The Frontstretch: Almost On Cue, Bruton Dangles a Carrot, And Other NASCAR Tidbits by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday November 6, 2008

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Almost On Cue, Bruton Dangles a Carrot, And Other NASCAR Tidbits

Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday November 6, 2008


Last week, this space was solely devoted to what needs to happen for NASCAR, as a sport, to keep from fading into oblivion. At the top of that list was the total removal of Brian France as the head man in Daytona.

France’s removal, in my opinion, would be the single most ray of hope that we die hard fans could ever wish for. More so even than say, moving the Labor Day race back to Darlington. But we all know that will never happen.

While I did strongly advocate Brian’s removal, in words that even people who have been given ‘signs’ by comedian Bill Engvall could understand, I stopped short of saying that the France family should be removed altogether. Honestly, while the total de-France-ing of NASCAR may not be a bad thing, I would be content (pending further review) with Jim France (Brian’s uncle) running the show. A total France sellout could only be wishful thinking and, as such, I never even thought of it.

For years now, there has been a fantasy by the fans that someone should start a second race series. However, as appealing as that may be, we all know that there is only one man that could even attempt to have the where-with-al to do that, and that man is Bruton Smith. Smith is the man behind SMI, (Speedway Motorsports, Inc.) which owns and operates all your “…Motor Speedway” tracks, such as Bristol, Lowe’s and Texas, to name a few.

Now, Bruton is known for stirring things up, but his statements this last weekend at Texas Motor Speedway have really set me to salivating! While having breakfast with a few reporters, the topic of his long known desire of the outright purchase of NASCAR from the France family was brought up.

“I stand by that,” Smith said. “And it’s getting closer.”

Is Bruton Smith in negotiations with the France family to buy NASCAR, or is he just trying to appease Frontstretch’s own Jeff Meyer?

Whether Bruton said that because he reads the Frontstretch on a daily basis and was trying to appease me, I don’t know. But whatever the reason, it sure is a tasty looking carrot that he has dangled out there, isn’t it?!

Now, I’m not going to sit here and blatantly say that Bruton Smith is the messiah of stock car racing as we know it, but I will say that a NASCAR world with Bruton at the helm would be a hell of a lot better than the fantasy world Brian France has created! Bruton knows how to build a product to sell to the customer. France built a product to sell to himself. Nuff said!

From the “Totally out of touch with reality” department…

“But I still think what wins on Sunday sells on Monday, even in a weakened economy. People relate to what they drive and what their favorite driver drives. That’s a given.”
-Jim Hunter, Vice President of Corporate Communications, NASCAR

Right, Jim! Why, just the other day I ordered a new rear wheel drive Chevy Impala, with optional wing and splitter at my local dealership. They had none in stock. So, I went to the Ford dealer, figuring I could get basically the same car…no luck. So, I tried the Toyota dealer…same darn thing! Seems they are ALL on back order due to high customer demand!

More NASCAR “reality”…

“It’s a science project that we’re involved in with Goodyear,’‘ said John Darby, Sprint Cup series director. “Obviously, a change that major would probably never see a race track for five years. You’ve got tire technology, you’ve got wheel manufacturers, and you’ve got brake manufacturers. It’s just so many components on something like that that it would be as big a change as when we left bias-ply and went to radial tires.”

‘Voices’ says BS! With a capitol BS! They can mandate anything else or sudden fix this or that, and they have in the past! If NASCAR had any balls, they would flat out tell Goodyear, do it and do it by February of 2009! It’s not rocket science for goodness sake, it’s a wheel! Goodyear, and all the other necessary component manufacturers could have it done in record time. They just need some incentive! (See ‘if NASCAR had any balls’ part!)

From the “I hope it was an accident or I hope they catch the guy…” department…

It was reported that a woman, sitting in here RV at TMS this last weekend, was struck in the arm by a .30 caliber bullet. The bullet entered the roof of the RV at an angle and struck her arm as she was sitting at the table.

Now, it is a known fact that a bullet shot straight up in the air will NOT kill you or have any penetrating power when it comes back to Earth to hit you on the head. The reason is because, once the bullet reaches its apex (that’s ‘as high as it goes’ for some of you), it falls back to earth TUMBLING, not spinning as when it left the barrel of the firearm. Thus it becomes nothing more than a metal ‘hailstone’ as it were.

However, if said bullet is fired at an ANGLE, the bullet now has a TRAJECTORY and will SPIN, just as it was when it left the barrel, throughout the ARC of said trajectory and will retain a lot of its PENETRATING power.

Given all that, and given that detectives can determine the angle of which the bullet penetrated the RV, with a little (ok, good) detective and research work, you should be able to get a general idea of exactly where the bullet came from. Yes, it probably came from over a mile or so away, but still, I hope they don’t need me to explain all this to them. Here’s to hoping that it was a genuine accident and not some nut out lobbing shots in the general direction of the speedway grounds. Whatever the case, it needs to be thoroughly investigated.

I’ve been hit in the head in the campgrounds myself, but it is usually by a canned beverage or an errant bean bag — never a bullet! (sometimes BOTH on your better days!)

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Racing to the Point: NASCAR Has Its Own Heartbreak Kid
Beyond the Cockpit: Brittany Force, the Fastest Force
Voices from the Cheap Seats: Advertising for Dummies
Who’s Hot / Who’s Not in Sprint Cup: Off Week-Richmond Edition
Couch Potato Tuesday: Picking The Best IndyCar On-Air Personalities


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11/06/2008 08:09 AM

Couple of things, it has been reported that a “target shooter” voluntarily came forward upon hearing about the bullet incident at Texas. Seems he was target practicing in the area, no other details as yet.

And, not sure why John Darby would say such a thing, science project, etc., when we all know one of the catalysts for exploding tires is the CoT itself, not totally responsible, but a huge part of the current problem anyway. And why a five year project, they have been racing for 40+ years and still can’t get it right!

And not sure I can see NA$CAR being sold by the France family, sure hope I am wrong on that one!

11/06/2008 09:52 AM

Douglas, I read somewhere yesterday…local paper I think, that that shooter you referred to was 5 miles away! A .30 cal 5 miles away and penetrates the roof of the RV and still has enough left to wound the woman? Man, I think I want the weapon!!

M.B. Voelker
11/06/2008 11:10 AM

Only in the world of Nascar would a business’s customers think that they had the right to demand that the owner sell his property to someone else.

Nascar is as much a private, family business as your local car dealership, beauty parlor, or breakfast-all-day diner.

People do not have the right to demand that the owner of a private business sell it to someone they like better. If we were talking about the local diner we’d all know automatically that such demands were insane. There’s no difference whatsoever where Nascar is involved.

Even IF Brian France really were ruining Nascar, and I think he knows a lot more about running a racing series than any fan, commentator, or reporter who hasn’t run a racing series, he has every right to run his own business into the ground if he chooses to.

That’s what owning property means — you can do with it whatever you like.

What people who dislike Brian France’s way of running his business have a right to do is to not patronize that business. Or, if they think they can do better, to open a competing business. Or even offer to buy Nascar from Brian.

I’m still not holding my breath.

Kevin in SoCal
11/06/2008 01:27 PM

There is a second or third racing business out there if you dont like NASCAR. Its called ARCA, IRL, F1, or even NHRA. But aside from F1, none of those others get the ratings that NASCAR does. So you’re still watching, even if you dont like what you’re watching.

11/06/2008 07:08 PM

“So you’re still watching, even if you dont like what you’re watching.”

I don’t watch the races I don’t like. Which is most 1.5 mile tracks, california, Indy, or pocono. If you really want to help change things then do the same.

In the last 10 years nascar has lost 2/3rds of my business. And I was a fanatic from ’78 to the late ’90’s.

It’s sad, but I have no sympathy for those arrogant snobs.

thomas dalfonzo
11/09/2008 08:19 PM

What is Bruton Smith waiting for? If he really wants to buy NASCAR from the France family, he should just go ahead and do it. He certainly has the money to. Smith should stop delivering small blows (buying speedways), and go for the knockout punch.

I can’t even imagine what Big Bill France would say right now. Having his archnemesis buy his beloved NASCAR empire from his family is nothing compared to having his grandson absolutely destroy this sport. Bill France Jr. deserves some blame because he is the one who put Brian in charge of NASCAR to begin with!

I say kick the France family out of the sport and put in people who can run the sport properly, like me.


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
BSNews! Bruton’s Plans Extend Beyond Bristol’s Track
Top Ten Reasons Fans Failed To Show Up At Bristol Sunday
BSNews! NASCAR CEO Given "Special" Award Amidst Lavish Fanfare
Fan Coun-ci-What? Just What Is It That NASCAR Wants To Study?

Want to know more about Jeff Meyer or view his complete article archives? Then hop on over to his archive and bio page.