New web extra for NASCAR fans: "Parker's Points" | People
SALISBURY - NASCAR fans know him from his public relations and community relations work for Charlotte Motor Speedway, and his work with drivers such as Matt Kenseth and others, but folks in Rowan and Cabarrus County may remember Adrian Parker for his playing days for the South Rowan Raider football team.
Now WBTV is proud to add Parker to the wbtv.com roster.
Each week during the Sprint Cup season, I'll pose a few questions to Adrian about the just completed event, the upcoming race, and whatever else may be going on. Adrian will provide the answers, in his own unique style. (That means you may see a sales pitch from time to time for Charlotte Motor Speedway or zMAX Dragway, but hey, that's the price you pay)
So, for the first time, here's a look at "Parker's Points:"
David: What about that Daytona 500? Huge ratings, bizarre occurrences...is that the way NASCAR wanted to start the season?
Adrian: There’s no way around it, the 2012 Daytona 500 will be remembered for the jet dryer that exploded when struck by Juan Pablo Montoya’s No. 42 car under caution, precipitating a two-hour red flag as crews fought flames and cleaned the racing surface. The incident nearly ended the race 40 laps prematurely, which would have crowned Dave Blaney as the most improbable winner in the race’s 54-year history.
When the smoke cleared, Matt Kenseth turned in the most surprising feat of the night, leading the final 38 laps of the race (something unheard of at a restrictor plate track) en route to his second Daytona 500 win.
What we learned from the Daytona 500 is that it appears NASCAR nailed it on the new rules package designed to bust up the tandem drafting that ruled plate races over the past two years. It was virtually non-existent during the 500.
We learned Danica-mania is for real. If you doubt it, look at the TV numbers. ESPN had the best rating ever for Nationwide race on cable and Fox enjoyed the most watched Daytona 500 in the network’s history. She has a very steep learning curve in this sport, but a terrific attitude and understanding of where she’s at and where she wants to be. She’s scheduled to make her Charlotte Motor Speedway Sprint Cup debut, May 27, in the Coca-Cola 600.
Finally, we learned that Fox and NASCAR are clearly going to use Twitter to help build the sport’s personalities and enhance the storylines throughout the first third of the schedule. This is great for the sport and will put pressure on the other networks to follow suit.
David: Okay, you used to handle public relations for Matt Kenseth,and I know you're still close. So do you have any personal insight about what it meant to him to win his second 500?
Adrian: Having worked with Kenseth for a couple of years, I was happy to see him and the No. 17 team get the win in the wee hours of Tuesday morning. That team still needs sponsorship for about half of the season, but the early returns are obviously huge for Best Buy.
I couldn’t help but chuckle when I noticed at 2 a.m. on Tuesday, “Matt Kenseth” was trending No. 1 worldwide on Twitter. Suffice to say Kenseth was very resistant in joining Twitter, but since he did last summer he’s become quite a star in the Twitter-sphere. I took a photo of his No. 1 worldwide status and texted it to him. His response, “It’s all about Twitter!”
David: Phoenix is coming up this weekend. What should we look for?
Adrian: Now the series moves to Phoenix, a one-mile flat oval in the desert. The action at Phoenix can resemble short-track racing, though this is only the second race there since the track was repaved last summer. Count on Jimmie Johnson and the No. 48 team to rebound from Daytona. He’s won four of the last 10 at Phoenix and finished in the top-10, nine times. Jeff Gordon and Tony Stewart have been strong in Phoenix of late. If you’re looking for a bit of a dark horse, try Ryan Newman who hasn’t finished worse than fifth in four Phoenix races since winning this race in 2010.
If you’re itching to do some racing of your own this weekend, come to the Bellagio of drag strips, zMAX Dragway, for our first Test-N-Tune of the season. All cars are welcome for a day full of drag racing. Gates and registration opens at 9 a.m. and racing is from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Cars are only $20 to race all day and spectators can come for just $5. Kids 13 and under are in free. Hope to see you at the track real soon!
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