NASCAR Fans Should Give Some Attention to the Little Guys

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NASCAR Fans Should Give Some Attention to the Little Guys

Very few things were learnt in the 250-lap snoozer round California Speedway.

We learnt that Jimmie Johnson is good. We knew that.

We learnt that Fontana races are like watching paint dry. We knew that.

We learnt that caution lights are pretty flimsy, and prone to falling off. OK, we didn't know that.

But one good thing did come out of it all; I found a new respect for NASCAR's tiny guys. And I mean really tiny.

I support the underdog in just about every sport. In F1, it's Force India. In NASCAR, my main guy is Dave Blaney, no matter how many years of my life endless screaming at the TV over recent weeks has cost me.

They are both underdogs, small-time guys (sorry Dave) for small-time teams, but they are huge compared to the tiny guys.

They include the No. 09 Miccosukee car that saw action at Bristol and is entered again for Saturday night's Richmond race; the Furniture Row team; and my new favourites, the No. 08 Dodge team that got into the race at Fontana, their 11th attempt of the season.

That stat says it all. Motorsport is probably the toughest sport to be the underdog, at the highest levels you're fighting it out with huge teams with huge wallets and enough technical boffins to get us back to the moon. Pitch that against a part-time with a small sponsor and you can guess who is going to come out worst.

Faced with these huge odds, it would be all too easy for the little teams to cut their losses, especially after a stretch of not making races like the No. 08 had. The venerable old No. 4 Morgan-McClure team packed it in after a horrid season in 2007 and a lack of decent sponsorship, and with the current economic climate, more teams from different series will probably follow them out the door.

All of this makes it even more incredible that these tiny teams continue to do the rounds of the Sprint Cup, not every race (the No. 08 team isn't entered at Richmond; to be fair, they probably deserve a week off) but they are still there. And while the Gibbs', the Hendrick's and the Roush's of NASCAR win, week in, week out, just making a race is like winning it for these guys. And I don't think we celebrate them enough.

This weekend at Richmond when the quali results come out, by all means look for your favourite driver, look for the guys around The Chase, but then look for the tiny guys fighting just to make it in. Give them a little love.

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