Good Gracious 500

Another race (and I use that term loosely) is in the can.

I didn’t mention “Nascar” once last week. That must mean they weren’t intrusive and did a good job. Thanks. Unfortunately, this week is different.

This Noah’s Ark type racing was cute for a while. Now it’s just silly, if not embarrassing to the sport. Racing has always had its cops and robbers aspect, and it is most prevalent at Talladega. The latest farces are brand orders and pit road shenanigans. Both of them, as used Sunday, were shameful and potentially dangerous.

Talladega has been a problem for Nascar since day one. It took about 19 years for the problems with the track to shift from driver safety to fan safety. Since then, Nascar has tweaked the cars ad nauseam to keep the colloseum viable. There are really only two options: the Kyle Pettyesque “fill it with water and fish” option, or take off the restrictor plates, keep the grandstands empty, and let them race.

Imagine a non race fan channel surfing. When they hit ESPN during the Talladega raceĀ  they would surely pause and probably think something like “what the heck is that” or “that’s intriguing”. Maybe that’s Nascar’s ploy. We all know that just a few minutes of witnessing a race is tantamount to the “circus coming to town”. (I mean that in a good way.) Maybe this is Nascar’s way of accidentally attracting new fans.

I understand racers may want to pace themselves and take care of their equipment, but “hanging out” in the back is not the same and is not in an auto racer’s DNA. There seems to be only one reason for Talladega: being able to promote it as “The world’s fastest oval”. It may have been at one time, but isn’t even close now.

Speaking of previous blogs, nascar.com bleeped part of the title – “Crap Shoot 400” from a couple weeks ago. Should that have been one word? Would that have made it acceptable? Earlier today I watched a video on nascar.com in which a commentator used the euphemistic adjective “freaking”. It was not in the Halloween sense of the word. Oh well, this is the United States of the Offended.

If Ned was in the booth we’d know what’s up with Boston Reid.

By Gary Erdakos

Ref: racing-reference.info, Greg Fielden’s “Forty Years of Stock Car Racing”, Richard Sowers’ “The Complete Statistical History of Stock-Car Racing”.

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