The Frontstretch: The Times, They Are A-Changing by Jeff Meyer -- Thursday February 23, 2012

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The Times, They Are A-Changing

Voices From the Heartland · Jeff Meyer · Thursday February 23, 2012


If my calculations are correct, 2012 marks the start of my ninth year of writing for As some of you may remember, this column was basically the brainchild of several drunken racing fans after having drunken a few too many beverages in a small sports bar in a small town in the middle of a corn field in the middle of Iowa.

The ‘Voices’ in my head were (I think) the comments and slurred pontifications of my friends, acquaintances and a few people I really didn’t like, as we gathered every race day to keep various beverage companies in business.

While Iowa, the town, the cornfield and most of people are still in existence, the bar has long ago disappeared and the secret weekly gatherings are only lingering memories along with the ‘voices’ fading in my head. And therein lies another problem…as of last July, my head is no longer there either. I mean, I still have a head but it no longer is in Iowa. It in fact now resides in Knoxville, TN. Voices that used to sound normal now have a distinct southern drawl to them, all of which leads to this; in the interest of respectable and honest journalism for which I am known, continuing to call this column ‘Voices from the Heartland’ is…well, ‘it just ain’t right’!

While the editors have yet to agree on a permanent title, I’m leaning towards ‘Voices from the cheap seats’ because frankly, ‘Voices from near the Great Smokie Mountains National Park’ seems a bit pedestrian. Having said that, I will inform you that the content may be a bit different as well.

Instead of picking one single topic to rant on about for a thousand or so words, I now plan to have a few paragraphs on a variety of topics as they have come up over the past week. Kind of like writing with a shotgun instead of a rifle, so to speak. So, without further ado, lets get started.

What to expect from Kyle Busch

Remember the big crash last week during practice before the Shootout that mangled a bunch of cars? Well, to make a long story short, when interviewed after the fact, Kyle blamed the whole thing on the driver in front of the whole thing (names are not being used not to protect the innocent, but rather ‘cuz I can’t remember all of the parties involved) saying he saw the other cars coming up fast beside him and, for some unknown reason, moved up to block! Really, Kyle?

First off, that is not what happened as the replays clearly showed. Who would move up to block in practice!? It’s not a race, its PRACTICE!

I know it’s not that big of a deal but it really burns my butt when a driver tries to lay blame on someone else for some incident when they don’t have a clue as to what they are talking about. I realize that this kind of behavior, or perhaps more accurately, self absorbed view of the world is not unnatural for a Busch brother, but really…blocking in practice?! Surely he could have thought of a better one.

On the other side of the coin, as I said earlier this week in Mirror Driving, while I personally do not hold any love for either Busch brother, I will give credit where credit is due and give Kyle some big kudos for the saves he pulled off during the Shootout. Only a handful of drivers could pull that off. Too bad the talent doesn’t come along with a better, more likable personality.

Rebel flags and NASCAR

So, the idiots that be NASCAR have decided that the famed General Lee from the old Dukes of Hazard television show cannot run a lap on the track at Phoenix because it has the famed ‘stars and bars’ emblazoned on it, eh? Well, here is what I think of that; (insert salute here!)

The Confederate flag is NOT about racism, slavery or anything else ultra stupid like that. It is about Southern heritage and pride plain and simple. Anyone who might be offended by it painted on a iconic car from a popular ‘70’s sitcom as it rides around a race track at a sanctioned event by a sanctioning body who owes its success to none other than those who hold it so dear is an ignorant bigot themselves! Besides, who cares what a very few handful of people may think!? Of the so claimed 75 million fans that NASCAR repeatedly boasts about, how many do you think may be ‘offended’? And more to the point, actually complain about it? 1000? 5000? Even if it were 10,000, which I sincerely doubt, that still leaves 74, 990,000 who are NOT or don’t care! Let me spell that out for you…seventy four million nine hundred ninety thousand!

You can’t please everyone ALL the time and NASCAR would do well to stop trying. Some people would complain if you hung them with a new rope! Other people just need to shut up and get over themselves!

It’s an old IndyCar lesson but Jeff Meyer finds Danica Patrick’s crash preparation in NASCAR a bit odd.

Danica crashing ‘girl style’!

Let me get the disclaimers out here first. Yes, that was a very hard hit that Danica took during yesterday’s qualifying duels. Yes, I KNOW that in open wheel racing, such as Indy cars, you BETTER let go of the steering wheel before you hit the wall or you will have broken wrists at best. Yes, I know that this is still a bit new to her….HOWEVER…

I have never, ever seen any of the other racers react in that fashion. And this isn’t the first time either. I wrote about it in February of 2010, during Danica’s first ARCA race. It was funny then and I think it is funny now. Throwing your hands up around you head just before you hit the wall looks…well, so funny and girlish! I’m sorry, but there is just no other way to put it.

As with the Busch brothers, we may get sick of “Danica this” and “Danica that” but you got to admit, some of her racing videos (and heaven helps us racing analysis!) are very entertaining.

Here’s hoping we have a great 2012. On and off the track!

Stay off the wall, (but if you’re gonna hit, do it Danica style!)

Jeff Meyer

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Today on the Frontstretch:
Championship Caliber? What Does That Even Mean?
Mirror Driving: Winning Vs. Points, Needing a Boost, and The Lady’s Last Dance?
Nuts for Nationwide: The Curious Case of Elliott Sadler
Happiness Is…Arrogance, Less, Next, and the Outdoors
Frontstretch Foto Funnies: It’s Not Gonna Fit…


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02/24/2012 11:33 AM

First, I am not a Danica Maniac, but the reason she puts her hands up so far is pure instinct of an open wheel veteran. Indy car cockpits are much smaller and you have to raise your hands farther to clear the steering wheel. Duh.

02/24/2012 11:36 AM

That was a huge hit for Danica, and not of her own doing. It just goes to show the level of hatred most people have for her (including many on this site) that the first thing most people said was “look at the girl take her hands off the wheel!”

Indycar drivers are trained to do that to prevent wrists being broken. Once you know there’s no saving the car, you let go and bring your limbs in to avoid losing anything. Good for her and hard luck. Grow up man.

02/24/2012 12:41 PM

Slamica putting her hands up to her helmet reminded me on the old Mr. Bill animations on SNLOOHHH NOOOO!

Dyno Dave
02/24/2012 01:49 PM

You guys need to give her a break (no pun intended). It looked like there was no way she could have saved the car, and a steering wheel can break a wrist when you hit the wall in a stock bodied car too. I know from personal experience…

Jeff Meyer FS staff
02/24/2012 05:10 PM

To mkrcr and john….I don’t know where you get any ‘hatred’ on my part from my article. And I put all those ‘disclaimers’ in there expressly to appease the nit pickers out there. In case you missed it….again, I KNOW WHY she does what she does, I just said it looks funny and makes good video. Tell me how many times you’ve seen other in car shots of nascar drivers doing that!

02/25/2012 10:59 AM

Jeff, we haven’t seen other open wheel veterans in NA$CAR do the same thing because they didn’t have the nonstop coverage that Danica has. Rarely saw any video of them, much less 50+ in car shots during any race.

I didn’t perceive any hatred on your part from the article. I was merely pointing out her cockpit size. Oops, I guess I should word that differently.


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.