A Voice for the Fans ~ No One Is Listening
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course that includes whoever our assigned reader of NASCAR journalism might be on this lovely day. It’s already Thursday, and this is the first time I’ve had time to even consider writing something. It’s been almost two weeks since Martinsville, so the snow storm and all that followed is just old news, and your scribe truly has nothing to write about. Of course, having nothing to say has never stopped this girl from saying it anyway.
Did everyone enjoy FOX Network’s execution by committee, otherwise known as the Race Hub version of NASCAR’s 50 greatest drivers? They had everyone, including the late-night janitorial service voting on the list, and the youth movement was shining brightly. The sport has three 7-time Cup Champions, each of whom raced in a different era… Richard Petty, Dale Earnhardt Sr. and Jimmie Johnson. Opinions differ on which era was the more difficult or the most competitive, but common sense says that no matter the order of placement, those three simply have to comprise the top three positions on any such list. Well then, ‘splain this to me Lucy! How in the Sam Hill could ANY committee place the late, great Dale Earnhardt in FIFTH place, behind Petty, Johnson, David Pearson and Jeff Gordon?
Your scribe can “sort of” make a case for Pearson. His win percentage stands as probably the highest in the sport with 105 wins in only 574 starts… and 301 top-5s, many of which would be when he was second to Petty. Still, he was a cherry-picker for much of his career, picking and choosing which races he wanted to be part of and ignoring the remainder of the schedule. David was very good, but does not belong in the top trio of “Greatest” drivers of all time. Then, in position four, the “committee” placed Jeff Gordon. OK, I get that he works now for Fox Network, but that in no way makes his 4 Championships greater than Dale’s 7! I’m reminded here, of an old saying… “A camel is a horse designed by a committee!”
Well FOX, just get on your camel and ride off into the sunset. Before the voting and final unveiling of this “revised” list, it was explained that the list NASCAR presented in 1998 was celebrating its 20th Anniversary as NASCAR celebrates its 70th. Sounds kind of like a series that Race Fans Forever has been running since January because some old gal had the foresight to see the anniversaries coming.
If you’re not following this series, you might want to start. You’ll find them listed on RFF as the Anniversary Edition of Matt McLaughlin’s “50 Years of NASCAR Racing.” You’ll find the links at Jayski.com every Tuesday and Thursday. We’re up to 28 of the original hundred. FOX, you’re way late to the party, but they do say that imitation is the greatest form of flattery.
The other “big news” this week is that NASCAR released the schedule for 2019 and NOTHING has changed… that’s a big fat goose-egg gentle readers. I see columns written in good faith go up weekly with suggestions for improving and/or shortening the NASCAR racing schedule. Save your ink. No one is listening. Many tracks are still ripping out seating and changing their design and layout to accommodate other forms of entertainment. The handwriting is on the wall, but no one is reading either. I can’t blame the tracks, whose owners have $Millions invested in each one, for trying to hedge their bets while NASCAR whistles past the graveyard.
They say they want fans. They “say” they listen to the fans. I have long carried the title of “A Voice for the Fans”, and yes, they do read me and have for years. I suspect that is more to keep an eye on whatever I might be up to than any sort of admiration. I listen to the fans… and then try to pass along what they are thinking and feeling as a whole. Not everyone feels the same on any topic, but there is always a general trend and that is what we speak of here.
NASCAR, it’s fairly simple. You do not have 80 Million fans. I doubt you have 20 Million at this point, and that is scattered world-wide. The number dwindles weekly now. Poor little Martinsville got kicked low when a snowstorm stole her Sunday. Hopefully, Bristol and maybe Richmond will do better. The FANS like short track racing. It doesn’t take a genius to see that ANY of those 1.5-mile snooze-fests could become a short track with very little effort. It’s clear to this scribe and to the fans as well that very little effort is what’s being made. Instead, tracks are installing “cozy” alcohol related little nests to coddle and comfort whoever it is that goes to a race track to be cozy and coddled.
I’ll make a bet with anyone out there… come August, Watkin’s Glen will be a sellout! It’s the only track on the circuit that remains a sellout each and every year. Short tracks and road courses… that’s what the fans want… and here comes yet another year of status quo. Thanks… for nothing!
By the way, when was the last Brian Z. France sighting?
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout. This week I found a treasure and maybe several. This is the Ozark Jubilee from 1955, starring Red Foley, your scribe’s all-time favorite entertainer.
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling.
It looks so good on you!