The Frontstretch: Ten Points to Ponder ... NASCAR Banquet / End of Season by Becca Gladden -- Sunday December 2, 2007

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Ten Points to Ponder ... NASCAR Banquet / End of Season

Becca Gladden · Sunday December 2, 2007

 

1. Banner Brainstorming – Mike Helton said in New York last week that 2007 was a “banner year” for NASCAR. Which makes me wonder … if you were designing a banner to summarize NASCAR’s season, what would it say? Suggestions welcome.

2. Spade Said – From what I’ve heard, most people didn’t find David Spade all that funny at the banquet – although I personally preferred him to Jay Mohr. I had to laugh though when Spade referred to Jimmie and Chandra Johnson as the “prom king and queen” – because it was so true.

3. Musical Mismatch – Whether it was last year’s banquet performance by Jewel or this year’s by Kelly Clarkson, the whole musical portion of the show is a complete mismatch for the overall feel and formality of a black-tie event. In fact, there were so many blank stares on the faces of the audience members during Clarkson’s first song that cameras didn’t bother showing the audience at all during her second song. I don’t blame Clarkson, but she and her band were totally out of place here.

Dale Earnhardt, Jr. may have had a tough year on the track – but his popularity remains stronger than ever.

4. Drive for Five – No, not Jeff Gordon, but Dale Earnhardt, Jr. To absolutely no one’s surprise, Junior won his fifth straight Most Popular Driver award in 2007, based on fan voting. That ties him with Richard Petty and Bill Elliott as the only drivers in the history of the award to win five straight. Jeff Gordon finished second in this year’s voting, followed by Michael Waltrip, Kasey Kahne, and Tony Stewart. Unfortunately, Junior’s success with popularity didn’t translate to the track this year; 2007 was his first winless season in eight years of Cup racing, and he finished 16th in points.

5. Smoke Signals – If there was any question regarding how Tony Stewart felt about finishing sixth in the points this year, he summed it up pretty succinctly in his banquet speech, stating that he was there to collect his “whatever-place trophy.”

6. Casting Call – Ever wished you could turn your love of NASCAR into a paying job? Then check out this link to get your shot. SPEED is currently recruiting Tour Coordinators to join the cast of a NASCAR-related program that will run January through November 2008 – and fans are invited to apply.

7. Loose Ends, Part One – As the 2007 season draws to a close, I can’t help but wonder what happened to some once-hot stories from earlier in the year which seem to have mysteriously faded from the headlines. For example, whatever happened to the charges against Michael Waltrip for reckless driving and failure to report an accident, stemming from an April rollover in his personal SUV? The latest update I can find is that a hearing on the charges was postponed from May 14 to June 25 … and then nothing more was reported. How did those charges pan out?

8. Loose Ends, Part Two – Whatever happened to Operation Wax Smoke? Earlier this season, Kevin Harvick announced plans to try and raise $100,000 for the Victory Junction Gang Camp. If he succeeded, he would have had a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to wax all the hair off Tony Stewart’s back and chest. In exchange, Stewart was going to match the donation and shave Harvick’s head. Latest update I could find on this one is that less than half of the original “Wax Smoke” goal had been raised to date. Really?

9. Loose Ends, Part Three – Whatever happened – or will happen – with that incident involving Kasey Kahne and a security guard at Homestead in November? It was alleged that Kahne pushed a security guard to the ground after Kahne’s brother was denied access to the drivers’ motorhome lot; the last update I could find was that the local police and NASCAR were both investigating after Kahne labeled it a misunderstanding. Has the matter been dropped – or will it fade away similar to the way Waltrip’s driving incident did some months ago?

10. Space Race – Not that they need it, but drivers will have an extra incentive to win the 2008 Daytona 500. One of the prizes going to the race winner will be a green flag flown on a December mission of the Space Shuttle Atlantis. Both NASA and NASCAR are celebrating their 50th anniversary next year, and a number of cross promotions are in the works. Kind of gives a whole new meaning to the phrase, “Gentlemen, start your engines!” … don’t you think?

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Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
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Mark Rubley
12/03/2007 11:11 AM
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2007 Banner:

75 million strong…..no wait, make that 73.5 million…. no wait… I see a couple thousand more empty seats in turn 4…. no wait… make that………

Face it, NA$CAR is on the decline and most all of that can be attributed to one person and a very out-of-whack concept of how this thing should work. Hopefully, he will move on while there is something left to save. If not, I really think NA$CAR will become a waste land. And that will be very sad to see.

Denis
12/03/2007 11:17 AM
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Banner: “SUCCESS IS FOUND IN THE WALLET, NOT THE RATINGS.”

Scott
12/03/2007 12:22 PM
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The 2007 Banner should read:

As long as the France family (especially King Brian) and ISC made money, who gives a d*** what people think.

Don
12/03/2007 12:35 PM
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What a frigging mess, the Fans hate what BF has done to NASCAR, and we will never know what the drivers really think, since they have has a sock placed in their mouths.
The Chase is a disaster but old BF will never admit it

GW
12/03/2007 02:06 PM
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Banner should just be plain green with a big Mr. Yuk in the center.

Kevin in SoCal
12/03/2007 02:06 PM
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The Chase was fine the last three years but this year there has been a huge backlash against it. Probably because it was dominated by two guys from the same team. I wonder if it was your driver who comes from 10th place to win the thing if you’d feel the same way about the Chase.
I would like to see the Chase cut to 5 races. 10 races just allows too much to go wrong and takes too many people out of the running.

Douglas
12/03/2007 02:16 PM
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Banner should read: REMEMBER, NASCAR PAYS MY SALARY!

Laura
12/03/2007 03:55 PM
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If it keeps changing like it is,it may one day read:
REMEMBER NASCAR??

mike
12/03/2007 06:01 PM
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Banner

Dumb and broke southern red-necks not welcome.

Darrell
12/03/2007 07:51 PM
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Banner should read:

The Chase is so great that it’ll even make the TV ratings go down!

OR

What can we mess up next year?

OR

Why do folks keep sticking their pinkies out when drinking their Wine?

OR

NASCAR, banner year, faster than paint drying!

Darrell
12/03/2007 08:02 PM
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OK, I cant help myself, how about:

We car……. OK wait a minute, DEEP BREATH, We care abou……… OK, really, straight face, We really care about NA$CAR fa…….OK, OK, I cant say it with a straight face, you tell them Mike.

OR

Why does everyone keeping making a big deal about the ticket prices, We can afford them.

OR

Can you believe that I overheard someone say that they didnt pay their electric bill so that they could come and watch the race live……

OR

NA$CAR – Yes, the S has officially been changed to a $ sign.

Disillusioned in Texas
12/03/2007 11:18 PM
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Banner:
“Kyle Busch was Right !”
The COT Sucks and the stinky liitle car is only the tip of the iceberg that will cause “The Titanic that NASCAR has Become” to sink.

Connie
12/04/2007 02:47 PM
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I still think that Nascar should split the total laps in half and have 2 races – 1 race for the Chase racers and 1 race for the non chasers. Let the chasers have dog fight races without playing safe to avoid trouble and then race at the end. No other sport has the non championship teams in the playoffs. Heck why not even draw a lap number out of a hat after the race and who was leading on that lap gets extra points. Since they wouldn’t know what lap gets the extra points maybe they would race instead of playing chicken until the end. Nascar probably could even find a advertiser for that lap. Something has to be done to add some excitment to the races we seem to be falling asleep during to many races. the TV networks focusing on the leader for 3-4 laps with no challengers and then cut to commercial, and then come back and show us the same leader same way. We get a peek of the mid pack on some shots but we do not get to see a driver racing his tail off from the back of the pack towards the front. A driver can gain 20-30 spots but will be see how he did it? I think not. The networks need to show the rest of the field more. I don’t care who it is but show us some passing. There has to be someone putting up a good fight somewhere. The shots of the leader 20 car lenghts ahead of the field just doesn’t keep us awake.

Carl D.
12/05/2007 11:49 AM
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BANNER: “2007 – MYSTERY DEBRIS OR THE 55 CAR?”

 

Becca Gladden is no longer a contributor to the Frontstretch, but you can see all her past articles on herbiography and archive page.