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Real Racing Involves Turning Both Ways

Although I love all forms of motorsports, 2 wheeled, 4 wheeled, or no wheeled, a true racer, which encompasses most drivers born and raised at tracks outside of the USA, know that to be truly considered a real driver you must be able to turn left AND right.

Don't get me wrong, I don't begrudge those that run in a straight line for a quarter mile, or those that only turn left for 34 of their 36 races, but a complete driver needs to be able to do more. I know it's not easy to keep a vehicle on the straight and narrow on a dragstrip and I know that drafting at Daytona and Talladega, or at Indy or Michigan for that matter in an open wheeler, can be like walking on ice in high heels in a windstorm, but to be considered an elite driver, at least on the world stage, a drivers resume needs to be more complete.

Am I stating that no driver in NASCAR is worthy of elite status? Absolutely not! Drivers such as Tony Stewart and Jeff Gordon certainly qualify among the elite. But that's due in part to their diverse backgrounds and the continuance of their driving education as exemplified by their involvement in other racing disciplines such as the Rolex 24, Race of Champions, the Chili Bowl, etc. Tony Stewart in fact should one day be placed on a plateau with such drivers as A.J. Foyt and Mario Andretti who, in their heydays, were not afraid to drive anything. (Don't forget Mario's resume includes winning the Daytona 500, Indy 500, and Formula 1 and CART Championships).

What about drivers like Jimmy Johnson and Dale Earnhardt Jr.? The jury is out on Dale (remember his ALMS Corvette warm-up crash at Sears Point) but I give Jimmy credit as his road work is good and he continues to improve by participating in other series. In fact I fully believe, providing he and Paul Tracy learn to stay off the golf course, that Jimmy has the ability to one day be classified among the elite.

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