If I ruled the NASCAR world, I would be a benevolent dictator, issuing edicts for the good of all who reside in my racing realm.
These would be my decrees for the week of August 21 – August 28, 2005:
The Dictator's Decrees:
- Let's put an end, once and for all, to the flat, tuneless, toneless "recording artist" renditions of the National Anthem. Another awful on Sunday.
- This week's Commissioner Appointment: A Commissioner of Crumpled Paper, to investigate why some tracks are excessively prone to hot dog wrappers and other debris glomming on to racecar grills - and whether anything can be done to stop it.
The Palace Praise:
- To Jeff Gordon for explaining that he wants to see a championship for Hendrick Motorsports "whether with the 24 or the 48." Gordon is the consummate team player.
- To Bill Weber, for announcing that customers can "pick up a pretty good deal" at the Kurt Busch souvenir trailer - just as the camera zoomed in on a 50% off sale sign and not a buyer in sight.
- To seeing Terry Labonte in his fire suit, ready to race in the FedEx car.
- To Benny Parsons, for handling the tribute to his recently-passed father with great poise and tenderness.
- To Joe Nemechek, for his dauntless support of the U.S. Army. "We’re about never accepting defeat," said Joe of his crew, "same as the Army."
- To only 102 points separating 6th from 12th place before Sunday's race. Should make for some fun between now and Richmond.
- To "Through the Field." It's the only mention some drivers get the entire race.
The Official Inquiries:
- During the pre-race show, a blurry streak flashed in front of Matt Yocum as he was interviewing Joe Nemechek. "There goes Dale Earnhardt Jr," said Yocum. Wonder where Junior was headed in such a hurry and why he was late?
- Just whose Tylenol Gelcaps are they, anyway? My guess is Tony Stewart, who missed two Talladega practice sessions in 2003 due to a severe migraine.
- What intriguing tales could Jack Roush provide if he decided to elaborate on this statement? "You know, Kurt's been a challenge for everybody that's watched the race - for everybody that's moved up close and paid attention. He's been a challenge to a lot of us."
- CNN's Dr. Sanjay Gupta had a quick comeback when Wally Dallenbach asked to have a disease named after him. "Dallenbach's Disease," quipped Dr. Gupta. But Doctor, you neglected to provide the most vital information … what is the cure?
- The tire problems continued at Michigan, but this week it was left rears going down. Coincidentally, this was the first race under NASCAR's new front tire camber rule. Will tires continue to be an issue approaching and during the CHASE? Magic 8-Ball says: You May Rely On It.
The Royal Reprimands:
- To Kurt Busch who, according to the broadcasters, couldn't find his pit box on the first stop due to "confusion over sponsor colors" - this after a pep-talk at the start of the race in which Busch told his crew to look for the "purple car" in Victory Lane.
- To Bill Weber for stating during the Countdown to Green that Tony Stewart was the favorite to win Michigan . Why? "Because he's in the race," said Weber. So were 42 other guys.
And finally … the media must stop asking Kurt Busch and Jamie McMurray how "difficult" and "uncomfortable" their present situation is. Both racers have announced their commitment to drive for different owners in 2007, while contractually - if not ethically - obligated to their present teams through 2006. The two drivers seemed more petulant than usual on Sunday while discussing their contract situations. But both are in the position they're in due to their own decisions. If they feel pressure of discomfort, it is simply a consequence of the choices they've made. In other words, they have no one to blame but themselves and any plays for sympathy should fall on deaf ears.
Until next week, I remain your Benevolent Dictator … Becca
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