Random Rants

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Misteaks- Credit has to be given where credit is due. In a practically unprecedented move earlier this week NASCAR president Mike Helton admitted NASCAR had made a mistake last Sunday in Texas when they “interjected” themselves into the decision making process as to who got a lap back rather than leaving it for Jeff Gordon and Matt Kenseth to figure out. That’s quite noble. It takes a big man to admit he’s wrong and no one has ever doubted Helton is a big man. Huge actually.

When confessing one’s sins one might as well truly unburden themselves, get it all out in the open and seek forgiveness rather than dragging out the process. I’m sure everyone at NASCAR would feel a lot better if Helton would read the following statement:

We were mistaken when we allowed the “stock” to be taken out of stock car racing which has resulted in these tube frame silhouette race cars we have today and their finicky aerodynamic characteristics that are destroying the sport. We pulled another big boner when we lost our way and put “enhancing shareholder value” ahead of the good of our long term fans and the future of the sport. We’ll cut that out now.

I’ve been scratching my chins for years trying to figure out how we could maintain the façade that NASCAR and the ISC are separate entities and the ISC doesn’t get preferential treatment from NASCAR. I mean how damn transparent could we have been lying to ya’ll? We’ll straighten that situation out directly.

Hey, did we screw up that Dale Earnhardt investigation or what? All right we treated you all like a bunch of morons and thought you’d buy our “Golly Gee Mr. Science” show. It was bad wrong to blame Bill Simpson for what happened. We feel awful the walls at Daytona still don’t have the SAFER system installed. It’s one thing to drag your feet. It’s another thing to put on a pair of golf spikes before doing so. Despite the sorry fifteen year history of restrictor plate racing, we screwed the pooch and allowed that nonsense to continue rather than having the ISC, which is a completely separate entity….oops, old habits die hard, forgive me, fix their damn tracks. They’ve been put on notice.

Realignment? What the Hell were we thinking. Article 4? We really made ourselves look like a pack of jackasses on that one, didn’t we? Tim Sullivan if you want your old job back call me directly. And of course it was a huge mistake to sell the soul of this sport to television networks. Yeah, we cashed the big check but we didn’t expect they’d be telling us when to throw a caution flag, where to hold our races and what time those races will start. That’s simply unacceptable. We’re starting to make some remedial steps in that direction. The Hollywood Hotel is hereby banned from the garage. Chris Meyers has been banned for life for that stupid skit involving the mechanical bull last week which our research indicates was the most universally despised minute of television ever broadcast. And Darrell Waltrip has been put on notice “Boogity, boogity, boogity” is detrimental to the sport and an appropriate fine will be forthcoming.

As with any organization ultimate responsibility rests with the top brass. As such Mr. France and I hope to enjoy many relaxing afternoons fishing now that we’re retired and he’s bought a cute little sailor’s suit for his son Brian who will be piloting the boat. Rest assured I’ll be wearing a life vest with that guy at the helm. My position will be filled by Mr. Humpy Wheeler of Charlotte. He faces a monumental task fixing our screw ups of the last decade or so, but we’re confident we’re leaving the sport in good hands.

Realignment Revisited- Bill France has stated that tracks in minor TV markets in areas already saturated with race dates and whose management hasn’t kept up with the times may lose a race date. So I did some digging and I think I’ve found the perfect candidate for realignment, Talladega. An overwhelming majority of fans and drivers hate plate racing yet the track hasn’t been modified to allow for unrestricted racing in all these years. Lights haven’t been added to the track either. The 2000 population of Talladega county is listed as 80,321 souls while there are 91,928 people in the Rockingham area. It’s hard to imagine any sponsor seeing rural Alabama as a prime marketing oppurtunity unless it’s those folks who are pushing bone-sucking sauce. Talladega is 106 miles distant from Atlanta which already has two race dates. Darlington is 101 miles from Charlotte which also has two race dates but I can’t see anyone quibbling over five miles. So why isn’t Talladega on the endangered list?

Boycotting ?- A recent article hinted a major sponsor is withholding buying ads during NASCAR broadcasts at least until July when NBC takes over the broadcasts. Said sponsor is said to have serious issues with the way FOX presents the sport. The article didn’t mention which sponsor made that call so almost immeadiately I started getting emails from readers curious to find out if I knew which sponsor was involved.

The short answer is I do not. I’ve asked everyone I can think to ask and could not get a definite answer. But I did get more than a few hints.

Which company well noted for it fleet of blimps that hover over sporting events hasn’t sent one to a Winston Cup race lately? Have you noted a serious freedom of ads for a certain tire company during race broadcasts despite the fact their having a pretty good year with every Winston Cup winner to date using their product? Have you noted that all of a sudden pit reporters for FOX are just saying that drivers are pitting for four new tires while neglecting to mention which brand of tire will be installed as the did regularly in the past? Have you noted camera angles during pit stops are now chosen so you can’t read those bright yellow letters on the sidewall of tires in most instances and that if those big yellow letters become visible as a tire is passed back over the wall the camera angle changes abruptly enough to give viewers at home motion sickness? Have you noticed drivers interviewed after the race are no longer singing the praises of one sponsor? Are those drivers not thanking the tire people or are their comments being edited? And which TV network that bills itself as ultra-patriotic recently had a “presented by” sponsor which is in fact a French tire manufacturer? (No, Bunky, Michelin is not headquartered in South Carolina any more than Honda’s home headquarters is Marysville, Ohio.)

FOX network executives have long admitted their not going to give exposure to sponsors that don’t also buy ad minutes. In fact rumors are rife a certain top executive at 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue has a letter from FOX on his desk stating that FOX will no longer cover the National Anthem or show Old Glory unless the US Government pays for the exposure.

Intent- While admitting mistakes NASCAR officials are still insisting they did the right thing in penalizing Brian Vickers for passing to the left coming to a restart during the Texas Busch event when no pass was actually made. By now we’ve all heard the convoluted logic about intent and Vickers having been “in the act of passing.” NASCAR’s Jim Hunter cited the example of a driver on the highway pulling over the double yellow line preparing to pass a car ahead of him in a no passing zone. To make sure I talked to the State Cop who lives in my building and he told me in the above example the driver would be cited for a failure to heed traffic control symbol” violation, not illegal passing since no pass was made.

Then there’s this example I’m sure most of you have done yourself. Late in the evening with traffic light you pull up to a red light with the intent to a right turn. Only there’s a big “No Right On Red” sign posted at the intersection. But what the hey, it’s late, there’s no traffic and you’ve got a clear view of traffic coming down the cross street. So you edge the car forward a little, wheels cocked to the right and take a final glimpse over your shoulder at which point you see the cop car sitting in the gas station across the way lights out but engine running and it lurches noticeably as the cop drops it in gear preparing to take off after you. So you freeze in position, adjust your rearview mirror, then look at that “No Right Turn on Red” sign mouth gaping theatrically as if you’d just seen it for the first time. And of course, by doing so you save yourself a ticket for making an illegal right turn against the red light. As long as it’s not Officer Hunter in that Crown Victoria squad car sitting in the gas station.


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Monster Energy NASCAR Cup, 2003

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