January 29, 2002 | 12:00 A.M. EST
I went huntin’ this here past weekend with a few friends of mine – uncle Elton, Two-Toes Tommy, Jimbo and Jumbo (the Clyborn twins) and ol’ Satch (the finest hound this side of Wakateecheekomatimba Creek).
Me and the boys got us a few possums, some squirrels and a jack rabbit, but mostly we spent time hoverin’ around the fire and talkin’ racin’.
I figured, just fer the fun of it all – but mostly cuz after a few sips of strawberry wine I done promised all of’m I’d put their names in my column somewheres this week – I’d let y’all sit back and take in our INcredibly INsightful, INtriguin’, INterestin’, INbred conversation.
Bubba: Y’all bout ready fer them boys to start tearin’ it up at Dayton’r?
Uncle Elton: Bubba, ya know dern well Dayton’r is gonna be another joke of a race where either some feller like Michael Waltrip or Bobby Hamilton is gonna be just as fast as Jeff Gordon or Tony Stewart despite havin’ an inferior crew, car and driver. Then, without them dern plates, fellers like Waltrip and Hamilton is gonna fade to the back until the next plate race.
Two-Toes Tommy: Yeh, I mean why the heck work them boys in the shop fer 14 hours a day fer seven days a week if all NASCAR’s gonna do is make the fast cars slower and the slower cars faster?
Jimbo: I can’t hardly stand to watch them cars all bunched up like that. Ya just know somebody is gonna lose it and about 20 cars is gonna wreck and somebody is gonna go flippin’ down the straightaway.
Jumbo: Scares me too, Jimbo. Hey, Ol’ Satch, what’s your take on how the season is gonna start at Dayton’r?
Ol’ Satch: Ruff.
Bubba: It may start out rough fer sure, but there’s so much talent out there this year I’m bettin’ we get about 20 different winners.
Uncle Elton: Who ya reckon is gonna be a first-time winner this year?
Two-Toes Tommy: Ain’t no doubt about it, NASCAR is gonna spread the Dodge cheer this time around and give Caseyboy his first.
Jimbo: What? NASCAR givin’ Dodge an advantage enough that even Caseyboy wins? No way.
Jumbo: Hey, Ol’ Satch. How you reckon Caseyboy’s season will be?
Ol’ Satch: Ruff.
Bubba: Casey might struggle some fer sure, but my eyes is gonna be up front where Jeff Gordon, Tony Stewart, Kevin Harvick and Dale Earnhardt Jr. is gonna be runnin’.
Uncle Elton: Them boys ain’t got nothin’ on my man Dale Jarrett, this is gonna be his year.
Two-Toes Tommy: Y’all is both wrong, this is the year fer Sterlin’ Marlin, with Rusty Wallace and Bobby Labonte right on his tail.
Jimbo: I’m puttin’ all my money ($13.45) on Mark Martin makin’ an amazin’ comeback from the horribliferic 2001.
Jumbo: Hey, Ol’ Satch, how you reckon Mark Martin’s season is gonna be in 2002?
Ol’ Satch: Ruff.
Bubba: Well, we know the racin’ is gonna be good… and we can pretty much count on the tv coverage bein’ good, too, right?
Uncle Elton: How the heck could it be worse?
Two-Toes Tommy: I hear ya, man. Hey, ya reckon we could see that “what ‘loose’ means” graphic one more time?
Jimbo: I hear it’s gonna be better this year, y’all… really. I hear DW can only talk about his drivin’ talents instead of the race 25 times per hour, that Bestwicker feller don’t have to salute ever’time he sees a NASCAR official anymore, and that FX thing none of us could watch last year is now amazin’ly in one out of every 153,000 race fans’ homes!!! Heck, I ain’t gotta drive but 175 miles to see it this year.
Jumbo: Hey, Ol’ Satch, how ya reckon the coverage is gonna be this year?
Ol’ Satch: Ruff.
Bubba: Awright y’all, pass me that last sip of wine and let’s hit the hay. But before we do, y’all lay it on the line… Who will be the 2002 Winston Cup champion?
Uncle Elton: Puttin’ my money down on that Gordon kid again. I ain’t fer’m, but I’ll be derned if I see a feller that can be as consistently good as that youngin’.
Two-Toes Tommy: I gotta figure them Yates boys got it all figured out now, and either Rudd or Jarrett is gonna slip by the kid.
Jimbo: I’m feelin’ like this Harvick boy is gonna pull an Earnhardt and go from rookie of the year to champeen.
Jumbo: I’m tired of the Miss Congeniality folks – Jarrett, Labonte, Gordon – winnin’ it all. It’s time fer a son-of-a-gun to take it all… so I’m pullin’ fer Tony Stewart.
Ol’ Satch: Actually, gentlemen… the correct response to the question offered by Mr. Baker happens to be none other than Dale Earnhardt Jr… you can bark my words on that.
Bubba: Wholly crapola!!!! Any of the rest of y’all just hear Ol’ Satch speak?
Uncle Elton: Put that wine away fellers, this stuff is gettin’ pretty dern scary.
Two-Toes Tommy: Yeh, this is scarier than seein’ Buckshot Jones in your rearview mirror.
Jimbo: This is scarier than Jack Roush without his hat.
Jumbo: This is scarier than NASCAR sayin’ it has this safety stuff under control?
Bubba: Don’t get carried away now….
Time to put out the fire, y’all. I’ll talk at ya next week… I reckon.