Voices From The Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday July 30, 2009
A lot is being said lately, by fans and media alike, about the “credibility” of NASCAR and, quite frankly, I find it a bit surprising. I mean, c’mon people… where have you been? Does our society as a whole suffer from ADD? Did you forget who you are dealing with?
Even members of our own staff are propagating the idea that the “credibility of NASCAR” is like some sort of sudden affliction, to which I say… “Nuts!” If you don’t believe me, let’s see if you can guess the answers to these questions below.
Is this not the same sanctioning body that has not made an official rulebook available to the general public for decades? Aren’t these the same people who, on any given Sunday, have selectively enforced the rules to fit the situation as it suits them? Is this not the same group of selective corporate insiders that actually officiates the “game” from their ivory tower every week, ignoring the common sense of having “independent” officials run it for them?
Aren’t these the same people who have told their “stars,” the ones that put mega dollars in their pockets year after year, to shut up and quit talking bad about them and their way of doing things? How many drivers who have been called into the official corporate hauler enter with one opinion on a subject, only to emerge shortly thereafter having “suddenly seen the light” or “the error of their thinking?”
Do you not remember the corporation who “improved the sport” by totally abandoning tradition to move a certain race to the “second largest market” in the country? Better yet, who is the company that told us that several thousand seats were empty because the fans who bought them found the shopping under the grandstands to be so spectacular? Who, over the years, has acquired not only the majority of tracks themselves, but also the merchandise sales and the concession trade?
Which company was it that cited moral grounds as the reason hard liquor companies were banned until recently from sponsoring teams, yet allowed them to be the “official drink” of Daytona International Speedway? Who is the CEO of the sanctioning body that also owns a marketing company on the side which helps potential sponsors become the “official this” or the “official that” of NASCAR?
Does anyone remember who banned a popular rising star in the sport for a time because he had a sickness they didn’t understand? What about the company whose employees are accused of lewd sexual advances and racial slurs (which the company deny happened) but then settles out of court for an “undisclosed amount?” Which professional “sport” out there today makes up their own drug testing system, exalts it as the “toughest in all of sports,” only to have the World Anti-Doping Agency describe it as almost laughable?
Which sport was it that recently, as one of our writers put it, “killed a flea with a nuclear weapon?” Which sport was it that, long ago, refused to acknowledge a minority winner at the track but, a few days later, privately conceded that he did in fact win? What sports organization was it that always said that safety came first, but didn’t mandate the use of simple and available technology until the tragic death of one of its greatest stars? In what other sport does the same family that owns the sanctioning body also own the majority of venues that it uses, deciding if anyone else can “play?”
What company was it that, until recently, abandoned the traditional fan and sought out the “casual fan” … only to make casual fans out of almost everyone? What company is it that is now in a panic to get your interest back? Have you figured out the answers yet?
So, you see, do not be alarmed when others in the media rant on about NASCAR’s sudden credibility crisis. That would be like suddenly realizing that most politicians are worthless liars no matter what party they belong to. In the end, the bottom line is we are dealing with the same old entity we always have. There ain’t nothing new here — just the characters change from time to time.
Quit acting all surprised about it!
Stay off the wall,
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