Bump or Dump ~ Yes, There Is a Difference
I bid you welcome gentle readers, and of course a cordial greeting goes out to our assigned reader of all things NASCAR on this beautiful sunny “almost November” day in the hills of North Georgia.
According to the ratings… and the visual assurance from these two blue eyes of mine, not too many folks watched the race at Martinsville last Sunday, and that’s a shame. It was everything a race on a flat half-mile track can and should be, except well-attended. The cameras didn’t try to hide the empty seats from us this week, but panned large expanses of the sparse crowd several times over. I’m not at all sure what that bodes, but methinks it might not be good.
So how it is then, if the crowd at the track was lacking and the TV ratings were a mere 1.3, that everyone that ever even pretended to be a race fan has an opinion as to the ending of the race? How could you even know how it ended if you weren’t watching? Still, there has been a great wringing of hands and gnashing of teeth… over a driver moving another driver in the final turn of the last lap and subsequently winning the race and a spot in our oh-so-phony Championship Four. That, my little cupcakes, is short track racing at its finest and yes, it IS a contact sport. Always was and always will be.
What racing at any track is not, or should not be is a popularity contest. This scribe is of the unwavering opinion that had the “bumper” been Chase Elliott and not Joey Logano, there would have been cheering instead of booing. Public opinion aside, Joey won the race and will be racing three others… yet to be determined… at Homestead for the 2018 Championship. Note that I employed the word “bumper”, not “dumper.” There is a distinct difference. No one wrecked, no walls or other vehicles were involved… just one car moving another car aside to allow room for the “bumper” to come through. As I pointed out in , “Saying ‘excuse me’, won’t get it done.”
I found a short but timeless clip of two such incidents, both from night races at Bristol involving the same two drivers but in different years. In one case, it was a “bump.” In the other, it was a “dump” and garnered the proper response in each case. Sunday’s race was merely a bump and no reason to condemn.
Alright then, we leave Martinsville… reluctantly… and look at some other news from the racing world. Rick Hendrick and 7-time Champion Jimmie Johnson announced a new sponsor for the next 2 years… Ally Financial! Congratulations to Hendrick Motor Sports for reeling in and landing a new sponsor for Jimmie. Ah, but as Paul Harvey would have said, we need to hear “The rest of the story.”
As a one-time car-biller, bookkeeper, switchboard operator and gal-Friday for a couple of different dealerships, I was very well acquainted with a company called GMAC… General Motors Acceptance Corporation… the financial arm of General Motors and a complement to Ford’s Ford Credit. If Chrysler ever had a credit company of its own, I’ve forgotten it now. Toyota may or may not do its own financing. I’ve yet to own a Japanese made automobile. Perhaps a decade or so ago GMAC was reinvented, reimagined, rebranded or pick your favorite word of the day. My generation would merely say renamed. You’re ahead of me now, aren’t you? Yes, it was renamed Ally. Does it really surprise anyone that when the best of GM’s flagship racing organization, Hendrick Motor Sports, needed a sponsor for its 7-time Champion, that GM would step in where no one else cared to and promote an 8th title for its shining light? Don’t misunderstand. I think it’s great that they’re doing it! I’m merely pointing out that this isn’t some random company that one day said “Hey, let’s sponsor a stock car in the NASCAR Cup Series.” This is General Motors promoting the biggest bragging rights they have at this particular time, and it’s only fair that someone that has raced as well as Jimmie should go out on his own terms and at his own time and discretion.
Is it really November? Are there really only three races left in this far-too-long season? I never thought I’d hear this coming from me, but I would have been just as happy to see it end at Darlington… with summer. It only seems right that the two conclude at the same time. Thoughts now should be turning to the approaching Holidays, not dwelling on who might or could make the final four in a make-believe playoff series. I’ll spare you the Jim Mora bit on playoffs… that one’s gotten tired, but then so has your scribe. Here on Race Fans Forever, we honor the driver that leads the points after race #26… before anyone monkeys with truth and changes everything. (“Because he can”) Our Champion this year is Kyle Busch; he led the points fair and square after 26 races and to us it really doesn’t matter who wins the race at Homestead. One race does not a Champion make.
It must be time for our Classic Country Closeout, because I’ve run out of clever things to say. There are a few more episodes of The Old American Barn Dance, so again this week we’ll hear from Bill Bailey and the gang. Please enjoy some good wholesome old-time fun…
Be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!