love to sit here and tell you that he was my dark horse pick to end up in victory lane, but I'm just too humble to brag?
(cough cough http://www.indysportsnation.com/sports/isn-072410-keys-to-brickyard-story,0,38287.story )
Something did grab my attention Sunday afternoon though as I walked around Gasoline Alley (NOT) bragging about my dark horse pick. No it wasn't why Kevin Conway and the Extenze team has a souvenir trailer and my attention definitely wasn't focused on anything about Dale Earnhardt Jr's beard. I actually started thinking about horses.
I know kind of weird, right? My five year old sister Leah would be so proud. Sure there was plenty of horse power at Indy, but the question that I've had all weekend is simple. When did winning the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400 all of a sudden become the "Triple Crown" of auto racing?
The last time I checked there's only one true "Triple Crown" and that belongs to the sport of thoroughbred racing. Since when does two different drivers winning three different races at two different tracks across two series of auto racing for one owner become something other than just a mouthful to explain to non-racing fans? In no way am I trying to downplay the importance of those three races and what they all must mean to Chip Ganassi, but it's almost as if someone reached up into the sky, pulled this racing triple crown nonsense out of nowhere, and decided that it was such a huge honor.
For starters, Chip Ganassi and Roger Penske are the only owners who can even pull off this "historic" accomplishment. That alone devalues the idea of a racing triple crown when car owners like Rick Hendrick and Michael Andretti can't even realistically do it. When's the last time the owner of a thoroughbred got the all the credit for winning a triple crown in horse racing? I know it's been 32 years since Affirmed captured the triple crown win, but nobody remembers who owned that horse?Harbor View Farms for those of you who wondered.
Here's a few questions I want you all to ponder every single time the term "Triple Crown" gets used by various members of the media in the next few days: -Why does this accomplishment include two races run in the Sprint Cup Series and just one from the Indy Car Series? (Why not include the 24 Hours of Daytona, the Knoxville Nationals, or my favorite Eldora's World 100, who wouldn't want to tour Ganassi's Dirt Late Model shop?)
-Why does the Indianapolis Motor Speedway make up two thirds of the Triple Crown? (I love IMS but let's include Darlington, Long Beach or again?Eldora Speedway in the metropolis that is Rossburg Ohio)
-Do you really think the members of Dario Franchitti's Indy 500 winning team were thrilled when Jamie McMurray captured the win in today's Brickyard 400?(Congrats fellas, but you were only 1/3 of the equation)
-More importantly do you think Juan Pablo Montoya and Scott Dixon are on cloud nine right now for their owner? (Actually, after what Dixon got away with today, maybe he should.)
-Shouldn't it be the driver who actually "wins" the Triple Crown? (I'm looking at you Tony Stewart?or Danica Patrick?or Stanton Barrett.)
-The Daytona 500 really isn't anything more than a crap shoot, right? (Last few winners: Ryan Newman, Matt Kenseth, and Jamie McMurray...none are considered true "heavy hitters."
I'll leave you with this. There is nothing quite like one horse with one jockey winning The Kentucky Derby, the Preakness Stakes, and The Bellmont Stakes. What Chip Ganassi's two teams have accomplished this year has never been done and is something pretty special. Until Chip Ganassi, Jamie McMurray, or Dario Franchitti line up in the gates and out run the field in the three biggest horse races of the year, they're not Triple Crown winners to me.
Ganassi's Three Wins are Impressive, but it's no Triple Crown"
When did winning the Daytona 500, Indianapolis 500, and Brickyard 400 all of a sudden become the "Triple Crown" of auto racing?
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- 22nd place finisher Jimmie Johnson
- Dallas Clark: "The cars were so loud!"
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