The Frontstretch: If I Ruled the (NASCAR) World - Richmond by Becca Gladden -- Wednesday September 14, 2005

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If I Ruled the (NASCAR) World - Richmond

Becca Gladden · Wednesday September 14, 2005


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 10 "" September 17, 2005:

The Dictator’s Decrees:

  • When a car leads 167 laps of a 400-lap race, I wish someone would take a moment and mention the special paint scheme. Lap after lap, Kevin Harvick whizzed by the camera at Richmond with a pretty brunette painted on his hood, and I had no idea who she was. Even after learning that her name is Gretchen Wilson, I still don’t really know why she was on Harvick’s car (sorry, Wilson fans).

The Palace Praise:

  • To Ryan Newman and Dale Jarrett, looking relatively comfortable sharing a ride in the same truck bed during driver intro’s. Maybe there’s still hope for Ryan/Rusty peace talks before season’s end.
  • To a Bronze Star recipient leading 110,000 fans in the Pledge of Allegiance before the race. What a nice addition this would be to the pre-race ceremonies every week.
  • To Ryan Newman and Jamie McMurray, two drivers separated by just one point heading into the Richmond.
  • To Martin Truex, shown during a recap of the Busch race, for hanging on to that car as it motored down the wall at Richmond.
  • To Kurt Busch, for informing us that “Crown Royal Relief” is not a hangover remedy, but a Hurricane Katrina fundraising effort.

The Official Inquiries:

  • With all the talk about the importance of TV ratings – one of the main reasons NASCAR instituted the Chase – why was one of the most important races of the year on Saturday night on TNT, rather than on Sunday on the network, where it could face off against football?
  • Even if this was the “Chevy Rock ‘n’ Roll 400,” I wonder how all the Ford and Dodge drivers felt when they heard the command, “It’s time to rock and roll, Chevy style – Gentlemen, start your engines!” And did you notice that right before the green flag, Bill Weber corrected her, stating, “It’s time to rock and roll, NASCAR style”?
  • Was the Chevy race sponsorship also the reason we saw a “Chevy drivers to watch” graphic, rather than just a “drivers to watch” graphic?
  • Matt Kenseth’s crew chief was reportedly motivating his crew by punching each crew member in the arm. This is one of those guy things, right?

The Royal Reprimands:

  • To a race that simply didn’t live up to the hype—maybe because it was way too over-hyped, maybe because it just wasn’t a very exciting race—probably a little of both, although I think it seemed relatively more boring because of the hype.
  • To everyone who mentioned bubble drivers, bubble cars, bubble teams, bubble anything and everything. Now that the Chase field is set, I hope the bubble is popped for good.
  • To Bill Weber, for describing Jeff Gordon’s season as “a scary science fiction movie.” Guess he had a leftover Hollywood reference from last week’s pre-race show in California.
  • To Jeff Gordon and his female friend for carrying on a conversation during the National Anthem.
  • For yet another annoying new phrase, “Pulling a Mayfield.” That’s just wrong.
  • To Benny Parsons, for explaining that when something “forces down the front (of the car), that’s called downforce.” Thanks, Dr. Science.
  • To the possibility of a crowning a Cup series champion who hasn’t won a race all season.

This week’s Commissioner Appointment

A Commissioner of Careful Listening, whose first assignment is to instruct Marty Snider on listening skills when interviewing drivers. Edwards, having just secured his spot in the Chase, told Snider that he was going to spend some time this week on his mountain bike for some much needed rest and relaxation:

Edwards: This has been stressful. I haven’t even talked to my friends in the last couple of weeks. I’ve been so stressed.”

Snider: Is your lack or experience in some way maybe an advantage, because you don’t feel the pressure, you don’t know what this is all about yet, and you don’t sense all that?

This week’s Magic 8-Ball Question:

Question: Is Jamie McMurray destined to be forever-a-bridesmaid in the Nextel Cup Chase for the Championship?

The Magic 8-Ball says: Better not tell you now.

This week’s Lucky Dork award

To Burger King and their commercial featuring Dr. Angus, author of the book “Power Sitting,” which teaches people that a Burger King angus steak burger can help them rediscover the joy of sitting down. I am bestowing this award for the on-screen disclaimer informing viewers, “Dr. Angus is not a real doctor.”

This week’s Royal Flush:

To TNT, for airing a commercial for the TNT program “Wanted” during this family-friendly sports event. It was only 5:08 p.m. on the West Coast when a character on the “Wanted” commercial used the phrase “son of a b*tch” (not bleeped out) on the air.

And finally…

I heard even more than the usual amount of criticism this week from fans who are totally exasperated by NBC/TNT’s coverage of the Richmond race. The network had such obsessive tunnel vision on the Chase that many occurrences during the race went virtually unnoticed, leaving fans to scratch their heads and wonder why their favorite driver was suddenly several laps down, or why a particular car had damage that was never explained.

During the next 10 races, more than three-quarters of the field will notbe competing for the title. The fans of those other 33 drivers deserve to know what is happening on the track.

During the Richmond race, Bill Weber tried very hard to infer that Jimmie Johnson, who had just brought out the caution with a flat left rear tire, was somehow trying to help teammate Jeff Gordon who needed a pit stop to repair damage following a wreck. To that, an exasperated Benny Parsons asked, “But how did Jimmie reach out and puncture the left rear tire, Bill Weber?”

Weber replied, “I’m just watching the race. Just watching the race.”

Is that really all that’s required to be the lead play-by-play announcer?

Until next week, I remain your Benevolent Dictator "¦ Rebecca

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Beyond the Cockpit: Alexis DeJoria On The 300 mph Women of the NHRA
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Pace Laps: Swan Racing’s Future, Fast Females and Dropping Out
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09/14/2005 07:55 AM
Wilson is a country singer..well she tries to be. I thought it was the “rock n roll” 400…guess that will be one car that I don’t buy this year. Newman and Jarrett looked comfortable riding in the truck together? I was waiting to see which one was going to push the other out..that is the look I got. Allen was the only bright spot in NBC/TNT covering the races and now he’s gone..only thing I can hope for is Wally and Benny making fun of what Weber says..he is a true idiot.


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