If you were one of the drivers that isn?t considered as one of the contenders on a weekly basis, you would probably like getting TV time, wouldn?t you? It?s good for your sponsors, good for your team and it points out how spectacularly you are running. However, getting the reporters? attention can also spell your doom and commit you to a far less than impressive finish.
Time after time I have seen the same scenario play out. One of the reporters comments on how good it is to see someone ?different? up front and then go on to say something about ?this being their best track? or praises them for doing so well. Next thing you know they spin, get wrecked, get caught up in something ahead of them or have a mechanical failure.
This weekend Paul Menard and David Ragan fell prey to this curse. While running in and around the top 10 during the beginning of the race, the announcers commented on Paul and praised him for how well he was running. Two hundred laps later I breathed a sigh of relief and stated, ?I guess the reporters talking about him didn?t cause him problems after all.? The next thing out of their mouths, though, was ?Paul Menard is down a cylinder?. Sure enough, a few laps later he pulled into the garage and was done for the night. David Ragan?s story was not much different. Running solidly in the top 20 and moving forward he snagged the attention of the ESPN crew?and unexplainably spun out a few laps later.
On the flip side I did not hear A.J. Allmendinger, despite his spending time in the top 10, or Marcos Ambrose mentioned very much. A.J. wound up netting an 18th place finish, but Marcos stayed under the radar and captured his fourth top 10 of the year. Regan Smith and Reed Sorenson somehow escaped the normal pitfall and finished 17th and 14th, respectively. They might have been saved by being mentioned so late in the race with not enough laps for any real calamity to befall them.
Sam Hornish Jr. has clearly not had the best of performances this year, but perhaps his real problem is TV time. Just as he starts picking things up, the reporters zero in on him and draw attention to that fact. From there he is bound to encounter some unexplainable problem. After all, how does someone who knows how to succeed in a racecar spin out seemingly at the touch of a button? Or perhaps the TV control booth directs more than just what presents itself for our eyes?
So perhaps Paul Menard, David Ragan, Regan Smith, Sam Hornish Jr, Reed Sorenson and those that people consider a ?breath of fresh air? when they are performing well should tell the broadcasters ?Don?t talk about me!?
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