The Frontstretch: NASCAR "Credibility" Not Really an Issue by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday July 30, 2009

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NASCAR "Credibility" Not Really an Issue

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?

Past history such as NASCAR’s double-standard handling of hard liquor sponsorships long ago stripped the sanctioning body of any credibility.

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,

Jeff Meyer

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07/30/2009 05:48 AM

That all becomes pretty frightening when you see it listed like that . And there are hundreds of other incidents you didn’t mention .And come to think about it , there are probably hundreds more incidents that the press or the public isn’t aware of yet .
I really have to give credit to Bill France Sr . and even more so to Bill France Jr. for hand crafting a sport that answers to no one .

MJR in Springfield VA
07/30/2009 07:03 AM

Oh my GOSH….you mean NA$CAR did all those things and we never even noticed!!! Holy hood-wink-the fan Batman, we must be a bunch of boneheads to put up with such a scam. Sucks, that reminds me, I got to order those ticket to 5 different races next year…NOT!!!!!!

07/30/2009 07:46 AM

You cannot use the word “credibility” and NASCAR in the same sentence! The organization began losing crediblity in the mid-90’s, and Brian France totally destroyed any that was left. It’s no wonder that NASCAr and its misguided fanbase has become the laughing-stock of the sports world, especially after Montoya’s bogus speeding. And this fan has finally seen the light! No more of this garbage for me until Brian is gone!

Mike in Floyd Va
07/30/2009 08:18 AM

NA$CAR has gone from being a sport to sports entertainment like pro wrestling. The most noticeable thing is the mystery debris cautions to liven things up. Then there’s the Jimmie Johnson running poor most of the race and then suddenly he’s up front. For those that have watched pro wrestling, how many times did you see Hulk Hogan “beaten” to a bloody pulp only to suddenly come alive and win a match? See any similarities there? NA$CAR lost it’s credibility a long time ago when Bill France Sr came up with a bogus excuse to disqualify the very first race winner who was a bootlegger and it’s continued on since then. Bill Sr telling his inspectors to find something wrong with Fireball Roberts car so the win could be given to the very first mega-team to keep them in the sport. Joe Weatherly and Curtis Turner being given points for a race they never ran. It’s been going on all along. It wasn’t until the 1990’s that folks started to notice it more because the races were being broadcast on a more regular basis. As one former NASCAR champion said, “It’s never been about racing. It’s always been about the money”. More drama and excitement means more money in the form of corporate sponsorships and free advertising from those corporations for NA$CAR. Unfortunately, thanks to the ineptitude of a certain “soda” drinker,folks have started to see things for what they are because no efforts are being made to mask or hide it. Unless or until somebody with some integrity takes over the leadership of NA$CAR and makes it about racing and not money, ratings, and promoting big corporations, the downward spiral into sports entertainment will continue and the credibility will continue to be questioned.

Sharon J
07/30/2009 08:22 AM

Did Nascar make the blueprint for dictatorship that Obama is now following?

07/30/2009 09:30 AM

What a great article! It needs to be printed on the front page of every newspaper in America. This is the perfect example of what is wrong with the USA today. Someone at the helm running it in the ground for all the money they can scam off it. Not caring one bit about the people that get hurt from their greed. That is why America is in shambles today. Same principle.

07/30/2009 10:36 AM

I guess Elliott, Stewart and Petty don’t know what they are talking about ???

NASCAR has been accused of manipulating races for years. Indeed, the most vocal conspiracy theorists have come from within the garage. Some of the top drivers of all time have openly declared that NASCAR deliberately manipulated the finishes of races.

Cup champion Bill Elliott even wrote about it in his 2006 book, Awesome Bill From Dawsonville, My Life in NASCAR: “They still try to dictate results. Whether it’s [Richard] Petty’s Daytona win in 1984 or the questionable yellow flags of the last few years, NASCAR seems to be manufacturing their outcomes a little too much. People in the sport used to laugh at the random yellow flags that would fly during a race due to phantom debris on the track. Most of these yellows were simply intended to tighten up the field for a more exciting finish or to bring the day’s “featured” performer closer to the lead.

“If NASCAR isn’t careful, they’re going to end up hurting the credibility of the sport.”

Two-time champion Tony Stewart openly questioned NASCAR as well.

“It’s about the integrity of the sport,” Stewart said on his radio show in 2007 after he felt NASCAR used caution flags to rob him of a victory at Phoenix. “When I feel our own sanctioning body isn’t taking care of that, it’s hard to support them and feel proud about being a driver in the Nextel Cup Series. I guess NASCAR thinks, ‘Hey wrestling worked, and it was for the most part staged, so I guess it’s going to work in racing, too.’

“I don’t know they’ve run a fair race all year.”

Even Petty, the seven-time Cup champion, agreed that NASCAR deliberately affected results: “What they do try to rig is from time to time throw cautions to make the race closer,” he told The New York Times in 2007. “They don’t care who wins. They’ve got no control over who wins. But they want somebody racing to win instead of somebody just motoring away from everybody.”

07/30/2009 10:58 AM

NASCAR favors two things “THE SHOW” and YOUR MONEY they built the fan zone and then charge you to get in, after you spent how much for the weekend or weeks to go to the races.
Mystery debris yellows are for Jacque Debris.

don mei
07/30/2009 11:26 AM

“Creditable Nascar” is also an oxymoron; and Brian is still just a plain old moron. And Jeff didnt even get into Nascars abysmal safety record until Dale Sr. was killed.

07/30/2009 02:30 PM


Congrats for putting it all into perspective, may this article reach every race fan in America!

Kevin in SoCal
07/31/2009 01:18 AM

Do you really think the other 42 drivers and owners in the sport would stay silent if NASCAR was rigging the races so Jimmie Johnson won most of the time? How much money do you think it would take to keep them silent? How much would it take to keep you silent if you were racing in the Cup series and watched another driver win a lot more than you did?

07/31/2009 08:28 AM

Hey Kevin in SoCal, your “Do you really think the other 42 drivers and owners in the sport would stay silent if NASCAR was rigging the races so Jimmie Johnson won most of the time?”, well, may not be spot on, BUT! Remember, it is about the money, and yes, there is enough King Brian Farce pressure on the drivers to NOT say ANYTHING negative about the sport, such as it is)!

When King Brian holds a special drivers meeting to tell all drivers to SHUT UP, should speak volumes about any kind of HONESTY forthcoming from the drivers!

After all, each driver, no matter how good, or how bad, is making millions of $$$$$ from NA$CRAP, and why would they want to take the chance of say “failing a drug test”???

07/31/2009 01:06 PM

Jeff, that was great!


Contact Jeff Meyer

Recent articles from Jeff Meyer:

Voices From The Cheap Seats: The Tale Of Two Tires
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