It Was Fixed Kinda
July 10, 2001 | 12:00 A.M. EST
Y’all pop off them fireworks fer the kids last week and over the weekend? We shore did.
One of the traditions in my neck of the woods is lettin’ the youngest of the group commence to startin’ the show by holdin’ one of them fountain fireworks deals in his hand and chasin’ squirrels with it.
I’m happy to report little Elton LeeRoy Baker done us proud by not burnin’ down the barn or settin’ the field on fire. He certainly did a much better job than our neighbors’ youngins – Lefty and Stumpy – did with them Roman candles last year.
Anywho, y’all wanna talk racin’, and so do I. So, here’s some stuff I seen, heard and was thinkin’…
*Holy good gobbledigoop, could that race at Dayton’r this weekend have got ya more excited?
Let’s just start by sayin’ this… of course the dern thing was rigged, and there ain’t no ifs, ands or big ol’ butts about it.
Anybody who don’t think it was rigged and actually saw how he was passin’ folks without the help of a draft - and then holding off a freight train several times without the help of a draft – either watched a different race, is lettin’ their emotions take over reality, or really wants a better seat at the Cup banquet this year.
Folks, this weren’t just some great sports moment happenin’. The power Jr.’s car had Saturday – put into terms of other sports – weren’t like some feller hittin’ a home run… it’s like he hit an 800-foot home run. It ain’t like he scored a touchdown on his retirement day, it’s like he ran for 10 touchdowns.
Here’s the deal I don’t get, though. As much as it was clear to anybody honest with themselves somethin’ weren’t quite fair, y’all fans really don’t believe NASCAR rigged it, do ya?
Y’all really think the folks that have bobbled, bungled and flat-out screwed up a gajillion things the past few years are suddenly gonna come up with a brilliant plan to take the focus off their multiple screw-ups the first half of the season?
I ain’t buyin’ that.
No folks, this here race weren’t rigged by NASCAR. It was rigged from up above.
As God is my witness – and I am a God-fearin’ man – I believe Jr.’s car was utterly, completely and unfairly fast due to some feller in black up yonder pushin’ it around every turn and every other car.
I’m guessin’ a few million folks watchin’ that young feller and willin’ him around that place didn’t hurt neither.
*So, what did y’all think of NBC’s debut this season?
All in all it weren’t horrible, but golly jiggers, they gots a long ways to go.
First off, get that Bill Weber outta that sillified racin’ uniform. Bad enough he’s gotta sit on that glorified pit box, but to dress him up in a racin’ uniform is just a bad idea copied from ESPN. Y’all remember ever seein’ Howard Cosell in boxin’ trunks or shoulder pads?
Second off, I figured goin’ to a real network would mean some cool commercials. I swear - and my count ain’t too far off here – in the pre-race show I seen 47 Pepsi commercials fer the Pepsi 400. Gonna take me weeks to get that “Baaaaah bahbah baah baaah baaaaah” outta my skull.
*Y’all wonder why that Britney Spears girl wore an Evil Kneivel outfit to the race track? And what the heck is she doin’ as a grand marshal, anywho? She couldn’t care less about the racin’, the drivers or the fans, yet she gets to sit in a suite, do the start your engines command and walk around the garage area. If I were king, race fans would be grand marshals. NASCAR and its focus on the almighty dollar again. Makes ya proud, don’t it?
*Worst thing I seen this weekend: Even in my humble shack up in the woods, I heard from Monday on that Dale Jr. wanted to focus on racin’, that he didn’t want to be asked about his emotions about coming back to Dayton’r and all that jive. Folks in the press pretty much understood and didn’t knock down his door, especially on race day.
Then – and I couldn’t hardly believe this y’all – just as ol’ Britney gets ready to tell these boys to crank’m up, NBC has a feller squat down next to Jr.’s car and stick a microphone in his face to ask him about his emotions at this moment. Incredible.
*The race itself? Ah heck, the drivers don’t want to be in these restrictor-plate messes, you could skip and hour or more and not miss a dern thing, and the top drivers drop to the back of the field on purpose until the end of the race. Just the fact that Michael Waltrip can have two Top 5s at Daytona, and not finish better than 13th on any other track, tells you how ridiculous it is to even count these as points events. Next thing you know, somebody like Bobby Hamilton will end up winnin’ one of these things.
*As far as the big wreck goes? Look, remember when you used to watch races at Daytona and holler and cheer for three hours or so. Now, I find myself sittin’ there holdin’ my breath, all but prayin’ somebody don’t bobble just the slightest bit and flip into a dozen other cars or so. With all of the advancements in racin’, is this better than it used to be?
*Hey, my boss sent me this press release thingy talkin’ about NASCAR and how they’s got some new marketing scheme called "The Championship: 2001" where they’s gonna do stuff like, “focus on how the championship race is shaping up, who the contenders are and what the drivers and their teams think they need to do to win the NASCAR Winston Cup Series Championship.”
Honest to gosh, that’s right outta the release. They’s actually gonna cover the championship race and the contenders for it. Now that’s the creativity we’ve come to know and love. With originality like that, what could be next? How about copyin’ RacingOne and doin’ some sort of “Fans’ Choice Awards” or somethin’?
*I wants to commend that Brian Williams feller fer doin’ such a fine interview with Bill France and Mike Helton recently about the Earnhardt investigation. He asked all the right questions about this investigation - that’s gone on for what, five months now? - and got the answers we all pretty much expected. If ya missed it, here was the highlight fer me…
Brian Williams: “Mr. France, Mr. Helton, thank you for sitting down with us. We all miss Dale Earnhardt and you gentlemen knew Dale Earnhardt better than most. I’m going to ask you a direct question, whether you can answer it or not. What killed Earnhardt? Either of you can answer.
Bill France: “The fact that he hit the wall, that’s where we are right now. We’ve done extensive research and there’s an investigation going on which is not conclusive at this time.”
Oh, it was the fact that he hit the wall? Well, OK then.
*Y’all see that FOX’s Larry McReynolds is gonna work for Petty Enterprises and Jeff Hammond is gonna work for Roush Racin’? I ain’t exactly a graduate of no school of journalism, but I do know what ethics is, and I know folks callin’ races prolly shouldn’t be workin’ for or with teams they’re supposedly coverin’ fairly. Then again, it’s FOX… nevermind.
*Y’all please stop with this “Robby Gordon deserves a full-time ride crapola,” please. He done good on the road courses, sure, but y’all don’t remember him wearin’ out the walls in practice and qualifyin’ numerous times when he had his shots in the past? On behalf of the fellers that paint them walls at these tracks, no thank ya.
*Lastly, somebody please tell these drivers to stop their bitchin’ about having to work 20 weekends in a row. Me and everybody I know works five days a week instead of two or three – and no, I ain’t countin’ signing autographs or some fancy dinner paid for by some sponsor big-wig as work. And we do that for nearly 50 weeks a year. I won’t holler about workin’ 250 days a year if y’all promise to stop moanin’ about "workin’" 100 fewer days a year.
I’ll talk at y’all next week… I reckon.