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 September 3 "" September 10, 2005:
The Dictator’s Decrees:
- I would ban the phrase “the last of the bubble drivers” from my kingdom forever. I can’t imagine anyone who wants to be known as a bubble driver, let alone the last of them.
- I would take California Motor Speedway’s ban on paper napkin dispensers and spread it series-wide, in an attempt to cut down on the track debris that can fry an engine in a matter of minutes. Next on the agenda: Hot dog wrappers.
The Palace Praise:
- To NASCAR...the drivers, teams, sponsors and fans for their outstanding Hurricane Katrina relief efforts.
- To the Roush Racing drivers for taking turns in the lead, making sure as many of them as possible get their five bonus points.
- To the *“crew cam”* being worn by one of Mark Martin’s pit crew members, giving viewers the opportunity to pit the car right along with the 6 team.
- To *“Drivers Four-wide!”* just after the lap 119 restart.
- To Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and his post-race guarantee: “I promise my fans that next year we’ll be back in Victory Lane, where they’ll have something to cheer about.” I’m holding you to that, Dale.
- To Jeff Gordon, for setting aside political correctness for a little brutal honesty. Jeff on the California race: “We sucked today. That was pathetic.” Jeff on his chances at Richmond: “Who cares where we go. It doesn’t matter right now. Everywhere we go, we stink or we’re good. I have no idea.”
- To Greg Biffle, for remembering all the courageous National Guard troops called to service in the hurricane-ravaged states.
- To Kyle Busch, youngest Nextel Cup winner ever, for worrying about his grandma while celebrating in Victory Lane. “My nerves were just getting to me,” said Busch. “I hope my grandma’s sitting down now, ‘cause I know hers were getting to her.”
- To Rick Hendrick and Kyle Busch for donating their race winnings to the relief effort. Busch’s purse alone was close to a quarter of a million dollars.
The Official Inquiries:
- What is on the rest of Dale Junior’s Top 10 list of things that make him angry, and more importantly, why does he need this list to motivate him during a race? Rumored number-one item on the list: An early-morning sponsor appearance.
- One of Jimmie Johnson’s friends claims that Johnson can be “a little crazy at times.” Jimmie Johnson? Crazy? Well, there was that time when he washed his white and colored socks together, but still "¦
- How frustrated is Hermie Sadler, a driver with 7 DNF’s in his last 11 Cup starts and an average finish of 34.6. Now there’s a guy with an excuse for having a “motivate me” list.
- Jimmie Johnson’s mom said of NASCAR drivers, “Most of these guys are just normal human beings.” Most? I wonder if she thinks the other ones are not human beings, or just not normal?
The Royal Reprimands:
- To comparing Dale Junior to the lead character of “Cinderella Man.” That man, James Braddock, is described on the movie’s official website as the following:
“An impoverished ex-prizefighter "¦ seemingly as broken-down, beaten-up, and out-of-luck as much of the rest of the American populace. Like so many others, Braddock had hit rock bottom. His career appeared to be finished, he was unable to pay the bills, the only thing that really mattered to him – his family – was in danger, and he was even forced to go on Public Relief.”
Geez. I mean, he missed the Chase, but you can hardly call $20 million a year ‘rock bottom.’
- To Wally Dallenbach, who commented – after Dale Junior’s engine blew up in a smoky haze – that perhaps Junior can regroup and “come out next year smoking.”
This Week’s Commissioner Appointment: A Commissioner of Caterwauling, to bring a swift end to that horribly discordant “Little Debbie’s” commercial which plays several times per race: “My girl, my girl, my giiirrrlll!” Please, make it stop.
This Week’s Magic 8-Ball Question:
Question: Before the race, Wally Dallenbach chose Jeff Gordon to make the Chase, while Benny Parsons went with Ryan Newman. Was Wally right in choosing Gordon over Newman?
The Magic 8-Ball says: Don’t count on it.
This Week’s Lucky Dork award: To Kurt Busch, for explaining the key to winning at Fontana: “You can’t over-compromise.”
And finally "¦ Your ruler is exceedingly weary of the media asking drivers – those who are vying for a spot in the Chase, those who have clinched, and those who are already eliminated – whether they will approach the upcoming race differently based on their status relative to the Chase. No matter who they ask or what his current standing is, every driver has the same response – they are not going to change anything or do anything differently this week or any other week, because the goal of every racer at every track is to win the race. Period. No matter how many times the question is asked, the drivers say the same thing. When you know in advance what the answer will be – and logically, it is the only acceptable response – it’s time to put on your thinking caps and develop some fresh, relevant, and provocative questions.
Until next week, I remain your Benevolent Dictator "¦ Becca
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