The NASCAR circus for 2010 got off to an interesting start. There is an increasingly cynical side of me that views the slower pack racing as pandering to third world-like slackjaws and not that far removed from professional wrestling. Whenever Larry McReynolds or Darrell Waltrip attempt to speak, and that happens a lot, their nearly continuous evisceration of the English language reinforces such cynicism. When Larry Mac uses words like ‘extreeee’ or phrases such as ‘sence these guys wuz own the track’ I think back to my elementary school days at St. Lawrence when nuns would whack the crap out of you for even sounding uneducated. I have a mental picture of these guys sitting in a small booth flicking boogers at the glass. Then I remind myself that I am watching NASCAR, where everything is slower.
It took over six hours to get the race in on a beautiful but chilly day. Why? Because it appears the surface has not been repaved since 1959. I hope Belskus, Bernard and crew were watching that fiasco and understand the way it has been done at IMS is the right way. IMS never lets it go more than ten years. ISC is notorious for getting by with bare minimums at their tracks and it shows when walking into one. Having the track surface break apart like that regardless of weather is inexcusable.
Congratulations, by the way, to Jamie McMurray who won the thing. That was a really nice story. Unfortunately he may not even be remembered now that Danica-mania has swept NASCAR. The Daytona 500 is their super bowl, but let’s review what happened when coverage of NASCAR’s biggest event began:
-It took less than ten minutes before the Danica-to-Cup talk began.
-The very FIRST break featured a Danica Go-Daddy spot, even though a male Go-Daddy driver sat on the pole for the 500.
-Danica was discussed before ANY current Cup stars. Before Dale Jr., before Jimmie Johnson, before Tony Stewart, before Jeff Gordon, before anyone.
-The entire first segment of the broadcast covered Danica’s day in the grand national race.
-During a red flag period (and at other times) Boogity laid out how it would be easier for the Nationwide teams to get sponsorship simply by dropping Danica’s name. Then he said (twice) that Danica would become a better Indy Car driver as a direct result of the time she spends in NASCAR. For proof he offered Dario, who came to Cup, left, then won the Indy Car championship. Yeah, DW, it HAD to be because he raced against the ‘best.’
The fact that NASCAR has always been so needlessly insecure about its identity that it always feels compelled to position itself as superior to Indy Car is telling. It has always been that way. Daytona would not have been built had Big Bill not been so heavily influenced by the grandeur of IMS.
The Danica fawning did not stop with the Fox crew. The Associated Press ran a national piece about Danica’s debut picked up in papers across the country that started with the words ‘Former IndyCar star involved in wreck midway through race.’ Huh? The piece does not indicate who wrote the piece, but whoever did should be fired for negligence. Aren’t facts supposed to be checked? Last time I looked Ms. Patrick was supposed to spend the next two years driving Indy Cars full time. Lying seems to come easily when parties suckle the NASCAR teat. Crowd figures, speed and calling those racing machines ‘stock’ cars are consistently among the most egregious.
Still, it is always great to wake up and kiss the wife on Valentine’s Day, suffer through the brunch, then watch the race. I fell asleep on the couch before the ¼ mark and woke up while they were trying to glue the track back together. What a joke. When they were actually racing it wasn’t bad. It is racing. I was hoping Smoke would do it but it was not meant to be again. It will be a while before he accomplishes what his mentor did.
I certainly wish the Indy Car season was underway.