I bid you welcome gentle readers, and hope that you’ve enjoyed the Holidays so far, or possibly altogether, as I’m not really sure when this will see print. As I type, it’s Saturday afternoon, and Monday morning I’ll be having some “minor” surgery done, or as they prefer to call it these days, a “procedure.” That seems to cover a multitude of things, some of which I came to know through my husband’s illnesses are not so minor. Mine is merely the removal of a cataract, which I’ve already experienced on my right eye. It’s time now for the left one to have all the fun. After that, I’ll run out of eyes.
Because of this and a couple of other things, Partner Jim made an executive decision to semi-shut down the site for a few days and ask nothing of anyone, but when I see something that raises the hackles on the back of my neck, I don’t want to wait until the news is old and stale before commenting, so here I am, typing away with distorting droplets filling one eye. OK, let’s hear the “Aw” chorus for our Pity Patty Party. ? ? That’s what I thought…
Did the not so new news that Sprint will be taking its leave of NASCAR come as a real surprise to anyone out there? It shouldn’t have. I told you about the takeover by Southbank and a Japanese remake of Sprint that would soon follow, so most of us have been expecting it. What I wasn’t expecting though, is the apparent reason for the Sprint departure at the end of the 2016 season. Had it been the case that the new regime felt it necessary to tighten purse strings and cast a jaundiced eye at what the company has been spending on NASCAR as the series sponsor in proportion to what it’s getting in return from a failing entity, I would have concurred and cheered them on out the door. I’m still certain that part has to have played a factor in the decision to leave, but after reading the stated reason and where that money, or at least part of it, will be going now, I’m not sure whether to just be confused or get raging and irrationally mad enough to throw a Donald Duck tantrum on the steps of the NASCAR Hall of Fame.
It seems that the new CEO of what used to be Sprint[PKL1] , Marcelo Claure, is not Japanese at all, but hails from the Western Hemisphere, in a far-away land called Bolivia, so named in honor of explorer, soldier and statesman Simón Bolivar, who might be described as the Hispanic equivalent of George Washington, as he liberated Venezuela, Panama, Colombia, Ecuador, Peru and Bolivia from the Spanish Empire in their own revolutionary war to be free of European reign. Now it seems, some folks there must be considering a return to continental ways, if only in a sports sense. The hot ticket in Bolivia these days I’m told, is soccer. Yes gentle readers, you read that correctly. Sprint, or Southbank if you will, is dropping NASCAR sanctioned stock car racing in favor of putting their money on soccer… and hoping to bring it to Miami. Let us know how that works out for you Mr. Claure. As for me, I’m a car guy!
Ah well, we’ll now enjoy two years of second guessing who the new series sponsor might be, making up both serious and laughable names for it, and in the end, all wind up wrong because NASCAR has proven to be always for sale to the highest bidder, and that bidder need have no relationship whatsoever to anything automotive or involving speed. My fondest hope is that whoever it turns out to be… if the intent is to call the prize a cup, please, for Heaven’s sake, make it look like a cup!
Last Winston Cup 2003
What an elegant piece to grace center stage in any trophy room! The Winston Cup, from the beginning, featured not one, but three cups, all mounted on varying bases of polished wood. Yes gentle readers, elegant is the perfect word. Today, we have this:
Yes, it’s silver and yes, it’s shiny, but gentle readers, what is that? One thing it’s not is a Cup! Your scribe has never been able to look at that thing without recalling what someone pointed out when Nextel first came on the scene… that in any other context, it would be considered pornographic. “They” say it’s supposed to be two waving checkered flags. Sure, if you say so.
Anyone know what this is?
FIFA World Soccer Cup
It’s not as clear-cut as the Winston Cup, but nevertheless, still a cup. This one has prongs much like the setting of a solitaire diamond, cupping and supporting the globe, or “World” if you will…, thus, “World Cup.” I doubt it will ever be at home in Miami, but at least it’s honest about what it is.
And now, gentle readers, we enter that season known as “January.” All Holidays are over, most gifts returned or put away, and for most of us, no racing on the near horizon. It’s a long way to the Rolex 24 Hours of Daytona on January 24th & 25th. The following weekend it will be back to Football for that winter carnival from the NFL, where all of next year’s commercials are unveiled at once, accompanied of course, by the longest stage concert anywhere at any price. For those who survive that, it’s on to the following weekend, to be awakened at long last by the sound of V-8 engines roaring to life for the Sprint Unlimited on Valentine’s Day. There is a vicious rumor going ‘round that January is actually 90 days long, hence my reference to it as a season, not a month. I’m not sure how true that rumor really is, but I know it surely seems more like a season than a month. (That’s why I started the rumor) Over the coming season then, we here at Race Fans Forever will be doing our best to acquaint all of you with the drivers and teams for the upcoming racing season… the longest season known to mankind. Stay tuned for our Previews of the 2015 season, where you get to hear a bit from everyone, even those that usually only peek in for Fast Forward throughout the year.
Right now though, it’s time for our Classic Country Closeout, and for me, on to a day filled with NFL without personal meaning, having finished as first loser in my Fantasy League last week. Since we’re talking January and January means winter, let’s hear a bit about the snow that winter brings. Country Music can make even a bad thing seem good, you know. First up is one by Jim Reeves, everyone’s favorite Country Gentleman, singing about “Snowflake”, which coincidentally is the name of my tiny but beautiful new crown-tailed Betta fish.
Next, let’s hear a little bit of Blue Grass from the Blue Grass Man himself, Bill Monroe. Here Bill and the Boys treat you to a live performance of “Footprints in the Snow.” Please enjoy:
Last for today, we have one from the Italian Cowboy, Dean Martin. If you think Dino never sang Country, ask John Wayne. Regardless of his heritage, it has long been my considered opinion that Dean Martin is the only one that should ever sing, “Let it Snow, Let it Snow, Let it Snow”
One last thing before we part for today. There is a little gal from the American Southwest that has already earned her license to drive in ARCA and wants badly to race at Daytona on Valentine’s Day. She needs help, and several friends and I are trying to give her some. Her name is Cassie Gannis, and family has started a “Go fund me” page for her, that is handling contributions. There is no gift too small. As we all know well, it costs a lot of money to go racing, but gentle readers, what a shame it would be to see her talent wasted because she’s not one of the “rich kids.” There’s too much of that going on today. Please, let’s try to realize a dream for this beautiful girl that has proven she can drive with the big boys.
This column gets a lot of readers, and I know it’s impossible to expect everyone to respond, but a small donation from each of you would add up to enough to send her racing at Daytona. I don’t believe I’ve ever asked anything of you but prayers, but this time, prayers might help, but won’t get the job done alone. Maybe you could return one of those gifts you’ll never use or wear anyway and send its worth on to support Cassie’s efforts. In any case, God bless you my gentle readers… every one.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep on smiling. It looks so good on you!