This And That

Does opening a new Waffle House count?- Rumors are flying NASCAR brass have told government entities in the Martinsville, VA area that they need to encourage the construction of new hotels and restaurants in the area or risk losing one or both of their race dates. Hey, I’m as into fine dining as anyone. When traveling I always look for a drive-thru window with one of those carport thingies overhead so I don’t get soaked when I power down a window. And I once flat out refused a motel room because a length of yellow police tape was still tied to the door handle and I don’t need to be dealing with the vengeful ghost of a transvestite hooker in the predawn hours. But wouldn’t it make more sense to tell the management at tracks like California and Las Vegas they need to do something with their tracks to encourage a better quality of racing? Race fans in general attend races hoping to see some good action on the track not to brag to their friends about their five star dining experiences the night before the event.

RacingOne Internet Guru Pete Pistone recently wrote a column questioning if CART would survive. Having watched the coverage of Sunday night’s race tape-delayed on SPEED my only question is “Who cares?” What a farce. Vancouver is a beautiful city (with many fine drive thru windows) and it makes for a picturesque backdrop to the circuit. But street circuit itself is hardly conducive to racing. It was like watching cowboys trying to ride rodeo bulls through a cattle chute. Two drivers managed to wreck themselves out of the race in separate incidents during the parade lap. The start of the race was a complete mess with the outside pole-sitter having jumped the start so blatantly that Stevie Wonder would have called a foul, yet the green flag flew which made the start official. Three commercial breaks later the CART brass apparently admitted that their own flag man had screwed up and ordered the leader to give way to the second place driver. That was the only on-course pass for the lead in the entire event. Meanwhile inept drivers who were apparently serving as field-fillers managed to take out two podium contenders. In one instance a driver did something so incredibly stupid SPEED channel commentator Tommy Kendall labeled it “a dumb ass move.” (His exact words.) After the race one of the drivers whose apparently still taking English 101 said, “I made a good achievement.” Somehow I don’t see US race fans warming up to this group of drivers. Earlier this week CART fined the winner of the last two races, Paul Tracy, $15,000 dollars (Canadian?) for wearing short pants to a press conference. I mean, OK, he’s Canadian so he probably has fish belly white legs with huge knobby knees and he was probably wearing white socks and Birkenstocks but since when is CART the fashion police? Mr. Tracy’s comments this weekend will probably earn him about a gazillion dollars in fines.

Several readers have written me to ask why TNT didn’t show the imbecile who ran across the track at Pocono during one of the caution periods. For one thing, there’s some question as to whether said individual was wearing pants at the time of his performance (Since Paul Tracy was in Vancouver my guess is it wasn’t him.) More obviously if TNT had chosen to show the doubtlessly inebriated moron dashing across the track by next weekend there’d be dozens of wannabe celebrities lined up at Indy ready to make a mad dash across the track so they could be on TV. A fellow wearing a kilt recently took to the track during the English Grand Prix and all the media coverage his near suicidal stroll garnered doubtlessly served as encouragement for the idiot at Pocono. I’d suggest tracks work with local law enforcement to have those who trespass onto the track or even throw objects onto it during a race charged with “Risking a catastrophe”, a crime that carries significant prison time if the accused is found guilty, to discourage such behavior in the future. For those who hadn’t heard, the drunken individual who dashed across the track at Pocono back in 1993 served a year in prison for his little stunt. Think accordingly when you drink excessively.

The owners of the Philadelphia Eagles tried stealing a page from the ISC playbook but it didn’t work out too well. See, we here in the City Of Brotherly Love (well actually that’s just a neighborhood down around 10th and Pine) are about to open a new football stadium, the Linc. (Making Philadelphia the only city with a sports venue named after a member of the Mod Squad, but I digress.) The Eagles management decided that when the new stadium opened they were going to do away with the longstanding tradition of allowing fans to bring in their own food to the games. (Philly tradition involves bringing a hoagie, which some of you may know as a grinder or a submarine sandwich.) They cited “security” as the reason for the decision noting a terrorist could disguise a bomb as a hoagie and cause havoc. (Where have I heard that before?) An Eagles spokesperson reacted with outrage when a reporter dared to ask if the real reason for the outside food ban might not be pure profit.

Well race fans might have taken the ISC ban with barely a peep, but Iggles fans reacted with outrage. It’s all anyone in these parts has been talking about for weeks. They grew even more incensed during an open house at the new stadium when they found out Hoagies were $6.50 and a large soda was four bucks. And they practically went ballistic when they found out there were no water fountains available in areas of the stadium open to rank and file fans though there were plenty on the skybox concourses. The outrage reached such a fevered pitch that a state congressman proposed legislation that would protect the “rights” of fans to bring in their outside food. The fiasco got to the point the Eagles began looking for a dignified way to retreat and the Governor of the state stepped in to negotiate an end to “Hoagie-Gate”. As this is written no official announcement has been made, but the end of it all will be fans will be allowed to bring in outside food through certain gates where security guards will check for contraband whereas fans who don’t bring anything to the game will be able to use different gates to avoid the delay. I know it’s so because Action News Extreme Babe Maureen McCormack said it was so. It occurs to me that California’s Governor Gray Davis is in a bit of hot water right now. Hey, Gray, how about negotiating with the ISC to find a way to allow race fans to bring their coolers into Fontana?




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