The Frontstretch: Getting the "Cheerleading" Out of My Journalistic System by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday February 10, 2011

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Getting the "Cheerleading" Out of My Journalistic System

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday February 10, 2011


Just because I am an upstanding member of the media, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a favorite NASCAR driver. Yeah, I know that I am not supposed to be biased but since, A) I write commentary and can say almost any darn thing I want and, B) it just so happens that my favorite driver actually won the last two races of the 2010 season, I am going to unashamedly share a fun little poem about Carl Edwards that a good friend of mine wrote. Besides, I don’t feel like getting too “heavy” on y’all until the season actually starts.

This particular poem was written by Gene B. of the Columbia, Mo. area. Not only is Gene a man of many outstanding talents, he also happens to be married to the most beautiful woman (and the best cook) in ALL of Missouri, quite possibly the entire Midwest! (C’mon MK! I’m really trying here. That “hole” has got to be at least a little shallower by now!?) At any rate, without further adieu, the poem.

The Night Before Daytona

By Gene Baumann
(With thanks and apology to W. Clement Moore)

‘Twas the night before Daytona, when all through the land, not an Edhead was worried, a win was at hand;
The stock cars were tuned by the car chief with care, in hopes that a victory soon would be theirs;
The Edheads were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of backflips danced in their heads;
And MK in her crew shirt, and me in my cap, getting all primed to watch every lap,
When down in the garage there arose such a clatter, I sprang to the TV to see what was the matter.
In front of the screen I flew like a flash, plopped in my chair to watch a big bash.
The man on the screen of the SPEED Channel show, gave the play-by-play, every blow after blow,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the man from Missouri, smiling ear to ear,
This superstar driver, so lively and fine, I knew in a moment it must be the 99.
More rapid than eagles his comments they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Harvick! Now, Stewart! Now, Brad K and Hamlin! Oh, Kyle! Oh Jeffie! Oh, Junior and Newman!
To the hauler of NASCAR! Your back to the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
The drivers grow tense before the green flag will fly, when they meet on the first turn and try to get by,
Before the first pit stop they ready the crew, with the stands full of noise, and even an Edhead or two.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof, the revving and roaring of no little hoof.
As I threw back my head, and was turning around, down the chimney Carl Edwards came with a bound.
He was dressed in his firesuit, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of NASCAR toys on his back, he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes — how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His cute little smile was drawn up like a bow, and the teeth all shone as white as the snow;
The stump of a carrot he held tight in his teeth, and bright light encircled his head like a wreath;
He smiled a broad smile and my little round belly, shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was tall and strong, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the snack bowls; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his race car, each fan he would visit, no surprise from our man now, is it?
But I heard him exclaim, at least so it seems, “Whatever you do, don’t give up on your dreams.”

To sum this all up, there are a few things that I would like to review, more so for my newer readers. Yes, I am a member of the media, but like you, I too am allowed my secret favorites. Dale Jarrett was my man until he retired, but I would like to state for the record” when I was picking a replacement for Dale, I did so with the criteria that the man have the same level of class. I picked Carl long before he ever made it to the Cup Series on a hunch that he met that criteria; once he did, he has not let me down from the moment he stepped behind the wheel of the No. 99.

Since that time, mostly due to my position here at Frontstretch (and my wonderful girlfriend, Lisa), I have come to know Carl on a more personal level. That “aw shucks, cousin Carl” image that many naysayers think is reserved for the cameras… it’s not, it’s real. You may, quite possibly, never meet a nicer guy (unless maybe it’s me, but I’m a lot poorer!).

So there you have it folks, my little pep rally for MY favorite driver. No matter who your favorite may be, and no matter how messed up we all may think this sport is right now, I pray that the good Lord will give us a safe and exciting 2011 NASCAR season, and may they all…

Stay off the wall!

Jeff Meyer

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Thursday on the Frontstretch:
MPM2Nite: Answering Questions Nobody Asked
Potts’ Shots: Figure-8 Racing And The Story of Big Bumpers
Dialing It In: The Stories You Should Be Watching In 2011
Did You Notice? … What The NFL Teaches NASCAR, Pesky Hangovers And Hanging On

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
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02/10/2011 06:35 AM

I don’t know, Jeff. I will never buy that nice guy Carl persona. Carl is too aggressive on the track to be the aw shucks guy. He will spin, wreck, and dump anybody with no concern for that driver, or any other. Off track, he has been involved in too many fights when he didn’t think that the cameras are rolling.
The two side of him are completely at odd with each other. If you want an example of a nice guy in and out of the car, look at Mark Martin and/or Jeff Burton. They are (mostly) humble and won’t wreck other drivers just for a win, or even a championship in Mark’s case. Then, it is a very rare occasion to see either of them lose their tempers outside of the car. That is class.
Now don’t get me wrong, I’m not saying that Carl should be that nice. Dale Earnhardt was, is, and always will be my favorite driver, and he wasn’t known for being a big cuddly teddy bear on or off the track. I, personally, just lose respect for a man that behave differently when he knows that the cameras are on him than he does when he thinks that they are off.

Anyway, I hope in your next column, you will let us all know just what you did to dig such a deep hole with MK!!! I liked the poem, but that is the question that is burning in my mind right now.

02/10/2011 01:44 PM

You’re entitled to your opinion, but I don’t share it. Carl’s split personality showed up too many times on the track and off it for me to think that he doesn’t have anger management issues of some sort. I like agression in a race car driver, but he went overboard with it from my point of view.

Hopefully your next columns will deal more with racing than cheerleading for a particular driver.


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