All the News Unfit to Print~ All-Star Edition
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and that of course includes our assigned reader of all things NASCAR on this lovely sunny day. Let’s see now… where did we race last week? Oh yes, Texas. Well, they say everything is bigger in Texas and I guess that includes SNAFUs. Air guns, missed penalties, NASCAR’s President ripping up social media… it was a less than memorable occasion and this old fan is happy we’re going to Bristol. Of course, just as most every year, there is rain in Sunday’s Bristol forecast, which would only serve to keep the brothers Waltrip talking… and talking…
It’s only Wednesday as I commence this week’s conversation, but the week is already filled with Media Releases from the sanctioning body. By the time this gets to where you can read it, every pundit known to NASCAR will have let you know that Monster Energy Drink will remain Series Sponsor through 2019. After that, we’re told that NASCAR wants to try a “New business model.” Your guess is as good as mine, but that seems to entail getting more money from TV Partners and Official Whatever Partners but not giving anything in return… like naming rights. Sounds like business as usual at NASCAR.
Maybe it’s my age, but I see no reason for panic here. From 1949 through 1970, there was no entitlement sponsor and NASCAR wasn’t looking for one. The Winston sponsorship from R.J. Reynolds Tobacco Co. was originally offered to Junior Johnson, who wisely realized that the kind of money they were ready to invest was far more than what was needed to run a team. Johnson arranged for a representative from the tobacco giant to meet with Bill France, and that resulted in over 30 years of a blissful marriage, from 1971 through 2003. The kind of sponsorship and “activation” given by RJR is impossible to replace. What has been seen in the interim years was different, perhaps not so much in the amounts, but in marketing ability and understanding of the sport itself.
I feel that NASCAR is entirely capable of standing on its own merit without a title sponsor. I’ve always been a strong proponent of going back to being the “Grand National” series, as Cup used to be known in the Golden Era of Racing. It was just confusing when someone had the brilliant idea so slap that name on the Busch Series. It’s a good, strong name for a racing series and just imparts the idea that we are indeed the best of the best! Having said that, I guess it won’t be under consideration now, because the idea came from a small town in Georgia and not from Daytona Beach or Charlotte.
The next one didn’t take long at all to go from rumor to fact with an announcement concerning that useless waste of a weekend known as the All-Star Race. Seems there is to be a “New format” for the thing. Nothing new about that. Changing the format has been a nearly annual event from the first one in 1985.
In that snoozer, twelve drivers ran a straight 70 laps. Darrell Waltrip won it. Besides Waltrip, only Harry Gant and Terry Labonte led laps and they finished in that order. The race took just 40 minutes to conclude and was caution-free throughout. That will not occur this year.
The new format will have them racing in stages (Oh, come on… you’re not in the least surprised by that) of 30-laps, 20-laps, 20-laps and 10-laps for a total of 80 laps. All stages must end under green. Oh, but that’s only part of what’s coming next month.
“Each car will be fitted with aero ducts, a six-inch-high spoiler with two 12-inch ears, a restrictor plate and the 2014 style splitter. Working in concert, these additions create a unique aerodynamic effect, the results of which received high praise from fans and competitors following last year’s Xfinity race at Indianapolis.”
That paragraph is taken directly from the Media Alert that arrived in my email yesterday, not 24-hours after the “rumor” was circulated that they might be running restrictor plates in the All-Star Race. Best thing I see is that huge spoiler. We’ve gotten to the point with the ones they run now that drivers remark on the cars inability to run two wide! Funny, but I remember a time when side-by-side racing was loved and adored by both drivers and fans.
Harkening back for just a moment, let’s examine the Xfinity race at Indy last year. I’m not sure where all that “high praise” would have come from because NO ONE watched it! I have an excerpt showing the final 10 laps, which is nothing more than a college course in blocking by William Byron. Bless his heart, he beat Paul Menard. They will be almost exclusively the only cars you will see, so between yawns, please pay close attention to the vast grandstands at Indy. Huddled together in a miserable little group are a few humans that I remarked at the time could have been comfortably entertained in my small living room. One can only assume they are from the drivers’ families. Here is what drew all that high praise:
The entire race can be found on YouTube, but I’m betting no one cares. No one cared when it was live!
This should be the place where I insert the lecture about messing up the aero on the cars and not applying Band-Aids to amputation sites. Restrictor plates at Charlotte is not the answer. Gimmick after gimmick and then a gimmick to counteract the previous gimmick. All-Star race… sorry, I have plans to wash my hair that night… several times over if necessary. Shampoo, rinse, repeat…
Time now for our Classic Country Closeout, and since it stars Red Foley and I’ve found him, we’ll all enjoy another segment of the Ozark Jubilee show Red hosted back in 1955. Please enjoy:
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling.
It looks so good on you!