The Frontstretch: Things That Make You Go, Hmmmmm? by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday March 19, 2009

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Things That Make You Go, Hmmmmm?

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday March 19, 2009


Aside from anything Brian France says whenever he opens his mouth, I found a few interesting news items this past week that has left me scratching my scalp in wonderment.

First off, we have Robby Gordon. Robby was recently competing in the 2009 Baja 250, held in the “trails and washes” of Mexico’s Baja California, where he finished with a respectable second.

But wait a minute! Did he really?

It seems that several teams are now accusing Robby of cheating — cheating in the form of taking a premeditated shortcut in order to pass the dude that was in front of him. A formal appeal regarding the action states that at the most remote part of the course, mile marker 132.5 to be exact, Gordon veered off course and drove over a cliff in an effort to avoid its most difficult part. The appeal further states that Gordon had, in fact, practiced the maneuver before the race. An investigation revealed a set of tire tracks re-entering the course at mile marker 136… presumably Robby’s. Editor’s Note: As of yesterday, this appeal has been formally dropped and Gordon will retain his second place finish in the race.

Now, here are the things that got me to wondering… first of all, just how difficult was the course that a man would drive off a cliff to avoid part of it? Not only that, but practice driving off a cliff, all in an effort to finish second!

Did Robby Gordon really drive off a cliff to finish second?

It would seem to me that if you are going to go to that extreme, the very least you could do is drive off a cliff to finish first. I mean, that’s what I would do… but what do I know?

Next up, we have the Lowe’s Motor Speedway press conference to announce that we have nothing to talk about!

To be totally honest, the press conference was to promote the Burnout contest at this year’s All-Star race and to announce that Ric Flair — a retired man from NASCAR’s sister sport, professional wrestling — will be the honorary All-Star race director, all of which must have taken a total of two minutes. The biggest news, however, was the announced change up of the race format, which, when pressed, no one wanted to comment on other than to say that we will talk about it later.

“We are working on some changes that will be forthcoming – some neat things that we’re going to be changing up,” said LMS president, Marcus Smith. “They’ll be exciting for the fans. We’re talking about some different things that we’ll be able to announce in a few weeks. The All-Star race has a tradition of making changes. … We’ve had great conversations and experience with the folks at Sprint, and [television partner] SPEED and NASCAR. We’ll be able to talk about that in a couple of weeks.”

Translation: We are going to change something, we just don’t know what the heck it is right now. We are still bickering amongst ourselves, but rest assured, we know what is best for the fans. We will tell you when we figure it out.

The next item makes me wonder if our nation’s space program is even worth the effort.

Seems that the next shuttle mission, STS-119, will include a stuffed bear from the Victory Junction Gang Camp! Not only will the bear be in space, but it will be joined by a stuffed purple duck from Japan. Yes, you read that correctly: a stuffed, purple duck.

Other items on this critical mission include a green flag provided by Andretti Green Flag Racing. The said green flag is expected to accumulate a huge earthly following according to NASA propaganda, once it is flown by astronaut Tony Antonelli; assuming, of course, that Tony and the precious cargo return safely to our planet. Time will tell.

In the Sad News department…

Seems that Roger Penske and Bruton Smith have fallen off the world’s “billionaire list,” according to the latest from Forbes. Other NASCAR related figures that are managing to remain on the list by the skin of their teeth include Roush Fenway Racing co-owner John Henry, John Menard — who sponsors the No. 98 Ford of son Paul — and Red Bull Racing owner Dietrich Mateschitz.

Dietrich’s last name alone is enough to make you go, Hmmm…

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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03/19/2009 06:01 AM

I wonder if the Smith family ever asked any fans if they WANTED changes in the All Star race .I suspect not .

03/19/2009 06:31 AM

Hmmmmm….and also on the list with a slight “downturn” …James France. Number #701 out of 793 with a paltry $1.0 billion. And the most interesting blurb in his Forbes bio…. “Industry: Entertainment” Now that’s funny, I don’t care who you are.

03/19/2009 07:21 AM

Hey Jeff, if you don’t know what you’re talking about, then maybe you shouldn’t comment on it (even it just makes you go Hmmm).

Robby didn’t miss any checkpoints. The part of the course in question was declared an “open” area in the pre-race drivers meeting. Finding a better line through the desert has always been a big part of Baja racing – that’s why they often spend weeks prerunning the course. The cliff Robby drove over was a well known alternate route for motorcycles, and used often. Robby was the only one with the skill and the cajones to take that route in a truck, and that’s what PO’d his competitors – they’re jealous they couldn’t do it. The appeal was withdrawn because the dude who filed it realized he looked like a fool.

But of course Robby haters like you can still grab onto the false accusation and give others the impression that Robby is a cheater.

BTW, he was 2nd due to a flat and a failure of his on-board air jack and lug wrench. He lost 20 minutes improvising a way to change the tire.

Stick to complaining about NASCAR Jeff. Or if your going to talk about other series, at least do your homework.

03/19/2009 07:48 AM

Robby Gordon is never given a chance. Everyone else has the heartbreaks in sports and it’s the great story of the week but if Robby Gordon has a heartbreak people find a way to twist it into something he had done to cause it. I quess taking the white flag as the leader twice in the Indy 500 only to run out of gas on the last lap is funny to people when it is Robby Gordon. If that scenario happened to D Patrick or Dale Jr. it would be the great media sob story. This resembles our political system.

03/19/2009 10:09 AM

yep…Robby takes alot of flack for doing his own thing, and not following the herd. I have to support the guy trying to live life on his own terms.

I do wish he would stop looking for shortcuts around the nascar ovals, though….tears up alot of equipment that way :)

03/19/2009 10:14 AM

Ah, here we go again. Protest was filed, denied by SCORE and then the denial was appealed and then dropped and you NASCAR folks preach it like it’s gospel and proven.

The evidence against RG was a video of some tire tracks and the word of a bunch of guys RG has been running rough-shod over for years? Seriously? That wouldn’t stand up as good evidence on Reno 911 much less in reality.

03/19/2009 10:17 AM

Jeff Meyer wrote: It would seem to me that if you are going to go to that extreme, the very least you could do is drive off a cliff to finish first. I mean, that’s what I would do… but what do I know?

Had it not been for some mechanical issues that slowed the team for 18 minutes, they probably would have finished first. So I guess the answer to your question is; Not near as much as you think you know.

J. Meyer
03/19/2009 10:57 AM

LOL I seem to have ruffled a few sandy hairs of the off road crowd!
But just an FYI…the news of the appeal/ruling/withdrawl as released well AFTER the above article was written and submitted.
Take a chill pill and have a sense of humor, will ya?!
And where did I ever say I hate Robby Gordon?

03/19/2009 03:49 PM

I just read your final comment on Robby. It would be appropriate if you put a brief note of same in your next article with apologies for the cheating innuendo. The RG fan club will be waiting!!

J. Meyer
03/19/2009 06:53 PM

While an ‘Editors Note’ has been added concerning recent developements re: R Gordon, I nor has ANYTHING to apologize about! The facts of the case were reported just as they were reported elsewhere. If an apology is what you seek, get it from the ones who accused Robby of cheating in the first place.

Jeff Meyer

03/19/2009 07:07 PM

Hey Doug, I didn’t realize Dale Jr ever run or wanted to run the Indy 500. Ridiculous.

03/23/2009 09:41 PM

A purple duck? Couldn’t they have stuck with NASCAR? I mean, I’ve got a couple of AFLAC ducks that would LOVE to go into space. LOL


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
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