Respect in Racing
It seems the big news is, Jimmie Johnson is going to retire. Well, I’ve never been a Jimmy Johnson fan. I think the man has the personality of a paper plate. I’ve never been impressed by anything he has said or done but you do have to give credit where credit is due. The man has played the game and he has won. He partnered with an amazing crew chief and without his crew chief he has also shown that it takes more than just a good driver to win races. But you don’t have to agree with somebody; you don’t have to like them, to acknowledge their accomplishment.
Often times in today’s politically correct world, we get hung up on the “if I don’t like somebody, I’m not even going to acknowledge they exist.” If you’re a true fan of racing you can’t do that. You have to be willing to acknowledge when someone does something good. Jimmie Johnson has 7 championships. Are they the same is Richard Petty’s seven? No… Are they the same as Dale Earnhardt Sr.’s seven? No, but they’re still seven championships. That’s seven rings and seven trophies. And his name is in the record books 7 times. What more people need to focus on, you don’t need to like the man, but you do have to admit he has won, and he has done it in a convincing style. He dominated for a pretty good period of time and everybody else was looking at his back bumper. For example, I was never ever a fan of Dale Sr. I didn’t like him, I refused to cheer for him, and yes, I even cheered a few times when he hit the wall. But I’d knowledge that the man has done a lot for racing. Was he the greatest that ever lived? No, he was not but he was pretty damn good. Not everybody likes the same person. That’s why there’s more than one race car in a race. It’s all about acknowledgment, being willing to acknowledge those you don’t like and give them the respect that they’re due. It doesn't matter whether it was with Daddy‘s money or with their own sweat and tears. They managed to win, their name is on the trophy, and their name is in the record book. More people need to acknowledge this. I myself am guilty of not doing it.
Every race fan in the world has a favorite driver and then they have the one that they don’t like; we all have them. If you say you don’t then you’re not telling the truth. I think that’s one of the things that bothers me about some of the announcers that we have today. Former racers themselves, they talk about everybody like their sites, all the drivers are so good; they’re so talented. Well go back and look at some of the feuds they have had with these same drivers. We just need more honesty, more openness and be more willing to be a little more understanding in the world of racing.
I am not a big fan of the coming changes in NASCAR but I’m gonna try to give it a chance and see how it works out. I’ve been a fan of NASCAR for five decades, That's a pretty long time… Does my opinion or my view of NASCAR matter more than somebody who’s just been a fan for two or three years? No it doesn't, but my views shouldn’t be overlooked just to capture a new fan. So if you want to play the game, everybody’s got to touch the ball, meaning all of us as fans should be equally heard and represented.
As I sit here on my birthday, pondering my 60 years on this earth, and 50 years of it following some form of racing, I have seen a lot, and lots I would love to see again. But as my hair has turned from sandy brown of my youth, to chrome, so does all things around me. As does racing. Will we like the changes coming? No one knows, and the only way to find out is to wait and see. Happy Thanksgiving everyone.