Why so serious?
We remember Dale Earnhardt Sr. for being an intimidating figure. Tony Stewart is known for his fiery temper. Richard Petty is a regal, friendly individual who will forever be known as "The King." Sure, the guys just mentioned have had no shortage of success, but they also have another thing going for them:
As fans, we're drawn to personality more than success. Sure, Matt Kenseth is a former champion and two-time Daytona 500 winner (2009, 2012), but unless you follow the guy on Twitter, you're bound to not hear much from him. Kasey Kahne, as popular as he is, is more of a stoic character if anything.
The following individuals you are about to see have the personality equivalent of an ice cream cone. We should at least be grateful they chose racing instead of acting.
Has anyone heard anything out of Jeff Burton in recent years?
I miss the days when Jeff Burton racing for wins was a certain thing. At least we heard something out of him that didn't have to do with choice words directed at another driver.
I'll admit, Burton's status as an elder statesman for the sport has certainly afforded him the right to remain silent, but still, it is a little too silent for my taste. A little too meh. It seems as if we don't hear anything from him at all, unless he is genuinely angry. Then, and only then, will we catch a glimpse of him.
I guess it is a part of getting old, which, in Burton's case, I actually understand. Racing is a young man's game now.
Now that his son Ryan Blaney is racing in NASCAR, maybe we'll see Dave Blaney show some personality like Joey Logano's dad. Or is that wishful thinking?
When it comes to Dave Blaney, I just have too much respect for the man. He comes in and does his job, no questions asked, and that is what a true racer does. No questions asked. He's quiet, vaguely familiar with success and is making the most with the least equipment-wise.
The former sprint car standout may be a little too quiet, a little too laid-back for his own good. If he were to show some color in stock cars, he would have more than just a Busch Series win and two Cup Series poles.
Still, he's hanging in there race after race, and it would be nice to see him get his moment in the spotlight before he hangs it up for good.
Not even the fact that he's so short can help him here.
Justin Allgaier is a future Nationwide champion, in my opinion. He's fast, consistent and driven.
At least he has that going for him.
You can tell he's happy being in a good ride, let alone in NASCAR period, but other than that, he's a rather dull individual. He's not out there banging and leaning on other drivers, picking fights with bigger competitors or having a little fun on camera.
Given time, I'm sure that's bound to change. He's still growing in the sport, so we'll see whether or not he'll gain some footing personality-wise.
There! I said it! Junior is a boring individual!
Although I risk drawing the ire of Junior Nation, I have to come right out with it. Dale Earnhardt Jr. is one of the most boring, blandest personalities in NASCAR today.
Sure, he's the face of NASCAR. He's also a Daytona 500 winner who happens to be the son of the greatest driver who ever lived, Dale Earnhardt Sr. He's a savvy business man, a pop culture icon who happens to drive for one of the most successful organizations in the business and the object of affection for millions of fans.
Yet in all honesty, he's just not an enigmatic personality.
We were gripped not by him but by his story following his father's death. We were drawn to his father and placed hope in Junior, believing he'd be just like his father. But he isn't. He is his own man, and if he is content being silent and under the radar, then who are we to argue?
Maybe more seat time in the Nationwide Series will wake up the inner fire in Crafton.
Matt Crafton is one of those individuals who at one point seemed poised to make an impact in NASCAR. Of course, this was 11 years ago. As talented as he is, he has remained in the trucks for 11 years. In 11 years, he has managed only three wins and one runner-up points finish in 2009.
One reason I take issue with this is because as consistent of a driver as he is, he's been too content. He hasn't been anything close to aggressive in his career. In short, he's been bland, quiet. He hasn't been the center of attention as much as some of his counterparts. This has obviously hindered him.
As previously mentioned, maybe his strong run in the Nationwide Series at Kentucky would wake him up and show him that a little aggression goes a long way. He's too good not to be taking a swing at higher prizes in racing.
No tasteful quote would work on this picture. Sorry, Kasey.
Kasey came to prominence as a rookie phenom in 2004. That was nine years ago. In nine years, sure, he has won multiple races, secured multiple Chase spots and run consistently up front. In short, nine years that someone like David Reutimann would kill for.
But aside from an incident with Kyle Busch in 2005 at Loudon, Kahne hasn't necessarily been embroiled in a legitimate beat-and-bang feud. For that matter, he hasn't exactly made a serious run at the title. He just runs where he feels the car can fit. No aggression, no headlines, nothing remotely entertaining about the man.
He's devoid of color, except for the photo accompanying this slide.
Jamie is bland in a way that can be viewed in a positive manner, if that makes sense.
Jamie McMurray took us all by surprise when he won his first Cup race in only his second start way back in 2002. We had him pegged after that to be a future Cup champion, the heir apparent to the throne occupied by Jeff Gordon.
As of 2013, despite being a Daytona 500 winner, he has only won a total of six Cup races. Six in 11 years. He has had chances to win more, he has had chances to do more, and yet he's failed to capitalize on those chances.
Meanwhile, he has the personality of a cocker spaniel. Happy to be there and not much else.
They say opposites attract, so maybe he and Danica are truly meant to be together.
I'll cut the guy some slack, as he is a rookie. However, he's like a toned-down version of Austin Dillon. He tries too hard to be "country," but it only fails. He's just a dude who is content with a cowboy hat and being Danica Patrick's boyfriend.
Want to bet on who wears the fire suit in that duo?
He's too calm. Sure, it's too soon to say anything more considering he is fresh off of back-to-back Nationwide championships, so maybe he'll up his ante. But I see him becoming like Kasey Kahne or Dale Earnhardt Jr. He'll only be known for his statistics or being Patrick's boyfriend. His personality is just too forgettable.
Kenseth is like a Starburst. He's a contradiction.
Boring guys usually don't run up front on a regular basis and win championship. Yet Kenseth, as dull as he is, is an exception to that rule.
He's the 2003 Winston Cup champion, a two-time Daytona 500 champion and at press time has won more races than anyone else this season (four). Yet he isn't as mentally intimidating as Jimmie Johnson or as fiery on camera as Tony Stewart. He comes in, beats the field senseless, grabs his trophy and his check and leaves.
He does get the job done on the weekend, and that is one thing he has going for him. But other than yet, he's just Matt Kenseth from Wisconsin of all places.
What can you say about someone so...bland?
Getting down to brass tacks, not only is Paul Menard bland, he's just...bluh. There's not much to be said about the guy. One Cup win at Indy in 2011, one Busch/Nationwide win at Milwaukee in 2006 and not much more to that.
He only runs good enough to be remotely competitive, giving 15th place his absolute all. He acts dazed and confused in almost all his television interviews. Even fans don't know what to think about him.