The Frontstretch: For some Mexico was a fiesta; for others it was indigestion by Cheryl Walker -- Tuesday March 8, 2005

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For some Mexico was a fiesta; for others it was indigestion

Cheryl Walker · Tuesday March 8, 2005


There is no better way to keep up on the hottest topics facing NASCAR than checking in to your favorite racing message board. With all due respect to Dave Despain, I have not found a more thorough way of keeping current with the latest NASCAR news than checking in and seeing what my ‘cyber-friends’ have hunted down in the headlines and are discussing, debating, and, on occasion, fighting about.

The moment it was announced that the Busch series would be heading south of the border for a race, message boards everywhere lit up with folks expressing their surprise, their puzzlement, and, for some, their indignation.

The questions were asked and the debates began (“How hard will this be on the teams?”, “Is this economically feasible?”, and “What are they doing this for?”). It seemed to me that after all of the thoughts were aired, there was no general consensus of opinions, and no one was really sure if this was a really good or bad idea.

Sunday came, and everyone in our household was looking forward to the race. As my son, Joshua, and I enjoy watching Formula 1 racing, we were enthusiastic about seeing the Busch teams carrying on like ‘international racers’. How neat to see a foreign city closing off a main drag to let the racecars take over for an afternoon. The different countries’ anthems are played, and drivers with heavy foreign accents are interviewed and smile for the camera. It was delightful to see our Busch drivers in the midst of all of that. As the race began, we laughed as we expected to see the sleek pointed lines of Ferraris, Jaguars, or Renaults roaring through the streets, but instead it was our familiar Dodges, Chevys, and Fords.

Dare I say that it even occurred to me that this might put a dent in the redneck image our sport has to endure, with it behaving like ‘classy’ international motor sports, and stretching past its hometown borders?

Since the race I have heard various headlines, and have watched the message board participants discuss it back and forth. I have heard some of the bad (“This was a bad idea and a dangerous city to send our drivers to”; “The expenses to the teams to pull this off were too high”) and some of the good (“Over 100,000 spectators were present”; “This was a nice way to mingle with another country”). I still believe, though, that no one has yet decided whether it was a really great thing or not.

I hesitate to put forth my own opinion, because I am quite unaware of the burden this really put on the Busch teams, and whether our drivers really felt like this was a dangerous expectation put upon them. Ultimately I would probably say that if the NASCAR folks that put this together are satisfied with the results, and the drivers had fun, then I think it’s terrific.

I hear that Canada will be where the NASCAR pioneers will be headed next. And I am sure the debates will begin anew about whether we ought to or not.

Was Mexico your fiesta, or a bad case of indigestion? Let me know; I’m listening.

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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James Whitfield
03/08/2005 06:07 AM
My thoughts on the Mexico City Busch Race:

I also watched some of the Formula One race prior to the Busch Race. Formula One is about as exciting as Busch road racing. Watching microwave popcorn pop is more exciting to me. It ranks up there with watching the Cup cars run on the cookie cutter tracks. After the ho-hum California race and the Mexico parade, I was really grateful for some Sunday afternoon college basketball to get my heart pumping again. I’ve only been a NASCAR fan since the mid fifties and have survived all the changes, but each one is a bit more difficult to accept. I find it ironic that the most exciting NASCAR racing I’ve seen has been the truck series as many of the old hands; i.e. Mark Martin are looking forward to racing the trucks.

I apologize for this long rambling rant; but at my age that is the way the mind works too much of the time.
Tony Borello
03/08/2005 10:29 AM
The race itself was a bit boring, but usually all the road coarses are like that. The best thing though was when I switched over to ESPN for the Homestead Race of the CHAMP cars, I think, and I saw what ESPN did durng the commercials. BEST. IDEA. EVER. They split the screen and you heard the commercial but atleast got to see the race footage still with a top three scoring above of the shot. PLEASE FOX and NBC adopt this method of going to commercials with split screens. Tell me what race fan would not love this idea.


Cheryl is no longer a contributor to the Frotnstretch, having branched out on her own, starting CawsnJaws with her son Josh. If you'd like to see more of Cheryl's Frontstretch articles, check out her bio and archive page.