Another One Bites the Dust ~ Thank You Jay
“What’s a Jayski?”
I had to bite and ask the question. A bunch of us race fans had descended on the home of Burl and Barbara Sinks for the Bristol race. Each race, the Sinks graciously opened their home to our tribe of race fans from Kentucky and Michigan. It was a really comfy place and a lot more homey than the more commercial lodging establishments. Plus it gave us plenty of room to gather in the kitchen and bench race in our free time.
Judy Benson, wife of former modified driver, John Benson and mother of then Cup driver Johnny Benson, Jr. had just revealed several hot rumors and me being the racing info sponge I was, soaked it all up and had to ask, “Where are you getting all of this?”
I figured it was from her obvious racing connections or news coming through their Benson Speed Equipment shop but was surprised at her short, one word answer-“Jayski’s!”
That prompted my opening question.
Judy then launched into some good natured poking at my being several laps down when it came to racing news that went along the lines of...
“You don’t know Jayski’s? Jayski’s is the web site where all REAL race fans go to get the latest news. Do you have internet? You should really check it out when you get back home.”
The day after the Cup race it was a six hour trip home. There, armed with a 386 computer, dial-up connection and this “Jayski” web address, I entered the seemingly infinite links to the vast universe of on-line racing info. The look was different from the ESPN look of today, but it was still a treasure trove of articles, rumors and paint schemes. Thank you Judy Benson for pointing me there.
I was in info heaven. Finding Jayski’s had the same effect on me as it did on so many other race fans. It forever changed our worlds.
Jayski’s was the first site you went to when you logged on the Internet in the morning and the last one you checked before shutting down at night. And you just had to sneak a couple of peeks during the day... just in case Jay Adamczyk posted some latest hot tidbit.
His news came in from all over. You had all the “big dogs” on there. Plus Jay had a way of finding these “nuggets”-articles from writers I would have never ever seen through established media. It was like the Wild West of NASCAR news... and I loved it.
Jayski kept fans informed. Plugged in. Engaged.
And when things in NASCAR changed and it just didn’t feel right anymore, when things weren’t heading in a good direction, racing just wasn’t what you remembered it being, it was a place to go to find out that you weren’t the Lone Ranger; there were other fans out there who felt the same way.
Sometimes lots of them.
Jayski led me to other sites that became personal favorites for one reason or another. Unfortunately, most have faded from all but memories (and the Wayback Machine). For their own reason they each bit the dust.
John Daly’s Daly Planet blogsite gave us insight into the broadcast side of the sport and showed fans frustrated with the poor coverage that things didn’t have to be as bad as it was. His site offered explanations as to why things were the way they were, sorted through television deals and provided hope to frustrated fans that things could improve. Most importantly it provided a safety valve, a place where fans frustrated with what race coverage had become could come to vent.
There were plenty of frustrated fans as you can see in this old article. The issues from that article, originally posted in 2009, were reprinted five years later. You can still find the same issues present today. I think John just grew tired of jousting the broadcast windmills and his site is no more.
Another was the short-lived NASCARnomics.com. Called the “Most Accurate Critic of NASCAR”, stat-man Andrew Maness took analysis of all kinds of racing numbers (often using NASCAR’s very own) beyond the superficial level we were being fed to provide “Relevant Insights into the Economics, Business and Statistics of NASCAR.” Andrew tackled nearly every aspect of NASCAR from topics like Do Cautions Really Breed Cautions to The Chase. His title as “critic” was misleading as he was not a critic as much as he an analyst who looked at the numbers as best he could and reported what they showed. NASCAR did not appreciate his insights, especially when it came to trends in attendance and TV ratings and “lawed” him off the Web.
A third favorite was racindeals.com. They hold a special place because in 2003 they posted my first article, “Take a Chance Mr. France, Take a Chance” In it, I first promoted the idea of replacing qualifying against the clock to set the starting order to using a new concept called “20-20”. Talk about a high surfing in and seeing that article link and my name! Before I knew it I was being contacted by the V. P. of Sales and Marketing for Dover Motorsports asking permission to pitch the concept to NASCAR’s Jim Hunter. Even though racindeals.com showed me, maybe, just maybe I had some potential, it too bit the dust.
It was Jayski’s that led me to Race Fans Forever. I followed the site long before I ever posted my first comment. I liked the writers and their straightforward style. They called it like they saw it. Their love for racing was obvious. They wrote what they believed not what was popular or correct. They were a scrappy bunch. The conversations were insightful and often times lively. It was different and I liked that. I’m thankful that PattyKay Lilley and Jim Fitzgerald gave me the opportunity to be a part of their team in 2015. It’s been an awesome ride ever since.
Everyone by now knows that that on January 28, 2019, after 22 years of being on-line, the “World Wide Leader in Sports”-ESPN, abruptly pulled the plug on Jay Adamczyk‘s Jayski’s web site, the World Wide Leader in NASCAR Information.
No one is really talking much. Or maybe they are and I just can’t find it because... ESPN abruptly pulled the plug on Jayski.
ESPN says they are still committed to covering the sport. Their recent actions make it hard to believe but we’ll wait and see. It doesn’t matter - the end result is Jayski’s is no more and everyone loses in that deal.
Well, not everyone. After the recent “State of the Sport” and the Clash Crashfest 2019, it’s probably good there is no longer a Jayski’s providing one-stop access to all things NASCAR. Not sure the Sanctioning Body could handle it.
I hope Jayski returns in some form. Race Fans Forever is doing what it can to try to fill the void until then by providing an Article Links Page to many of the pages Jay linked to. It helps.
If it doesn’t return, I can’t think of a more fitting end to my run on the site than the one I received. My last article posted there before the plug was pulled was a tribute to MotoGP Champion, Nicky Hayden (now how that shows up on a NASCAR site just shows you how good PattyKay is at getting things done!). Nicky was from my hometown, so it meant a lot to me. The article ran alongside PattyKay’s article. She is the one who believed in me and gave me my shot at RFF. To be on the same page with a writer of her caliber and experience is always an honor. Finally, these articles were posted on Jayski on January 25th, the birthday of the man who got me into racing and grew me into the fan I am today-my father.
I couldn’t ask for anything more.
Thank you Jay for all the blood, sweat and tears you put into the most impactful site in NASCAR. Though racing will go on, going forward as a fan without Jayski won’t be near as much fun. Other sites have come and gone... I just never thought it would happen to you.
Can’t help think of that song by Queen (modified of course to fit the situation)
another one gone, and another one gone
Another one bites the dust
Jay, their gonna get you, too
Another one bites the dust”
Already missing you. Thanks again.