NASCAR victory celebrations need an overhaul
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Jimmie Johnson's postrace victory burnouts have become cliche, especially with the four-time Sprint Cup champion having done 25 of them since the start of the 2007 season.
This is how some of the best drivers in the world celebrate wins in the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series.
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Carl Edwards' victory celebration is unique, explaining its popularity with fans (show here at TMS in 2006). After all, not everybody can pull off a backflip from the roof of their car.
Do fans really enjoy this "celebration?" If you love motorsports the way I do, you love the sweet smell of racing fuel, the aroma of hot tires and even the odor of race car exhaust (maybe that explains some things). But I find nothing pleasant in cheering a driver to a victory only for him to lay a thick cloud of blue/white smoke on 200,000 people in the grandstands as a reward for our cheers. It's kind of like spraying for mosquitoes -- only bigger.
The unique celebrations are great. Carl Edwards' backflip is great because Carl can do it. Can you beat Jimmie, Jeff, Tony and the rest and still look like an Olympic gymnast by nailing the dismount? That's skill.
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Tony Stewart hasn't climbed the fences in quite a while, bucking his victory celebration even after winning four Sprint Cup races in 2009.
Tony Stewart kind of swiped Castroneves' act. It's great fun to see the emotional Castroneves still climbing fences after a win. But it's great to see a chubby Tony Stewart struggle to successfully climb the fence. Stewart will even tell you that from time to time he's downright fat. It's part of his appeal. I just hope the fences can hold the load.
And then there is the "Polish Victory Lap," developed by the late Alan Kulwicki, the 1992 NASCAR Cup Series champ. Kulwicki, who was Polish, was an engineer and known for being quiet and studious. Those of us that knew him well knew Kulwicki had a sharp sense of humor and loved to have fun.
When Kulwicki won his first Cup race in 1988, he did his victory lap running clockwise around the track, not counter-clockwise as the race is run. When he got to Victory Lane, the media asked him about it and Kulwicki beamed and referred to it as his "Polish Victory Lap." Only Kulwicki could get away with making fun of his own ethnicity and everybody loved it. When Kulwicki died in April 1993 in an airplane crash, other drivers started doing "Polish Victory Laps" after their wins in a nod of respect to Kulwicki.
But the burnouts and the donuts? Not special. Not original. If you have nothing original, just go to Victory Lane and accept the trophy.