Who’s Up to Being the Next Sheriff in Town?
As Tony Stewart rides Off into The Sunset,
Who’s Up to Being the Next Sheriff in Town?
Tony Stewart has eight more races until he gracefully dons his ‘always a Champion’ hat and rides off into the sunset for even greater racing adventures, no longer bound by the rules of NASCAR. Finally set free to be the, fly by the seat of the pants, live for racing, race anything racer we all love.
He’s through with driving Sprint Cup, He’s had it. He’s done with all the drama, on and off the track Soon it will be someone else’s problem. But who? The man described by competitors as the sheriff of the garage is not sure who’s up to being the next sheriff in town?
What do you think? In my opinion, it’s slim pickins’ to find someone as strong willed and willing to speak no matter the consequences. The way I see it right now, here’s the best 8 the drivers have to choose from.
- Matt Kenseth-Matt is an experienced veteran, a champion and has had flashes of speaking his mind and also taking the law into his own hands. I believe he is a trusted member of the garage area and could possibly step up and take a leadership role if Joe Gibbs doesn’t tighten the reigns. Personally I don’t think Matt has the passion to risk it all for the cause. When the going get’s tough…he goes.
- Kurt Busch-Once known as the “Outlaw”, Kurt could have what it takes to be a strong candidate to police the garage area. With the backing of Gene Haas and Tony Stewart fear of stepping over the line would not be a problem. Here my concern is, do the other drivers trust Kurt enough to come to him with their concerns and problems and have confidence he will speak for them. Does he really have enough clout with NASCAR to get them to listen? He could and in my opinion would go to the media forcing NASCAR’S hand in dealing with whatever the issue. Kurt too is a Champion who is an experienced veteran who is no stranger to controversy. Could he realistically replace Smoke as the new sheriff in town?
- Jimmie Johnson-Mr.6-Time is just too much of a goody two shoes to stand up for anything. He’s keeping his nose clean and not ruffling NASCARS feathers for anyone not even himself. He may be a 6-time Champion but drivers in the garage area don’t even respect him as a leader let alone trust him to speak for them.
- Martin Truex-Martin has had quite a bit of success over the last two seasons with his one car, Furniture Row team and is now respected throughout the garage area. He could become a voice for the drivers as time goes on. He seems like a pretty fair guy but will he take chances to stand up for causes that may or may not be his own. That has yet to be seen.
- Kyle Busch-Kyle has one thing going for him in this area, he’s vocal. You usually don’t have any problem knowing when Kyle is upset or feels wronged. He too is no stranger to controversy. He has that fiery personality that people either love or hate. He is a Champion and if he would pick up the cause and step up he could have some influence in the garage area. The question here is, fatherhood has mellowed Kyle and does he still have enough of that fiery passion for the racing game to pick up the causes of the whole garage area or will he let Joe Gibbs fight his NASCAR battles?
- Brad Keselowski-Well with Brad we know he’s not afraid to speak his mind as he has lately on a couple of issues concerning NASCAR safety. Brad is a loose cannon and he is also one of those drivers you love or you love to hate. If Brad could gain trust of the other drivers in the garage area he could be a voice for the drivers with upcoming issues.
- Kevin Harvick-Kevin is a Champion and respected veteran. Drivers go out every week knowing to win they will have to beat Harvick. Harvick has spoken out but mostly concerning things that affect him. I’m not sure the drivers trust him to speak for them or trust he will pick up the cause and stand by them unless it mostly benefits him. He should be the likely successor but will the drivers fall in behind him? Can they give him the same trust they gave Stewart?
- Dale Earnhardt JR.-The heir apparent, banking on his return, JR has everything needed to police the garage area because every driver and every crew chief there trusts him. They believe Jr has the good of the sport at heart. He knows the good of the old school racing and the good of the new. His father Dale SR ruled the garage area. Every driver went to him with their concerns. The difference is Dale SR had the ear of NASCAR. If he had a concern he got a meeting with Bill France and he got things done. Dale JR. doesn’t have that at least he’s not shown it. What he does have is a legion of fans incomparable with any other driver so he does have an ace in the hole. If push were to come to shove Dale Jr. could bring NASCAR to a standstill. That’s enough to make them listen but it remains to be seen if he will wield his power.
It looks like the Driver Council is the only hope right now for drivers to speak up or get things done and that is at a snail’s pace. Maybe some of the new faces on the scene will become a strong driver advocates. We will just have to see how it plays out when the dust settles.
What are your ideas? Leave me a comment below in the comments section.