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Matt McLaughlin · Thursday November 12, 2009
To put it politely, Cup racing in 2009 hasn’t been very good. This grizzled ol’ cantankerous scribe could put it a lot less politely — and many of you normally gentle readers have expressed your sentiments on this season in increasingly pointed (and even profane) terms. What started as distant thunder back in February has become a deafening drumbeat late this Fall. By the way, some of ya’ll are just out and out nasty … and that’s one of the things I love about you.
But let’s mind our manners. I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that this has been the worst season of Cup racing since at least 1998, when the 5 and 5 rules turned the season into an unholy farce that still causes me to grind my teeth to calcium powder recalling it.
There are a lot of opinions on what’s gone wrong. Some blame the tepid racing on the new cars. Others argue it’s the fault of the new points system. Some want to hang blame on a new generation of cardboard cutout, white Wonder Bread drivers who’d make Pollyanna sick to her stomach. I personally hang a lot of the blame on the loss of race dates at tracks that routinely provided outstanding racing (Darlington, Rockingham, North Wilkesboro) but whose dates were moved to cookie cutter tracks that have routinely provided, (be polite here, Matt) tepid racing. Still others want to fault the emergence of a few superteams that are dominating the sport. There’s a thousand reasons why the racing is so awful right now, and it’s probably some combination of the above that is causing the problem — though to what degree can be debated endlessly.
What can’t be debated is the racing this season, at least on the Cup level, has been really, really bad. At times, the drivers have even admitted as much. NASCAR statisticians try wallpapering over the problem with all these “green flag passes for the lead” numbers. (Here’s a hint: During a long green flag run when the leaders are ducking into the pits to refuel and re-shoe their mounts, there’s a lot of green flag passes for the lead — it’s just not much fun to watch.)
Even the TV guys admitted things were pretty sedate, perhaps overly so, at Talladega. Hell, even NASCAR officials have tried covering things up, saying things like, “Well, they can’t all be classics.” (Well yeah, OK, but can’t one or two a season be classics just to keep us watching?)
As for the fans, if Brian France, under an assumed identity for his own safety, were to visit the average fan-driven NASCAR message board and read the fans’ opinions of the races… he’d be sleeping in his closet, Dr. Dentons zipped up tight, both thumbs firmly entrenched in his mouth having nightmares for a month.
But man, fixing this problem could cost money. Lots of it. If the ISC had to fix its tracks to allow for better racing, it’s going to really beat up their already-battered bottom line. Scrapping the CoT and replacing them with real race cars is going to be awfully costly for the team owners. Scrapping the Chase is going to leave some serious egg on Brian France’s constantly twitching face, and even if they work free, paying 300 apes in bananas to sit at keyboards for 30 hours until one of them bangs out a better points system than the Chase, it could be prohibitively expensive.
So how do we fix this problem without costing rich people any money or making any substantive progress on actually improving “the product?” Well apparently, NASCAR’s latest brainstorm is to blame the media. The racing is just fine. In fact, it’s better than ever. It could not possibly be improved one iota. It’s just the nattering negative nabobs in the media that are convincing fans that this year’s racing is the equivalent to a nine month long proctologic exam in the front window of a department store while Britney Spears’ music is piped into the room at maximum volume.
Wow, me and the other negative nabobs in the media made it 10 months with our evil plot to overthrow NASCAR so we could be unemployedm too, but with two weeks left to go this season, we got caught. I’m sorry … does this make sense to anyone? Who, exactly, is behind this giant conspiracy? Whoever dreamed up this humdinger needs to steal a page from South Park and Blame Canada!
Apparently, in one of their closed door town meetings, NASCAR officials offered up the talking point that it’s time to blame the media for the perception that the sport has become boring. They probably pointed out the grandstands are far from full and the TV ratings are down, but that sort of crap makes sponsors nervous, and nervous sponsors are less willing to write the big checks that keep your mansions stocked with Bentleys and Cheezy Poofs. And a separate meeting with the ABC/ESPN announce team must have really roasted those folks’ chestnuts on an open fire, because they were backpedaling from their comments about Talladega all afternoon at Texas.
The boy next door, Carl Edwards hinted at the theme over the radio during the race. Everyone’s most respect sage, Mark Martin, added he’d been around a long time and the racing doesn’t suck any worse than it ever did. Wow, what a stunning endorsement of what you do for a living! But if you’re going to launch a full-on assault on the media, the attack dog you want to take off the leash is Tony Stewart.
Since entering the garage area, knuckles dragging on the ground, his middle swollen like he’s carrying triplets, unshaven and with a chip on his shoulder the size of an crew cab duly loaded with two cords of firewood, Stewart has made his dislike of the media obvious. A lot of drivers have somewhat strained relations with the media, but few have resorted to actually physically assaulting said scribes. Well Mr. Stewart likes to remind people he doesn’t have time to answer stupid questions. After all, being as fabulous as he is a 24-7 challenge. (To clue Tony in: media members don’t like asking stupid people questions, either, but that’s what we get paid to do sometimes.)
Stewart can wheel a race car about as well as anyone who’s ever drawn breath on this earth, but he’s dumber than an acre of mud. When he has a point that he wants to make, he comes running to the media babbling like a holy roller seeing the first bag of rattlesnakes entering the church. But if he’s in a bad mood, don’t expect him to fulfill the same obligations other drivers who finished in the top 3 are expected to endure. He is, after all, TONY STEWART. We’re just “the rest of us” — privileged to be drawing breath on his planet.
Well, Mr. Stewart now claims that boring races are just a myth that the media has created and that the racing is great. If the media would just shut their yaps and unplug their keyboards, all would be well.
Frankly, I don’t think so.
I know race fans pretty well. After all, I’ve been one for 40-something years now. I hear from them not only daily but hourly. I’ve spent long afternoons seated with them on the side of the catchfence where you pay to be as opposed to the side where you get paid to be. I sit at their kitchen tables discussing the sport with them. I’m elbow-to-elbow with them at taverns, and sitting beside them on a guardrail catching a smoke while our Harleys make that ticking sound cooling off. I debate the sport and the relative worth of each event with them standing in line at the Wawa or the Dunkin’ Donuts in the morning … and most of the time, I do a lot more listening than talking.
A lot of them know who I am and what I do, but they want to talk. They’ve read what I had to say. Now they want me to hear their opinions. Funny thing is, I’ve never run into Brian France or Tony Stewart at Dunkin’ Donuts. Come on by, guys. I’ll spring for the coffee and a sausage biscuit.
America runs on Dunkins’. You dummies are just running out of time.
Here’s what I know about stock car racing fans — or at least the fans that are left. These people are passionate about their sport (and it does, in fact, belong to them since they ultimately pay the bills that keep the circus tent erected.) They have strong opinions about it. Nothing I write, nothing any scribe can write about the sport, is going to change their passionate beliefs. I might give them some points to ponder from time to time, and they’ll wish to debate them with me via email or in the Wawa parking lot, but that’s my job as a writer.
There’s still a perception in some circles that somehow stock car racing fans are some illiterate bunch of toothless boobs tuning in on Sunday to see big wrecks. I know that not to be the case. I know surgeons, psychiatrists, and priests who are stock car racing fans. And if there are fans who might not have a formal education beyond a couple years of high school, they still know their sport. They have strongly-held opinions, and they’ll debate them to their dying breath. If anyone out there thinks I have some Svengali-like power to hypnotize mass numbers of folks from all walks of life into adopting my attitude and my opinions, your estimation of my talent is light years beyond my own.
If anything, I think I feed off the fans I deal with and their attitudes more than they do mine. In my weekly race piece, the largest section is entitled “What They’ll Be Talking About Around the Water Cooler This Week.” As I prepare that section, I’m surfing the message boards I frequent seeing what the fans are talking about, what they liked about an issue or race, and what got their goat. Somewhere along the way, I’ve figured out that it’s the fans that keep me employed doing this job. You paid for the Harley (thank ya’ll, I really dig it). There’s a few drivers in NASCAR who would do well to remember they’re in the same boat — only I‘m in steerage and they‘re in the outside suite. And this boat is taking on water at an alarming rate while the crew dances on deck proclaiming all is well.
Sure, it’s the media’s fault. Keep believing that, just like the guy coughing up blood into his handkerchief keeps believing it’s seasonal allergies and not lung cancer.
Cup Racing this year has sucked. You can launch a witch hunt claiming the media is to blame, or you can start correcting the fundamental issues that are destroying the sport. These drivers and NASCAR officials can launch all the rocks at me they want. Pretty damn soon, they’re going to be tossing them at taillights disappearing towards the horizon.
Stewart once raged that NASCAR needed to get the fans out of the garage area, that it was the teams’ workspace and having all those representatives of the unwashed masses around made him claustrophobic. Now, apparently, Stewart is ready to toss the media out of the garage too. Given a couple years, I think Tony is going to like the garage area just fine. The media will be gone. The fans will be gone … a lot of the teams and drivers will be gone. He’ll have no reason to feel claustrophobic standing among those who are left studying the vast swaths of empty seats in the grandstands.
Will the last person to abandon NASCAR kindly turn out the lights on your way out the door?
©2000 - 2008 Matt McLaughlin and Frontstetch.com. Thanks for visiting the Frontstretch!
I’m confused Matt. So does the racing suck or doesn’t it? Please just say “yes it does” or “no it doesn’t” because I can’t decide whether to watch this weekend’s race or not.
Could you also tell me whether this health care thingy is good or bad.
Also, while you’re at it, should I drink Coke or Pepsi?
Any ideas what I should get my brother for Christmas?
Forget the 5 and 5 rule… remember the odd & even pit rule from around 1990 or so after one of Bill Elliott’s pit crew members was killed at Atlanta? At least Bill Jr. realized how horrible an idea that was and it was scratched by mid-season. But not until after I endured probably the most boring Darlington race in the history of Nascar.
WOW! Yet another outstanding column on the “STATE OF NA$CRAP”!
But how, just how? (may I ask?) can one “mind their manners” when venting against the way this sick organization is being run? And run right into the ground at that!
Everyone is ready to hang dear old Bernie Madoff, hell, he just stole money!
King Brain Farce is stealing our “passion”! Along with our money!
So why, just why, would we ever consider our “manners” when it comes to discussing King Brian, the thief?
And for Bill B. YES, the racing sucks, drink RC Cola, yes, the health care thingy is good, (well, sorta anyway), and how about a Tony Stewart ‘T” shirt, the one that changes colors, for your Brother?
Dale Jr. was the previous scapegoat for all that was wrong with NA$CAR. This year’s scapegoat is the media. Who will it be next season? The fans sitting in the nose-bleed section in Turn 2 at Charlotte? The fans sitting in front stetch Row 1 seats at Texas? Or will it be Joe Schmuckatelli from Podunk Center who is watching the race at home?
Unless or until somebody in Daytona Beach grows a pair and steps up and accepts the responsibility for creating the mess we are seeing, things are not going to improve. Placing blame on those who have no control over the decisions that come out of Chart House in Daytona Beach isn’t going to make things better. The first step towards correcting the problem is to admit that there is one. So it’s time for the Frances, Helton, and the rest of Brian’s Circus to pull their heads out of the sand and take a long hard look at the reality of the situation and admit to what we all are seeing.
Needed something in a hurry to fill a column , huh Matt . Other than the worn out “ grizzled old writer , the everyman writer , the Harley riders writer , the more fan than writer writer “ drival , i don’t see that this one had much of a message . At least not a coherant one .
I do take exception to one item . Writers don’t get paid to ask dumb questions Matt . Writers get paid to write . The dumb questions come from writers who should probably be doing something else for a living .
I suppose that there are some members of the media who pile on needlessly because NASCAR has become a very easy target, but blaming the media is a losing strategy. It doesn’t do Obama any good when his administration blames Fox News.
I have spent more time reading this column than watching NASCAR over the past 3 or 4 months so it stands to reason that you have influenced my opinion and caused me to believe that the racing sucks!…… oh wait I forgot that I had all this time to surf the net because I wasn’t watching NASCAR as much because the racing sucks…Now i’m ALL confused. I think I’ll call Brain to find out what I will find fun next year.
I appreciate your attempt to help me out with my many dilemnas however, you are not part of the official media therefore I can’t use your input. I only do what the media tells me. Sorry but thanks just the same.
Hey Bill B. just trying to help!
But I am not sure that here on the FRONTSTRETCH you will find “officially approved” reporters, think you may have to go to SPEED TV, or such, or, better yet, try asking JENNA FRYER!
You might get “official NA$CRAP” responses from those shills!
But again, I understand your position, you really want to do what’s right!
Oh, by the way, RC Cola really is good!
When you media types start driving race cars, I’ll blame you for the bad racing. Until then, I’ll continue to blame NASCAR and its “chase” for the almighty dollar. The sponsors and owners also have to share the blame for dumping drivers and ensuring that few make it past their mid-thirties before being replaced by a teenager, who still doesn’t really know how to drive a race car with anything but his hands and feet.
Another great article…I am so glad to know that I have the media to thank for my opinions since NASCAR and some of the drivers think I am unable to form opinions on my own…have been a fan for a long time and these days I just can’t seem to be bothered with anything but the first 10 and the last 30 laps. Not so surprising that MANY fans tell me the same thing. If I didn’t have so much fun tailgating at the track I wouldn’t even bother going any more.
The racing would have to improve ten fold to mere suck. It’s reached a level of suction previously only known to Paris Hilton. Don’t watch. Spend the afternoon prowling your neighborhood and cutting cable lines to the homes of any neighbors you find watching the race.
Health care is very good. Especially when it involves naughty night nurses. Finding a way to pay for health care so everyone can have it..well that’s a bit more complex.
Soda is bad for you. It rots your teeth. Denistry is not included in universal health care. Drink beer. Like the marketing campaign says, “beer it’s jst not for breakfast anymore.”
You should get your bro an 2010 Challenger SRT Hemi, black on black with the six speed. If he doesn’t like it, it’s the wrong color or he’s worried about gas mileage you should give it to me. You are getting very sleepy. Give in to this impulse. There is no sense resisting. I am the media.
THE PROBLEM WITH THIS SPORT IS THE DRIVERS ARE THE ONES MAKING ALL THE MONEY.NASCAR IS GETTING EVERYTHING FREE.THEY HAVE A 1960S MANAGEMENT TEAM FOR A 21ST CENTURY SPORT.AND THIS COT CAR IS A JOKE.ASK ANY FAN WHY THERE NOT WATCHING. COT.WHAT HAPPENED TO IROC.THATS WHAT WE GOT.
and yet all you suckers sit there sunday afternoons glued to the tv watching nascar.
was mark martin and jimmie johnson fighting it out at darlington bad racing? was jimmie johnson and denny hamlin battling at martinsville bad racing? was mark martin and kyle bush’s race at bristol not good racing? how about the battle at chicago with the 5, 24, 11 and 39?
matt i respect your opinions but do you expect every lap of every race to be a nail biter? when has it ever been? i have been around the sport for 15 years and i don’t see a major difference from today going back to the mid and late 90s. dega has always been dega. fuel mileage races have existed forever. cars get strung out in the middle of a 500 miler. that’s been nascar for the past 15 years. i can’t ever remember a time where i watched cars battling door to door, tradin paint for all 500 miles of a race.
now let’s move on to phoenix. boy that race sucked! what a f#$%^&g horrible race. nascar sucks. wah! i hate brian france. wah! i bet all these dolts who idolize you are preparing their rants before the race is even run.
NOT AGAIN!!! I guess slamming Stewart last week was not enough for you…Are you running out of things or people do write about?…Got the “closet hots” for him?…OR maybe one of those in the media who just can’t help asking stupid questions? It is so odd you continue to worry about his waistline or if he shaves?? HMMM There are certainly more important and intriguing stories to print..or are you just too lazy to do any leg work? I think if you are complaining about lack of stories and stupid questions being your only choices..you need to find another line of work. Need good ideas..and you want to stick with Stewart? How about why a couple races before the Chase started do his cars “suddenly” not seem to have the same power as the Hendrick cars he was given before? Maybe that might require alittle looking into..but it’s a story alot would read! Or how about branching out and going non Stewart bashing..(by the way how is YOUR waistline..and do you even have any hair on your head?). Alot of times I enjoy your writing.but when you choose to bash a driver over and over … it gets old..and smells of jealousy. So..go out and find some stories..next time you are in front of Stewart (by the way I hear Jimmie getting quite testy lately with the media and the dumb questions)..but maybe prethink a few really interesting questions…all of us..including Stewart and the now testy Jimmie..would love to have thrown out there.
NASCAR CRUSADER, is your real name Brian France?
As far as a nail-biting race is concerned, I expect it somewhere on the track on every lap. Otherwise, the fans in the stands could replace the drivers for the middle 400 miles of a 500 miler, get out and let the drivers finish the race.
If they want me to glue myself to the race each week like I used to do they must meet my demands.
1. Get rid of the COT and make them run stock sheetmetal and engines based on stock blocks. Throw the rear wing on the ash heap of history.
2. Get rid of the Chase.
3. Make the “Broadcast Partners” show the race, and not focus on the superteams or drivers sponsored by the big dollar players. No more segments during the race that add nothing and are stealth advertisments. No more focusing on drivers who appeal to the 13-35 year old female demographic- if you can’t drive you get on screen when you get lapped.
4. Fire Brain France and ban him from the grounds.
Meet these demands and I will come back, and once again I will go to the track and spend my money on Nascar and Nascar related accessories.
Not Nascar related, but did anyone else witness the death of country music last night at the CMA awards? Just like Nascar it has been taken over and taken to the lowest common denominator, with real country artists getting shut out by a 17 year old Pop Princess, to the delight of the music industry as they count the money from the teen fans who run out and buy anything Taylor Swift.
Sorry, but my country music is all about cheating, drinking and patriotism, along with the newer southern rock influenced country music. It is not songs about high school and teenage angst. The only reedeming factor last night was Jamie Johnson, seems they threw us old skool country fans a bone.
Ahh, OK, after thinking about it the death of Nascar and Country music are the same.
Nice try there Matt for that 2010 Challenger SRT Hemi. I should have mentioned there is a $100 limit. But if I ever hit megamillions or powerball jackpot, you’ve got it dude.
However I will try out your beer suggestion.
And I’m sure with my luck that naughty night nurse would turn out to be a male nurse…..
“Not that there’s anything wrong with that”.
I’ve been ranting and raving for the last couple of years about the state of cash$car and have seen that nothing has changed. If the media is at fault for critisizing the sport, then I, the fan. am also at fault I guess. Way to go nas$crap. Let’s blame everybody, but yourselves. And now drivers are taking the fans on. Stewart has a lot of nerve. Well folks. I haven been writing in much lately. The reason is apathy. I’ve run out of rants. That means I don’t care. And Mr. Nero France, that means I haven’t watched a lot of the races in the chase. I’ve been watching football and switching to nas$car once in a while only to see more follow the leader racing. Usually JJ leading the parade. And for all you nas$car apologists who take to task people like me who have been following the sport for 25+ years, shame on you. I know. Opinions are like a$$holes. Everybody has one. At least I’m not one. To put it bluntly, unless something cha nges drasticly, I’m done. And Mr. Nero. If you keep saying the media and the fans are the problem, you’re done.
that’s fine if you expect nail biting racing for all 500 miles of the race somewhere on the track. the problem i have is when people say racing used to be like that. it wasn’t. it is the fans like you that cause nascar to have to throw the phantom yellows. they are trying to serve up an exciting show. if left up to the drivers they do what they have been doing forever. they run the race conservatively and strategically until it’s go time.
this is the biggest problem. the fan who complains the racing isn’t exciting enough. either you’re crying that nascar and the racing is boring or when they try to spice it up for you very complainers then you complain they’re throwing yellows for the show. it’s a no win situation. you’re asking them to orchestrate exciting racing on every lap and then criticizing them for trying to do so.
bad wolf – feel the same way about cma’s. 19 yr old entertainer of the year…just cause her fan demographic gets extra spending money from their parents to buy all the cd’s, merchandise and download songs. one of two songs about dating issues is one thing, but come on! girl has a problem with singing too, something about her pitch and lack of it grates on my nerves. she’s coattailed on the big tours when she started out. just like with na$car it’s all about marketing the package and what group of people you want to reel in as your fan base. oh yeah, and her daddy has thrown a ton of money at the power to be in nashville to help his little girl’s career. i’m surprised taylor doesn’t have whiplash from slinging her hair, cause that’s all she seems to do on a consistent basis.
oh yeah, nice to know that jr has issues with other things too. he messed up last night presenting. wonder who he’ll blame it on, he was a one man team last night.
yeah i know this is racing forum….tired of saying same thing over and over. it’s not going to change. wonder what na$car will do if there’s empty seats at homestead for their big finale weekend. oh yeah….triple threat has started, there’s 3 possibilities in phoenix and i’m sure at least 2 in homestead. yawn.
I see Slim CANUCME Shady Nascar Crusader is once again glued to the monitor breathlessly waiting to respond to anyone who dares pull back the curtain of Nascar to see the Wizard at the controls. Never mind that man behind the curtain, Slim CANUCME Shady Nascar Crusader is here to save us from our misconceptions about the state of Nascar. Never mind your lying eyes, Slim CANUCME Shady Nascar Crusader is here to save the day.
Slim, Nascar.com called and they need their #1 cheerleader back.
im suprised since you spend all day every day online talking about a sport you so loathe that you didn’t realize nascar.com is owned by turner sports and has nothing to do with nascar. aren’t you even a little embarassed that you put this much time into something you claim to hate?
by the way it’s nice to see that you don’t just torture yourself by watching nascar racing that you hate. it’s good to hear that you also tune into other things that completely irk you like the cmas. are you one of those people who cut themselves too?
Good column Matt. Forcing some people to think isnt half bad.Like so many other long time fans I’ve also become a member of the “First Ten, last Thirty” club except for the short tracks and road races. The sad thing is it really wouldnt be that difficult or expensive to correct most of Nascars problems. Oh well. Oh, and my Harley is faster.
Bad Wolf and Janice, come on, give Taylor a break. She’s 19 years old and has everything going for her right now. Is she a pop crossover artist, yes, but don’t condem her for something her management team makes happen. Is she the best singer out there? Absolutely not but she is one of the most gifted writers I’ve heard at such a young age. And why criticize her? She’s not a Britney, Paris, Amy Winehouse or numerous other so-called stars who have little girls looking up to them while they parade around drunk, high, or pantiless. Do either of you have a 19 year old daughter with dreams of succeeding in life? Better yet, do either of you remember being 19 years old and wanting something more in life than a 40 hour a week job? And if you want to discuss old-school country, let’s talk about Tanya Tucker, 13 when she had her first hit. What about Brenda Lee, what was she, 11 when she had hers? Oh, and let’s not forget LeAnn Rimes who burst onto the country music scene with ‘Blue’ a song written with Patsy Cline as the intended singer. Let’s leave Alan Jackson and George Strait do the fighting for all us old timers who love real country music. But don’t pick on a 19 year old girl whose doing what she loves, and is obviously loved by millions in return. If you don’t like her, turn the radio or tv station. And Matt, as for your article, I loved it … Stewart is the biggest ass out there (pun intended) and it’s about time someone says as much, in writing.
Great article, Matt. It made me laugh and also want to cry because it so sums up the state of things in NASCAR. A sport that I’ve loved for so long is on blasted life support and it sure isn’t because the media is telling the fans it is. Anyone who’s been to a race (I wanted to take a nap during the middle of a few of them this year) or been subjected to the mess we see on TV has figured it out all by themselves. Tony Stewart is SUCH a hypocrite and I loved the comment about how happy he’ll be when he really does get his wish and is left “alone”. Considering he was the one talking about no-doz during the Dega debacle,it’s kind of silly to come out with that kind of statement.
BTW, NASCAR Crusader, I expect to see side by side racing somewhere during the event that didn’t take place because of the double-file restart “shootout style” but because the cars were actually able to catch up and pass one another. I love the racing at Martinsville and Darlington, but the high speed parades don’t keep me glued to the set —
when teams employ strategies to run conservatively during the middle part of a 500 mile race and then turn it up at the end when the money is on the line how is it that nascar or brian france is ruining the racing? i have been watching nascar for 15 years and have watched it over and over and over and over again. this is not new. it has been going on since the beginning of time. is every race and every lap a nail biter. no, of course not. point to a season where every single race and every single lap was exciting. now go run off to google and study every race from every year and see if you can put together one season that was a thriller from start to finish.
Just goes to show there is no way to make everyone happy.Just stop trying!Let them race and the real fans will be happy,The fair weather fans will move on to their next fad.
60% left side weight like the outlaw late models run would be a cheap fix that would go a long way towards offsetting the aero push and improving racing,
hurry up…. im getting ready to leave. if you watch nascar all weekend then come here and pretend to hate it like you are some sort of throwback get on! weeeeeeeeeeeee! choo choo!
Well , we learned one thing from this column . Ramsey Poston… aka NASCAR CRUSADER , has at least been watching NASCAR for 15 years . Not paying attention mind you , just watching .
we have also learned that there are some people in this world with way too much time on their hands. could you imagine how much better off the world would be if you nascar hating kool aid drinkers spent as much time being productive in society as you do on the computer whining and complaing about a sport where cars go around in a circle.
24-4-5, I did not condemn Taylor, It is the CMA that I condemn. Taylor may be talented but she belongs in a differant class of music. The ones you mention who made it big sang country. Tanya Tucker was condemned for singing songs that were suited to older woman, and LeAnn could just flat out sing as good as Patsy when she hit the scene at such a young age. They did not sing about being in High School and such.
Taylor Swift getting entertainer of the year and Female Vocalist of the year is like voting Dale Earnhardt Jr. this years champion then inducting him into the Nascar Hall of Fame. He worked hard also, and has dreams of more than a 40hr work week but that does not make him deserving of the awards and accolades.
By the way, I recorded the awards and skipped all the BS, just like I do on Sundays with Nascar. Most of the time I don’t even watch any of the race I recorded, but catch the replays then Despain.
could you tell me what was the last race you enjoyed from start to finish without recording?
“NASCAR CRUSADER”; now THERES an oxymoron if I ever saw one!!!! LOL!!!
how about you. tell me what was the last race you watched start to finish?
Not that I necessarily like the CoT, but when was the last time we saw a race won by over 1 lap? Happened quite a bit on the good ole days. Jamie McMurray, Reutimann, and Keselowski winning races? Back in the early 80’s it was DW, Earnhardt, Cale and a select few others winning. The personalities were greater back then for several reasons, namely, get this, the small amount of national media coverage. It’s easier to perceive the myth than it is to see the reality. For instance if Kyle Busch or Jimmie Johnson were doing what they are doing 30 years ago, they’d be iconic. Granted they may have the personality of toast, but their on track accomplishments would be the stuff of legend. Lending to Matt here, Dale Earnhardt, Tim Richmond, Davey Allison would not stand a chance in today’s NASCAR. And Earnhardt is probably the man most responsible for NASCAR being what it currently is.
Probably Watkins Glen and Dover. I wont watch plate races anymore and Ive become a charter member of the “First Ten, Last Thirty” Club for anything but short track and road races.
Bad Wolf, maybe, just maybe, that’s what this world needs more of. Singers like Taylor Swift writing and singing songs about subjects they/she knows about; i.e. high school and boyfriends, instead of other unmentionable issues sang by some of the other ‘so called’ singers of today. When Tanya Tucker sang ‘Would You Lay With Me (In A Field Of Stones)’ she didn’t even know what the song content was about. All I’m saying is that country music has always had a touch of pop/rock in it. In the early/mid 70’s didn’t Charlie Rich, while presenting one of the awards, put paper to flame when he felt that pop/country singer John Denver didn’t deserve to win his award? What about Harold Jenkins (more commonly known as Conway Twitty) crossing over to country from rock-n-roll? Or Dolly Parton and Faith Hill being criticized for having their music cross over to number 1 pop singles? At least Taylor is keeping her music honest and true to who she is. And there are obviosly a lot of young girls who look up to her. And for what it’s worth, I feel it’s better they look up to her than to some of the others mentioned earlier. I know you’re not knocking Taylor as an artist but more so the CMA’s for their lack of classic country vision, but like all things, including NASCAR, change occurs regardless if we like it or not. As for Jr., maybe if he worked half as hard at being successful as young Miss Swift, he would be celebrating his first championship this year.
that’s funny. many of the old school nascar fans i speak to feel that road courses do not belong in nascar. shocking to hear an old timer like you endorse road racing.
so you like all the side by side racing and excitement at the 2 road courses. interesting.
FYI road racing has been around Nascar for a long time. I saw races at Bridgehampton out on Long Island in the sixties and Dan Gurney won the Riverside Nascar race a number of times in a full size Ford during the same period. Ive also spent 25 years road racing motorcycles and a vintage Corvette so Im obviously a road racing fan. Still shocked? I wish there were more.
yes, very much so. i hear so many old timers say how they feel road racing has no place in nascar racing. talk about a single file parade…..
2006 Bristol, more than likely. Pre 2001 and Fox I watched ever lap of every race and planned my weekends around Nascar.
Slim, when was the last time you watched a complete Nascar snooze fest featuring crappy coverge and manipulated cautions and did not run for your official Nascar Pom Poms after the show? I bet you sleep sound in your bed every Sunday night in your official Dale Jr, jammies kept warm by your official Jimmie Johnson bedspread and resting your head on your pillowcase that has an image of Brain France giving you a wink and the thumbs up.
Well NC opinions are like you know whats and everyone has one. If you dont like road racing then the obvious solution for you is not to watch any. Kind of simple really. I dont like plate races so I dont watch them.
so from 2001 until now you have watched 1 race in it’s entirety? and you come on this site every single day to whine and complain. beyond pathetic.
what was different from the 06 bristol race you watched to the bristol race this year?
my point exactly. thanks.
You are very welcome.
Hey 24-4-5, your “Is she a pop crossover artist”, is she a he? or is he a she? (oops, you said crossover, not crossdresser, sorry, got confused)!
And Matt! you really need to stop writing all this good stuff, your putting Saturday night Live out of business!
But then again everything in NA$CRAP is funny!
I remember the time Jeff Foxworthy went to the track, Grand Marshall or something me thinks, anyway after the event he said that after touring the garage area he had enough material to last a full year!
(the bad news is the race hadn’t even started yet)
You bring out the best, err, maybe the worst, in comments, anyway you get the drift!
And finally for NASCAR CRUSADER, or whomever you may pretend to be! (actually I would keep changing my name column by column if thats the best I could explain myself), but YES!
A RESOUNDING YES!
To your question if every lap should be a “nail-biter”!
43 cars, 43 drivers, why not shouldn’t EVERY lap be exciting?
I can remember not that many years ago that for most of the races fans WERE ON THEIR FEET because of the action on the track!
Now we have memebers of the media that think racing three (3) wide, three (3) laps into a race, IS UN-CALLED FOR!
That form of racing, unfortunately, was found at the most recent Talladega race!
It’s called SINGLE FILE!
And for Don Mei, a “vintage corvette”?
I guess my “bragging rights” include the fact Zora used to work for me!
(ok, ok, I’m done, for now)
Slim, your key word was ENJOYED, not watched start to finish. I sorta watched the whole Talledaga race (it was on the whole race) and still tuned in for every race untill a couple of years ago, but I found the show lacking and came to the conclusion Brain France and Nascar would not change a thing as long as people like Slim Shady were still buying up the poopcicles.
I think Slim should have spent more time studying in English class, as he can’t figure out such things as the differance between watching and enjoying, as was the point in question.
For the record I find Slim to be shallow and pedantic when it comes to the state of Nascar, and as such can see why he can not grasp the larger picture.
im still trying to understand your point. you say the show was lacking and you stopped watching a couple of years ago. so enlighten me. help me understand. what was so different between the 06 bristol race and and 09 version.
p.s. are you mad at me because i think you are a fake, phoney, matt mclaughlin wannabe? don’t take that personal. it’s just the impression i get.
Its a 1958, Turnip. Fire me off an e mail at email@example.com and Ill send you a couple of pics. And if you REALLY worked with/for/over Duntov, Id love to know about it. My camshaft is named after him..LOL
Joe, did you mean that Dale Sr., Tim Richmond and Davey Allison would not be good today? If so I disagree 1000%. They all had more talent in there little fingers than a guy like Kyle Busch has in his whole skinny body. The skinny little punk. Oh I put that part in for you Matt, since you want to pick on Tony Stewart for being “fat” then I will pick on Busch for being “skinny”. Stewart is way more talented that Busch. You pick on him because he hates the media. I realize talking to the media is a needed “evil” in all sports and maybe Tony is abrupt at times but he is not dumb and he is one of the most talented drivers. I don’t think the media is to blame for all Nascars problems, that is way to simplistic but it sure can be a negative influence. And as far as the music goes, I am a rock and roll fan myself and Daughtry and Creed have great new albums out. One more thing, Bill drink Coke it is the original after all.
The actual description of NASCAR fans by a well-known member of the media (Lenox Rawlings) was “ignorant and gullible” – and more and more it appears he was speaking for the media center.
Hey Mr. NC,
To respond to some of your points…isn’t it interesting in citing your favorite races of the season, three of them, Darlington, Martinsville and Bristol have all been on the schedule since Moses was using Clearasil. Chicago? Didn’t much care for it. Then again the last thing I really liked about Chicago was that big fire the cow caused.
Fifteen years, huh? So let’s see, that puts the start of your tenure and residency in expertise back to around 1994. Sorry you missed 1992. Now that was a barnburner. I’m going to assign you some off season homework. Dig up some tape of NASCAR races in the mid to late 80s, the era of what I call the “Box-cars”. Funny thing is some of the greatest races of the era were at Michigan. With the draft and slingshot passing the racing was simply incredible. It was the same deal at Talladega prior to the plates. Naturally you’ll want to add some North Wilkesboro dates and by all means don’t miss Tim Richmond running down and passing Bill Elliott as darkness fell over a damp Darlington track nearing the end of the 86 Southern 500. Any fool who says Tim Richmond (or Dale Sr.) couldn’t compete in today’s NASCAR is simply trying to incite anger not add insight to the debate.
Watch a few episodes of Dale Jr.‘s back in the day. Then look at the official results. Hmmm. Only three cars on the lead lap. Terrible race, right? Horse hockey! Petty and Allison spent the last fifty laps bamming and framming into each other until tire smoke was pouring out the windows of both cars. It seemed neither one of them really cared if they won the race just so long as they took out the other guy. Same with DW and Cale. Rivalries, human emotion, frayed tempers, bent fenders, crowds roaring, this was all pretty heady stuff, not NASCAR-Lite as practiced by today’s drivers.
Call it the Wizzard of Oz syndrome.
Brian France needs some brains.
The cowardly drivers need some courage.
The sport needs some heart.
And the fans just want thier sport to come home. Just tap your ruby red Tony Llamas together, whistle through your teeth and spit and maybe someday it will.
Saturation is the most overlooked problem..when I was a kid we could not wait until the coverage of the race started on Sunday mornings…This gave us a chance to catch up on all of the items from the previous week…It was compressed and to the point with few to no weekly shows to constantly bombard you with information…Now you can not escape it… almost 24/7 non-stop coverage of NASCAR…I do not care what you are covering if you do it 24 hours a day 7 days a week at some point it will become tedious and somewhat boring…
For probably the first time in my life, I actually agree with Mark Martin. The racing today doesn’t suck any worse than it always did. People just talk about it more – not just the media, but all the fans who get on sites like this and b!tch all day long. For 24 years I have been explaining to people how I can sit and watch cars going around in circles for four hours – of course some of it is boring.
NFL games are not all nail-biters for 60 minutes either and people seem pretty happy with that sport. A lot of the action in an NFL game happens in the 4th quarter when the team with the lead goes into a “prevent defense” which doesn’t prevent anything – pretty much like a debris caution near the end of a NASCAR race. Then all heck breaks loose, Brett Favre throws a TD or an INT and everybody thinks it’s the most exciting game in history. Perception makes reality.
Y’all hate the vanilla drivers and the COT and the Chase, but when you get a driver with personality you say he is a jerk.
Look at the Nationwide Series and the truck series – they don’t have a Chase and their points are more lopsided than Sprint Cup. Both divisions could wrap up their championships this weekend.
So, lead, follow or get out of the way. Watch or don’t watch. But if you don’t watch, don’t get on sites like this to complain about what you didn’t see. That includes you, Matt. Dale Sr. and Tim Richmond are dead. JJ and Kyle are here – live with it.
my point for the three I mentioned was not that they couldn’t compete. I should have been a little more clear. Those guys were incredible drivers and the huge difference is they all drove for a period of time without the benefit of power steering. I don’t know a driver currently aside from Martin in his prime who could do so and have the results to back it up.
My point is they couldn’t put up with the namby pamby ways now. Matt, you think Stewart is boorish with the media? Earnhardt was the king of boorishness and you know it. Tell me how he’d handle a mike in his face immediately after a wreck? Richmond would have been quashed to the point that he’d be Mayfielded out of NASCAR. He sure as hell would not be driving for Hendrick. Davey would have the burden of expectation that Dale Jr. is going through right now and he was a hell of a lot more of a red ass than Junior would ever be, plus with Davey’s penchant for hard driving and hard wrecking, I would dare say he would have gotten killed on the track in the basilar skull fracture days.
The financial stakes are way too high for personalities to invade the sport. Look at Tony Stewart owner versus Stewart driver.
Matt, the racing back in the day did have its classics, but there were a hell of a lot of snoozers. Our memory makes things better than they actually were, such as the 79 Daytona 500. Race was a total bore til the last lap and post race activity.
let me first start by saying i have been reading your stuff for years. i respect your opinions and know i’m always guaranteed at least a laugh or two everytime i read the recap on monday morning. i have a line you wrote i guess about 4 or 5 years that has been stuck in my head ever since i read it. it was your piece on darlington. when you talked about how the drivers or yesteryear used to strode the garage area and you could hear the sound of steel clanking from between their legs. brilliant!
anyway…. my real problem is i don’t see the racing being as boring as you and all these guys that worship you make it out to be. i guess it’s relative though. you’re right on when you speak of my tenure. the earnhardt/gordon rivalry brought me into the sport and i have been hooked ever since. and i can honestly say i don’t see the racing today being very different than what we saw 15 years ago. now when you say it is horrible are you comparing it to what you saw in the 70s or 80s? since i have been watching the plate races have been the plate races? am i wrong? i don’t understand what was different about the races there this year, have we never seen them get strung out at dega during the middle stages of the race and then have all hell break loose with 10 to go? how about fuel mileage races? i see a lot of complaints about that. blaming nascar for smaller fuel cells. have these races not been around for at least the past 15 years? how about races that finish under the yellow due to rain. shit all we have to do is ask jeff burton about that.
so tell me matt, the races i mentioned did you find them to be boring. well i know you liked darlington. when i read the recap about how you described mark martin taking jimmie johnson to school i know you liked it. like i said i have been reading you for a while. i can tell that race sat well with you even though it was at night in april instead of in the heat of labor day. the races at martinsville and bristol were all great races. im still waiting for some your faithful followers to tell me the difference between bristol 06 and bristol 09. and i know you hate the cookie cutters, especially the newer ones like chicago but any race fan had to smile at that finish. sure mark stunk up the show and led most of it but it was still a dog fight there at the end. but there again matty… is that something new to nascar? where one car dominates a race? i think that has been going on for as long as you have been following. no?
i have watched some of those back in the day clips. let me ask you this. could what you consider boring racing be because of the teams and drivers and not because of brian france and nascar? i mean it’s pretty obvious you can pass. jimmie johnson, mark martin, and a few others have proven that to be true. the race you speak of with petty and allison slamming into each other with tire smoke everywhere you don’t think those two could and would do that in these cot cars?
the bottom line is im not a fan of the chase nor am i fan of the cot but it is what it is. i don’t ever want you to change. i enjoy your stuff and i am interested in your opinions. you have the one thing that all these guys that want to be you lack. credibility. let me ask one more question before i go. how do you feel about the fans that say the racing is boring and then criricize phantom yellows? if the drivers aren’t going to have at it like they used to and the customers are complaining i can see why nascar does some of the shit they do. then those very same people that complain that the racing is boring whine and cry when these phantom yellows come out. i say stfu about the championship and nascar and just enjoy the racing every weekend. they’re not going to all be nail biters. they never have and they never will. that’s just racing.
Yes, Dale Earnhardt is dead. The France family killed him. I live it. I’m not sure how they do.
It’s the same old unintended irony. If you don’t like Cup racing today don’t watch it and shut up. Right? Well if you don’t like what I do, why are you reading it? There’s certainly a lot of NASCAR corporate lapdogs in the media regurgitating the company line out there on the big old internet.
and you see Matt there’s another problem with your stuff. You’re doing the take my ball and go home approach. I’ll put it a different way. If you don’t like dissenting opinions, then don’t offer a “Talkback to the Frontstretch” option or don’t reply to the dissenters.
Also, I know your feeling for Dale over the years, but realistically, every driver knows there is a chance they will die during a race. It’s part of the game. No one held a gun to Earnhardt’s head and said get in the 3 car or else. He was a millionaire many times over. If he was aware of the ramifications and thought there was more to the rash of deaths that could not be passed off to inexperience or lack of talent(Adam Petty, Blaise Alexander, Tony Roper) or questionable off track behavior which was the rumor back then, (Irwin) then you know what? Earnhardt had enough stroke amongst the drivers and the media to outright say I’m not driving this coffin today. And I bet had he done this, others would have followed. But I guess he was all out of kerosene rags that day.
You know where the ‘Caps Lock’ key is, now try the ‘Shift’ key. It makes capital letters, too. But only as long as you hold it down. Your typing looks like you’re a 15 year old, not a 15 year fan.
The differnece between ’06 and ’09 Bristol is virtually nil. Racing at Bristol hasn’t been great since they concreted the place. But being a 15 year fan, you probably don’t remember when Bristol was macadam and the track sealer made the the tires smoke brown instead of gray.
The COT is just the newest problem with NASCAR racing. Since cars became more ‘aero’, racing has become more boring. Same thing happened with my beloved dirt modifieds years ago. Technology has made it this way.
Yes, Chicago was a ‘feel good’ race. But feel good races don’t put fans in the stands next week.
Old fans like Matt and myself remember when the racing was better, and wish it could be that way again.
In other words, we have been fans long enough to be critical of what our sport has become. And we don’t like the change.
Stick around another 25 years and then us how good the racing is.
Whoever made the comment “The France family killed him” is a certified jerk.
Richard, I think your friendly article writer made that comment. I am sure he’ll pass it off to a few too many beers or exhaust fumes from his T-Bird. Either way, when he comes back in a childish manner as he did, the credibility is slipping. Won’t say lost because if he did not have credibility no one would read his stuff and apparently he’s fine with that.
I’ve been reading Matt for years, and following him from site to site. I like what he writes because it’s from the heart. I’ve been a follower of NASCAR from the late ’70s, in full in the ’80s. I think the problem with todays NASCAR is to a large part the money involved. I think it went down hill when we started having multi-car teams. This allowed them to progress the technology at a faster rate. Yes back in the day as you say, all races wern’t classics, but even if a car was way ahead, you still sat on the edge of your seat holding your breath to see if he was going to make it to the end, or if it wasn’t your guy wishing something would break. Machanical failure was always just around the, and nothing was a fore gone conclusion. Today the engines are almost bullit proof. I got into NASCAR rather than other sports because of all the variables. There is the driver and his abilities, the crew and thiers, and the factor of the mechanicals of the car. Any one at any time could change, but you had 500 miles to overcome them. I remember the days at Taladega and Daytona when the speeds created such air pressure on the windshilds that they would crack and have to be replace on pitstops. It was nerve racking seeing the craks on the windows of your guys car growing knowing he would have to make an unscheduled stop for replacement, but exciting also knowing the the crew couldn’t screw up and had to get him back out there. Now I know that we now have lexan windshields for safty and that’s good, but it just removed one variable. Also back then you never knew when an engine would blow, 6000 RPMS was unheard of and garanteed to end your day. Today 9000+ all day long. Another variable removed. A guy is way out front, he’ll most likely stay there. Radial tires also removed another variable again for safety I guess, but the old bias ply tires allow a guy to push the car to its limit because he knew where those limits were. With a radial, it’ll hold, hold, hold, and then snap loose at any time, even though it held the lap before, so they don’t push them anywhere near the limit. Another variable removed. Also in days gone by most of the drives worked thier way up through the ranks, working on the cars as they went so they understood them. Today they jump in on Sunday, drive, then see the team next Sunday. this is why some of them can’t give a crew chief any useful info during the race, but it’s the crew chief that screwed up. Another variable removed. All the tracks are just about the same, another variable remove. And there are so many more variables that just aren’t there any more and I think that this is why NASCAR has lost it’s excitement for me. At just about any track, on just about any weekend, you can pretty well figure out the outcome before the race. Though I hate the plate tracks, and would much rather see smaller packs of cars battle the way that it use to be, with the bravest of the brave that would lay a spoiler down for the straitaway speed while having to back off in the corner, alowing the slingshot pass, these are the only ones I find exciting anymore because there is at least some of the variables left. Who to pit with?, When to pit?, Who to draft with? How long to sit back before making a move?, Should I even run at the front to miss the big one?, Should I run at the back to miss it.
The last race I can remender that I was off the couch yelling at the TV was the fall 2000 Taladega race the Dale Earnhardt Sr. won. Pitting from the front pack with 18 laps to you “You Idiot”, but those last laps as he came up through the field “Go, Go, GO!!!!” Yes I was a DE sr. fan but it wasn’t just him, I rooted for just about anyone, because I loved NASCAR. I think that today we need the rivalries back, and the variables back. But I must admit I think that they are gone.
As for the points system, I used to like it when it was decided with a couple races to go, because I knew that those last 2 of 3 races vary well could be the best of the year, since it was now just all about racing…not points. Now we have 26 races “all I’ve got to do it be in the top 12” and 10 “All I’ve really got to do is finish in the top 3-5 and I should be OK.
Hey Matt, (I am on the road, so my responses may not be timely, a little vacation in the FL. Keys., WOW! they have some offshore races here, got to tour some of the boats, simply awesome), but, I digress, as per normal, you mentioned how GOOD the racing used to be at MIS!
Up until now, I thought I was the only one that “supported” tracks like MIS! Because indeed, at one time, the racing was “STAND ON YOUR FEET AWESOME”!
Now everyone wants to crucify the “cookie cutters”!
Two things about the “cookie cutters”:
1. they at one time provided the best of racing!
2. they built multiples of them because of this fact!
Now we have this sick POS that wouldn’t put on a good show at ANY track!
are you sure your definition of cookie cutter is the same as what I take it to be?
I think cookie cutter, I think Texas, Chicago, Vegas, Kansas, and the like. Contrary to popular belief, Michigan is no California. Michigan did at one time provide great racing, as did Pocono. Hell, the Glen and Sears Point and especially Riverside “back in the day” were solid tracks.
Some of you claim you hate NASCAR. Yet, here you are talking about it?
And you Matt, did Tony reject you again? He told you he doesn’t swing that way. I thought he made that clear! LOL