2003 Couchie Awards
December 3, 2003 | 9:28 A.M. EST
The Unsolved Mysteries Award- So what was that small black box that a member of Terry Labonte’s crew picked up off the track after Labonte won the last Southern 500? After that race if team members went over the wall to greet their winning driver it seemed NASCAR dispatched an official to watch for any objects coming out of the car.
The Larry Flynt Award for Outstanding Taste in Broadcasting- To Chris Meyers and Jeff Hammond for their idiotic hot tub skit in a Pocono honeymoon suite with Marvin Gaye’s "Sexual Healing" playing in the background. Even for FOX that was a new low and that’s saying something.
The Britney Spears "Overexposed" Award- To Michael Waltrip. Between long, rambling senseless interviews, TV talks shows where he dominated conversation and a constant string of annoying commercials it was impossible to escape Microphone Waltrip this season. As with any Waltrip, a little goes a long way.
The "Wassup!" Award for Phrases We Don’t Need Ever to Hear Again- We’ve got numerous winners, "realignment", "growing the sport", "aero-push","boogity-boogity-boogity", "if points were awarded right now", "I was just fixing to say", and "Hollywood Hotel", but the winner goes to the oxymoron of the century, "modernizing tradition."
The Yogi Berra Award for Stating the Obvious- To NBC commentator Benny Parsons who during the Charlotte Busch broadcast expounded, "The leader is still leading." The man must be psychic. The same was true on every lap of every race this season.
The "Freedom of Speech Exercised All Race Long" Award- To Jeff Green, who saw fit to go complain to his car owner Richard Childress about getting wrecked by his teammate Kevin Harvick. Days later Green was unemployed.
The Ed Bradley Award for Investigative Reporting- To Dave Burns who was finally able to unearth exactly how many rolls of toilet paper were consumed during a race weekend at Charlotte. Now if they could just determine how many miles of videotape are wasted on useless pre-race puff pieces.
The Pontiac Aztek Award for a Truly Hideous Looking Car- Every time Kenny Schrader ran the Carrot Top paint scheme I had to sleep with the lights on that night.
The Gloria Steinman Award for Sensitivity to Feminist Sensibilities- To Felix Sabates for his comments on Brooke Gordon during the divorce process- "If it wasn’t for (Jeff) she’d be working at Hooters.
The Randy Newman "Short People" Award- To Robby Gordon. Asked if he would talk to Jeff Gordon concerning his comments after Gordon’s controversial pass under caution at Sonoma- "He's not big enough to have a discussion with me."
The New Coke Award For Marketing Excellence- For NASCAR’s decision to move the traditional Labor Day date from Darlington to California. Yeah, that ought to provide some incentive for viewers to give up Sunday afternoon on a summer holiday weekend to watch a boring parade of gaudily colored cars.
Unintentional Nickname of the Season- When Michael Waltrip popped up through his new roof escape hatch after winning Talladega he may have unintentionally provided a new nickname for the device, "Jerk in The Box."
Best Reply To a Dumb Question by the Media- After his violent wreck at Talladega Jeannie Zalasko asked a clearly irritated Ryan Newman if he was OK. Newman’s response was, "I could be better, don’t you think?"
The Curtis Turner Award for A Dern Fine Race- If you weren’t on your feet screaming as Ricky Craven and Kurt Busch battled off the fourth corner on the final lap at Darlington this spring with fenders clanging and tires smoking, check your pulse. You may be dead and they haven’t gotten around to burying you yet.
The Mindless Monotony Award for the Worst Race of the Year- To Joliet. There was exactly one on track pass for the lead under the green flag. I kept waiting for an announcement Michael Schumacher had won.
The Chernobyl Award For a Meltdown of a Month- To Jeff Gordon for the month of August which included races at Watkins Glen, Michigan, Bristol and Darlington with a best finish of 28th. That’s beyond weird because not only has Gordon won well at all those tracks, he’s often dominated. Had he managed to match his average finish at all four tracks he’d have been this year’s champion. I am baffled as to what might have happened beyond saying maybe all the bad luck he should have experienced back in 1998 finally caught up with him.
Well we need to take a brief commercial break to extinguish that flaming barrel of champagne, and to assist the local police in wresting that penile puppet away from Brent. And there’s always the possibility that our audience includes the one person in America who hasn’t seen that annoying Dale Earnhardt Jr. Enterprise rent-a-car add a thousand times already, so if you’re out there, pay special attention. Sometimes having the right car can make all the difference. Like at Talladega for instance. The Couchies awards will resume shortly.
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