Kyle Petty needs to get out of the car and into the booth


Kyle Petty is better suited for his new role in NASCAR as a part-time analyst for Sprint Cup telecasts on TNT (Cable 18) than continuing as a racecar driver.

It's not just because he hasn't won a Cup race since 1995 and had only eight victories in 814 races entering this year.

The 48-year-old with the most famous ponytail in sports was darn good in the booth during Sunday's race in Pocono, Pa. He's eloquent, funny and spoke his mind along with fellow analyst Wally Dallenbach, another former racer.

They could become the best-talking tandem in motor sports.

And they weren't shills for NASCAR.

They questioned why it took rescue workers so long to attack a fire after Juan Pablo Montoya crashed his No. 42 Dodge after 157 of 200 laps. Montoya drove to where two rescue workers were stationed and got out of his car quickly on his own.

But the duo never tried to attack the fire at the rear of the car. NASCAR defended the stoic rescue workers by saying their jobs were driver safety and not to put out the fire, though they had fire extinguishers.

Huh?

Regular Review-Journal reader and NASCAR nut Angie Hulsey of Las Vegas was confused by NASCAR's explanation, as was I.

"I don't care if they're saying those first guys were only for the safety of the driver and not for the car care * if that was the case, what were they doing with those fire extinguishers they were holding?" she asks.

"They knew the driver was out; one of them could have started putting the fire out.''

She brings up the best question: Why doesn't NASCAR have a full-time safety team instead of using what the track supplies?

"I haven't heard the debate about NASCAR needing its own ‘safety' team in quite some time, but I'm thinking the debate needs to start up again," she wrote to me minutes after the Montoya incident.

"I think it would be a really good idea for NASCAR to have its own safety team Ñ they could work each week just like a pit crew does and practice getting drivers out of cars in different situations Ñ they'd know the drivers, the drivers would trust them and know that they knew what they were doing and weren't just "volunteers" who weren't accustomed to working on race cars week in and week out.

"I'm still a new fan to the NHRA, but if I'm understanding correctly, isn't that what the Safety Safari is Ñ a set group that moves with the NHRA?"

You are so right, Angie.

This is the most recent example of why NASCAR should be ashamed that it is the only major American racing series without a traveling safety/rescue team.

NHRA has one, and so does the Indy Racing League. NASCAR doesn't and is clearly the most profitable of the group.

This is great insight by Angie, who is a supporter of the Las Vegas chapter of Speedway Children's Charities and North Carolina's Victory Junction Gang Camp for kids with major health issues.

And you have to love the way Angie closes her e-mails: "God, Goofy & NASCAR ... what a great country!"

THREE STATES, TWO WRECKS, ONE SPIN

Kyle Busch pulled off his three NASCAR races in three days and three states with less than gratifying results.

After qualifying 10th at Pocono, Pa., for the Cup race, he jetted to Fort Worth, Texas, where he finished second in the Craftsman Truck race.

It was downhill from there.

His first crash was in Saturday's Cup practice before he left for the Nationwide race near Nashville, Tenn., where tire problems relegated him to a 20th-place finish.

At Pocono on Sunday in the Cup race, he started from the rear of the pack after his second crash in two days occurred 47 laps into the race. He returned to the track down 87 laps and soon spun into the infield. He finished last in the 43-car field.

The trifecta was a good effort, but no more globetrotting on Cup weekends if he wants to contend for racing's premier championship.