The Frontstretch: NASCAR Guys Telling Stories- ODDS and ENDS by Dennis Michelsen -- Wednesday March 23, 2005

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NASCAR Guys Telling Stories- ODDS and ENDS

Dennis Michelsen · Wednesday March 23, 2005


NASCAR Guys Telling Stories- ODDS and ENDS
(Race News for Fans with Short Attention Spans)

NASCAR Guys Telling Stories-International Story Telling Center
Northeastern Tennessee is home to two national treasures. Of course every race fan knows that Bristol is nestled in the Smokies and provides us with race after race of entertainment every season. But also tucked neatly into the oldest town in the Volunteer state is the International Story Telling Center. The two collide this year with NASCAR legends Darrell Waltrip and Junior Johnson spinning a few yarns to raise money for this great organization. But there is more to the story, pardon the pun. The International Story Telling Center offers entertainment the old fashioned way, through the classic art of story telling all year! The “Teller in Residence” program runs from June to October every year. Each day at 10am the resident storyteller will entertain as well as educate. “Story telling is a lost art. Our center is credited for the renaissance of story telling,” said Sheila Houser. But how did they get hooked up with NASCAR? It seems that Bristol Motor Speedway General Manager Jeff Byrd is a big supporter. This should come to no surprise to NASCAR fans that the staff at Bristol is in tune with their community. A few years ago when the local high school was closed for health reasons in stepped Jeff Byrd and the folks at Bristol Motor Speedway. They donated the space in their skybox suites to the high school so the kids could continue their school year. Every holiday season they light up the track in Christmas lights to raise money for worthy charities. The big event every year at the International Story Telling Center though is the annual International Story Telling Festival, which they have hosted in Jonesboro for the past thirty-three years! Mark the first weekend in October down on your calendar and join over 10,000 people that make this an amazing event. Hopefully the NASCAR fundraiser will also become a yearly event. The regular storytellers at the International Story Telling Center will learn one thing next week from NASCAR’s legends. When it comes to story telling no other sport can do it quite like NASCAR can…some of the stories might even be true!

Cheating in NASCAR
Because of the nature of the sport it has always been more difficult to define the rules of racing than it has been for the stick and ball sports. Leave something out of the rules and inventive Crew Chiefs will find a way to exploit those gray areas of the rules to find more speed. As they say in basketball, “A foul is only a foul if the referee blows his whistle!” In racing all is fair until NASCAR lowers the boom on a team. Consistency has never been a strong suit for NASCAR in the past and now it appears that the “National Stock Car Racing Commission” has learned inconsistency from the masters themselves! Mike Helton had to be quietly fuming when the commission overturned the suspensions of two Hendricks Motorsports Crew Chiefs for their actions at Las Vegas. After all Mr. Helton just got done telling the Crew Chiefs he was mad as hell and wasn’t going to take it any more! In true NASCAR style the commission also didn’t feel obligated to share the facts of the case with the ones who make this whole stock car thing happen in the first place…the fans! Their press release could have just said, “Cause we say so that’s why!” Last year Dale Earnhardt Jr lost his case in front of the commission when he uttered a foul word on national television. Basically the way the penalties have been adjusted having a car not pass post-race inspection is equal to cussing. So go ahead and cheat folks…as long as you can pay the fine it’s cool. In some circles despite their incredible growth some in the mainstream media does still not take NASCAR serious. Is it any wonder when the sport let’s a cheating team keep the win? No matter how you end up with an illegal car the fact remains the same…the car failed post-race inspection! If a jockey at a horse race fails to weigh in at the required weight he is disqualified. It doesn’t matter if the weight pad was faulty and dropped a weight! The same strict standards should be maintained in NASCAR too. Take the win away and place the team 43rd just once and you will never see another faulty jack bolt ever again! The only thing consistent in NASCAR is that the sport is still a joke when it comes to handing out penalties. I wonder if the members of the commission got new Hondas? Sorry I was just thinking out loud again but bribery is something Hendricks is familiar with indeed!

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