Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday May 29, 2008
You readers out there that peruse this column regularly know that I just love writing about NASCAR CEO Brian France. Why? Because he is soooo easy! Not easy like a Sunday morning, but easy like challenging the kids on the short bus to a spelling bee. And, to be brutally honest, I like easy.
At any rate, Mr. France spoke last week about the state of the sport… again, and as usual, he never fails to amaze and amuse me. This week, Brian wears many hats, from Mr. Obvious to Mr. Oblivious to Mr. What? But since I am a patient man, I will once again kindly attempt to point out to Brian the error of his thinking. However — since I know such an endeavor is about as pointless as trying to teach a caveman to play Scrabble — I will not hold my breath.
Writer’s Note: Please keep in mind that these statements below were made between the All-Star race and the Coca-Cola 600, both at the same track.
Brian France on…
Competition of the CoT and criticism of its inability to pass on shorter tracks.
“There was a lot of passing last week, and they’ll be a lot of passing Sunday.”
Wow! Brian the prophet! I want to take this guy to the horse races with me! But Mr. France — while we thank you for such an astute observation and prediction — I would hardly call Lowe’s Motor Speedway, at 1.5 miles, one of the shorter tracks.
“Some teams that you haven’t heard a lot about, it’s brought them to the forefront – notably Toyota … Rick Hendrick’s whole group has had ups and downs. So, [the CoT] has changed the whole landscape of which teams have been able to run consistently at the front. It’s always exciting when there are changes with who’s dominating and running better.”
Oh, we’ve heard about Toyota for quite awhile now, about how they sucked bilge water! Of course, this is only their second year in the series. However, now that Gibbs is racing them, they have been doing extremely well; but don’t for a minute think that it is just because of the CoT change! In the old car — as much as I hate to say it — Kyle Busch would have probably won most of the races this year, too.
As for the Hendrick downfall, well that should change now that Jeff Gordon’s tears have been wiped away by Brian’s golden fleece hanky and new rules have been instituted concerning rear end alignment (rules that NASCAR said they weren’t going to change, by the way). But by altering their minds and their rules, the No. 24 and 48 teams should now do very well, thank you very much. I’m not a hater of Jeff Gordon; but personally, I hope he finishes dead last for the rest of the year. His latest crybaby antics thrown in the direction of the No. 99 team are proof to me that he is, in fact, a whiner. So thank you, Mr. France, for your lack of testicular fortitude and caving to a singular driver’s complaint.
Brian France on…
The status of future drug testing.
“The high points of our policy that we really like are that we can test anybody we want at any time…We’re always looking around at the other leagues to see some of the best practices they have…We don’t have restrictions like some collective bargaining agreement (preventing us from testing)… We don’t announce a number of tests that we do. We’re doing more now, and one of the questions in the review is can we do even more, and how would you do more?”
Let me see if I got this straight; and please feel free to correct me if I am wrong…NASCAR can test anybody at anytime, primarily because there is no collective bargaining agreement (union), but yet we want to look at other sports (who all have unions) to see how they do it, because maybe it is better? Testing has increased, but maybe we could do more and if we can, how do we do more?
Very simple, Brian. Read the first sentence of your statement that you said about five seconds ago … you CAN do more! You can test anyone, anytime, and I will tell you how you do it; hand the driver a little plastic cup and ask him to urinate in it! Take a Sharpie, (the Official Urination Cup Writing Upon Pen of NASCAR) and send it to the lab! But you’re on the right track of not always telling them you are going to do it beforehand. That is clever … look how sneaky you are!
Brian France on…
The effects of soaring gas prices on NASCAR.
“That’s a real issue for us. We’re concerned about it for our fans that have to fill up and [drive] to our events. It’s something that we’re looking at. Anything we can do to help our fans out – absorb some of this high cost, give value in other ways – I know our tracks are working at that. Right now, we’re monitoring patterns. They’re still coming but making those decisions later. It’s too early to tell if there’s more carpooling and things going on. But it’s certainly a significant item that we’re looking at.”
Brian, Brian, Brian… unless folks have started walking to the track, they ALL drive to the events! And what are you going to do to absorb some of that cost? Cut ticket prices in half? Give me a free hot dog after attending three races? What you are looking at, other than monitoring those empty seats! What pattern is there to study? In all honesty, people are making the decision to come at the last minute based on if the frickin’ mortgage is paid yet that month or not. While this is not rocket science, and there is not much NASCAR can do, here is a PR idea that I am surprised has not already been utilized; don’t mention anything about sagging ticket sales. Instead, focus solely on the fact that television ratings have been up for almost every race so far this season! They have been down for so many years in a row now, I’m surprised this bait and switch ploy hasn’t been used already. Don’t worry, Brian; us fans are so dumb, we will not realize that the ratings are up, because we are staying home to watch the race instead of missing a mortgage payment to be there to get our free hot dog!
Brian France on…
Career advice for Tony Stewart regarding car ownership.
“That’s up to him. He’s got to choose his own career path. I think he’s a real racer’s racer…I know he owns a race track and some other things in the sport, so he might do well with it. I don’t know.”
Me thinks Mr. France missed his true calling as a High School Guidance Counselor!
Until Brian speaks again…
Stay off the wall,
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