The Frontstretch: MPM2Nite: You Might Be Getting Old If.... by Matt McLaughlin -- Thursday October 14, 2010

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MPM2Nite: You Might Be Getting Old If....

Matt McLaughlin · Thursday October 14, 2010


It’s been a fine autumn afternoon here in Lancaster County, Pa. There was barely a cloud in the sky, which was a hue of blue you only get this time of year. Yeah, it was a little brisk out there with a high of 62 degrees, but it is October, after all. It was a fine day for a 200-mile ride aboard a snorting, demonically black Harley Davidson, even if for the first time this season I did pull on a pair of gloves at a traffic light. I hate wearing gloves when riding, doing so only when my digits have gone well and truly numb to the point they limit my ability to operate the Sportster safely. It’s a Harley thing; unless you own one, you wouldn’t understand.

The old STP hauler for Richard Petty, a reminder of days gone by as Matt McLaughlin sits back and takes stock of what it means to be part of the older generation of NASCAR experts.

Tim Allen once made a less than delicate comparison saying sexual satisfaction in a certain manner while wearing a condom was like eating a steak dinner with a balloon on your tongue. It’s the same thing riding; I want to feel every nuance that the bike is telling me about the road through the front tire. But riding wearing gloves beats having the bike sit in the garage with a cover over it for winter.

The birds are heading south in huge, noisy V formations. The leaves out here are changing color, and if it’s not peak leaf peeping time, it’s getting close. How anyone can look over their right shoulder heading south on 23 between 10 and 100 and not believe in a creative God with an artist’s mastery is beyond me.

Three tons of wood pellets have been delivered recently to keep this old barn warm through the winter, and tonight, I might have to break into the first sack. It’s autumn here in Lancaster County, and 51 years into my lifetime as well. You can’t help but feeling a little older with the seasons changing and another long, gray winter ahead.

There’s a pub I stop in at the midpoint of my rides to have a Corona and a beef sandwich. The guy who owns the place tends bars in the afternoons before letting the pretty ladies take over to hustle tips when business picks up in the evening. His name is Gary, and though most people guess he’s in his 70s, I’ve determined he is, in fact, immortal; old since the days I still wore an earring. Above the cash register there hangs an autographed picture of Harry Gant in the old Skoal Bandit Buick Regal Cup car. Sitting there today, nursing my libation, I wondered how many fans who read my twice-a-week columns still know who Harry Gant is and why he earned the nickname “Mr. September.” (For the record, Handsome Harry won four straight races in September of 1991; Darlington, Richmond, Dover, and Martinsville, when he was older than I am now.)

So what else might newer fans have missed that us old guys recall so fondly?

You might be getting old if…

- You ever used a Kodak Instamatic (with disposable flash-cube) to get a picture of Richard Petty’s number 43 Plymouth sitting exposed to the world on the back of a ramp truck at a local truck stop. (Yeah, even the King used to haul his car right out there in the open. What happened when it rained? The car got wet.)

- You ever waited in line for an autograph from Davey Allison or Tim Richmond, confident that if you waited your turn they were going to sit right there and greet every fan until there was nobody left still wishing a moment of their time.

- You remember why the track at Trenton, that part of the “Northern Tour,” was kidney-shaped. (One old lady owned a house and property along the back straight and refused to sell. So the track put a kink in the backstretch to avoid her property. As such drivers came off of Turn 2, took another left, then a right to enter turn three.)

You might be getting old if you remember when this legend synonymous with Chevy drove a Ford.

- You were part of the crowd in the early ’80s that felt that with Dale Earnhardt driving Bud Moore’s Fords (yeah, Dale raced Fords!) whatever success he had was probably a fluke and he was never going to amount to be the driver his dad, Ralph Earnhardt, had been. (For the record, Dale Earnhardt and Dale Earnhardt, Jr.’s middle name is actually “Dale.” They were born Ralph Dale Earnhardt, Jr. and Ralph Dale Earnhardt III.)

- You ever had to borrow a church key from the guy sitting beside you in the stands to open your beer. (Back in those days, beers didn’t have pop tops. You used a crude aluminum device called a church key to punch a triangular-shaped hole in your beer, then used it again to open a vent hole opposite the drinking hole. But if you drank too fast, the crude arrangement still sucked your upper lip into the drinking hole and left you with a V-shaped cut on that lip to show the world you were hard after it that afternoon).

- You can still whistle ESPN’s NASCAR theme music introduction back from the days before they sucked.

- You’re still looking for the No. 11 car out there on the track vying for wins at the end of the race. No, not the Fed Ex one.

- You saw “Last American Hero” at the drive-in in the back seat of big block Mustang and knew it was about Junior Johnson. Hell, you might be old if you remember when Junior Johnson’s teams were perennial championship favorites, or if you ever bought a Jim Croce LP at Woolworth’s. (Woolworth’s was sort of like Wal-Mart back when we still hated the Red Chinese.)

- You used to watch races in 20-minute snippets on Wide World of Sports and got pissed off when they used to cut away from the race just as it was getting interesting to show gymnastics or log-splitting competitions.

- You used to worry if Chevy was ever going to win another Cup race, as dominant as the Oldsmobiles and Buicks were.

- You gave a sh*t when Tim Flock died.

- You ever went home from a Grand National race with a mudline along your gums.

- You got into a fistfight in 1985 to settle an argument whether Bill Elliott or Darrell Waltrip deserved to be that year’s Winston Cup champion.

- You traded an almost empty pack of your favorite smokes for two packs of Winstons, courtesy of the busty and beautiful Winston chicks who used to work every entrance to the track. And if you pretended you didn’t want to give up your favorite brand, they weren’t above handing out hugs and kisses to get you to change your mind.

- You’re not so engrossed in the mileage your Hyundai gets to forget the Plymouth Superbird Hemi was once the baddest car ever to roam the streets here in the Free World.

- You remember back when Cup car tires still had treads and Firestone was still a major player in the NASCAR game.

- You remember the team initials LPE. (Lee Petty Engineering)

- You ever bought a meal and a brew from a concessionaire’s truck and not a booth on the concourse, paying less than five bucks for a burger, a brew, and French Fries.

- You recall the days when STP, Purolator, and Holly Farms were the big sponsors in the sport, not a bunch of home improvement megastores and prescription required medicines.

You know you’re old when you remember when being “Too Tough To Tame” at Darlington meant your car could flip out of the speedway. True story: it happened to Cale Yarborough once in the mid-1960s.

- You were at a race at Darlington when they still started and concluded the Rebel 400 with the waving of a Confederate flag.

- You ever watched a Kawasaki ad during a Cup broadcast. (Let the good times roll!… you right into a pine box.)

- You ever watched Rick Hendrick, his very own self, at the wheel of Cup car, not on a pit box during a race. (Or remember the infamously slow pit stop he helped perform once Jeff Gordon had clinched a championship).

- You still get heartburn remembering the way Big Daddy’s BBQ sauce put Bud Moore out of business after decades in the sport. Or how Speedblock, for all intents and purposes, ended Darrell Waltrip’s driving career.

- You ever arrived at Darlington and either parked in somebody’s yard, getting a ride to the track on a flatbed trailer behind a farm tractor, or slept under the stars in the town square.

- You got lost on the way to a Cup track and used an ESSO road map to find your way to the location, not a GPS.

- You’ve ever had a North Carolina state trooper ask, “You ain’t from around here, are you boy?” while writing you up a speeding ticket.

- The singing grilles BBQ sauce ad was your first indicator you needed to find something more productive to do with your Sunday afternoons.

- You ever won Benny’s (Parsons) Hat of the Week, or visited an establishment during a race weekend because it was featured on “Buffet Benny’s.” For real old-timers, remember the qualifying show where Benny got a stern phone call from his wife for “hiring” a buxom blonde to be his bodyguard in the garage area? But those were the days… inviting Bob, Ned, and Benny into your living room every Sunday afternoon to discuss the race with you. Even if you watched alone, it was like you had your three best friends on the couch with you talking about the race and explaining the nuances you didn’t quite grasp yet.

- You can still remember where you were and who you were with when Richard Petty and David Pearson wrecked coming to the checkered flag at the end of the 1976 Daytona 500.

- You still refer to Darrell Waltrip as Jaws. It seems incredibly appropriate nowadays, given his tsunami of words in the broadcast booth. Please, just one weekend let Cale Yarborough take his place during the broadcast to add a few quotes that educate rather than irritate the viewers.

- You remember the “Earnhardt Curse” at Daytona. Bonus points if you can remember the Waltrip, Bobby Allison, or Buddy Baker curse at the same track.

- You recall seeing one of the “box-cars” at Michigan draft past the leader on the last lap.

- You ever watched a race with Jackie Stewart as a commentator; his infamous rolling the orange up the banking at Daytona, or his incorrect “he’s out of petrol, he’s out of petrol!” call.

- You know who Bill Broderick was and his significance as the original “Hatman” in Victory Lane.

- You used to watch the entire team piling on the hood, fenders, and roof of the winning car for the ride to Victory Lane. (Back before drivers were too afraid of having anyone touch their aerodynamically tweaked play pretties to get them through post-race inspection).

Contact Matt McLaughlin

Thursday on the Frontstretch:
Hall of Fame Voting Day: Did They Make The Right Calls?
Fanning The Flames: Answering A Hall of Fame-Worthy Batch Of Emails
Dialing It In: Is Smoke Still A Threat?
Fantasy Insider: Charlotte’s Jimmie’s House, But Don’t Forget About Men Like Menard

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Today on the Frontstretch:
NASCAR Easter Eggs: A Few Off-Week Nuggets to Chew On
Five Points To Ponder: NASCAR’s Take-A-Breath Moment
Truckin’ Thursdays: Top Five All-Time Truck Series Drivers
Going By the Numbers: A Week Without Racing Can Bring Relief But Kill Momentum


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10/14/2010 01:34 AM

I always look forward to your columns—you are an awesome storyteller.

phil h
10/14/2010 02:05 AM

you remember sitting under the roof shed at Martinsville and the deafening sound when the cars roared by.

seeing Miss Hurst every year at Daytona Speedweeks.

country singer Marty Robbins entertaining us behind the wheel of a racecar.

the pennyloafers that Dave Marcis wore.

Bad Wolf
10/14/2010 05:07 AM

It was “Buffet Benny”, but you’ve got the just of it. Check out You Tube, they have all the clips from the short lived Buffet Benny days.

I remember Jacki Stewert once talking about the team “Lifting the Bonnet” as they opened the hood, but what do you expect from a Scotsman. I also remember where I was when the Petty/Pearson incident happened, and recall being bummed out for a week because I was a Petty fan.

How about this; Dick Trickle having a smoke in the car during a caution, and being shown on air enjoying it.

I tell you what, after watching what passes as race broadcasting these days I have to reach for the Goodies Headache Powder, that’s for sure.

10/14/2010 06:35 AM

If you remember Jimmies 1st championship of this historic run.

If you leapt off your couch during the last 3 laps of the Homestead race the first year of the chase… Man that was a close finish in the points!

You saw the first COT race, and laughed at Kyle Buschs comments afterwards.

You remember how pissed Dale Jarret was for not makeing the first chase (like he ever had a shot afterwards)

3, In 4, at the 5

Bobby Labontes last win

Dale Junior s*:( points deduction after Dega

NASCARS long overdue westward expansion

The first female driver rising to join the ranks of Petty, Dale and Rusty – so popular you can recognize them with one word.

Kyle Petty FINALLY hanging it up

Sitting at home thinking “who the F#*+ is David Starr????”

Oh wait, these are all events that happenend in the past decade (aka RELEVANT). Sorry, I’ll try to stick to this articles theme:

You may be getting old if… You remember a Matt McLaughlin article that DIDN’T SUCK

Sharon J
10/14/2010 07:35 AM

Plymouth Superbird Hemi – yes, I remember and I still have one of those birds.

10/14/2010 08:25 AM

The first female driver rising to join the ranks of Petty, Dale and Rusty – so popular you can recognize them with one word.

Janet Guthrie? Patty Moise?

10/14/2010 08:30 AM

- If you remember the days when NASCAR didn’t cater to gullible and disrespectful people like Randy, who can’t stop clicking on columns he or she believes really suck.

10/14/2010 08:33 AM

I don’t often respond to other posters, But I for one, have had enough!! RandyG, I am sick of your arrogant, THINK you know it attitude. If your parents had given you any brains then you might be writing a line here. Fact is you are uneducated, and have no call to be jumping on the writer!! So, here goes, I am a very old retired LEO in KY and will be glad to turn you over my knee and beat you like a redheaded stepchild! So if you are any where close let me know!! Good day Sir!!

10/14/2010 08:34 AM

dave marcus wore wing tips, not penny loafers.

i remember bringing in bushels of blue crabs to the infield at dover and steaming them up and having dave marcus and his team chow down with us. i remember sending marcus some money every year to help with expenses at daytona and receiving phone calls and hand written letters from dave and his wife thanking me for the support of the team. i’m sure my pitance of money bought a lot of lunch meat and bread for the team in those tight money days at the end of his career.

10/14/2010 08:36 AM

Matt, Great story!! I was in the grandstands at Daytona in “76 for that one!! Attended my first race as a teenager in ’58, last year on the sand at Daytona!! Those certainly were the days of real race drivers and cars!!……Keep these stories coming!!

10/14/2010 09:04 AM

The “Hat Man” is Bill Broderick. He just kind of disappeared.

I’m glad you mentioned the Earnhardts. It’s been bugging me for a long time because the NASCAR yearbooks I have from 89-92 list Earnhardt as Ralph Dale Earnhardt. That would mean Dale is Ralph Jr. and Junior is III.

Josh Richards won the Topless Showdown and Tim McCreadie was second. Steve Kinser won the Outlaw race at Rolling Wheels again. A Canadian finally won the Syracuse 200, Stewart Friesen. Real racing.

Ken Smith
10/14/2010 09:05 AM

That photo of the Richard Petty hauler brought back a memory of driving down I-75 in Ohio one Sunday evening when they were apparently returning from a race at MIS. The rear doors of the truck were open, and several crew memebers were sitting there relaxing in lawn chairs – traveling down the interstate at 70 miles an hour! My two young sons really enjoyed that sight at that time!

Bill B
10/14/2010 09:12 AM

Thanks Gordon82Wins. I try to interact with Randy on a somewhat professional level even though his main purpose seems to be to piss everyone off but sometimes he crosses the line from ignorant to total jackass.

10/14/2010 09:27 AM

or you counted watching a whole race on tv as time well spent (or maybe as Matt said, a whole episode of wide world of sports)

10/14/2010 09:47 AM

Matt, you are the writer at FrontStretch that confuses me the most, bar none.
You write so damn well, and you have the same ability that I commended John Potts for last week. You can actually paint a picture with the words you write. As I was reading your opening, I could actually see the lone Hog rolling down some two lane ribbon of road on one of its final sojourns before winter. I agree with probably 80-90% of your opinions. Yet, I am left wondering why you continue to cover a sport that obviously tortures you so much. And from the opening of this column, I will wonder why even more. You obviously write well enough to get hired writing in a different field, sparing yourself some pain.

Anyway, about the list, I don’t remember everything on it, so I’m not too old. But I do remember more than 75% of them so I guess I’m a little bit on the old side. A great list of nostalgia for those of us that care about the history of NASCAR, as opposed to those that fell in love with na$car.

Randy, do you remember yesterday when I pointed out that your denial of reality only made every comment that you write sound increasingly STUPID? Well, you never fail to disappoint, do you?

Phil Allaway
10/14/2010 10:28 AM

I don’t remember Big Daddy’s BBQ with Bud Moore. However, I do remember them briefly with Junie Donlavey in 1999. Here’s another memory from the past. They announced the deal on rpm2night with John Kernan. They were going to have Mike Harmon drive the car. Well, they didn’t even it make to Daytona before it was discovered that Big Daddy wasn’t paying, so out went Big Daddy and Harmon (Mike Wallace drove in the Daytona 500 for the team).

10/14/2010 10:29 AM

Great article Matt as usual! I remember Buffet Benny, I once asked him to sign an autograph Buffet Benny and he refused. He told me he really hated that gimmick but, it was one of the fans favorites. He told me he finally had enough and told the network he just would not do it. What a great memory! Thanks again Matt

10/14/2010 10:53 AM

Randy – I know; but, in order for a driver to be taken seriously by one name, it ought to be for a reason other than the name’s “unique-ness”.

Maybe once she’s accomplished something of note on a stock car track, she’ll have the same relevance in NASCAR as Shirley, Angelle, or even Ashley have in the NHRA

10/14/2010 11:09 AM

So did Dansmom die and come back as Randy? Or was Dansmom Randy in drag and he’s now come out of the closet? Either way, please go away.

Michael in SoCal
10/14/2010 11:13 AM

Great read here, a lot of fun.

I think the Trenton Speedway should be the next track emulated, but smaller – imagine Bristol with a big-old turns three and four, stretching it to a 3/4 miler! That’d be great!

10/14/2010 11:19 AM

“Thanks Gordon82Wins. I try to interact with Randy on a somewhat professional level…”

Why? Because we all work together? Oh wait, no we dont. We just surf the web and comment WHILE AT WORK. I think that’s the problem with 90% of the people on this website. You take yourselves WAYYYY to freakin seriously! It’s a freakin sports blog. Aren’t sports supposed to be fun? Jeez… remove whatever is stuck up your butt and try to have a good time. I assure you Randy is.

10/14/2010 11:33 AM

I started watching in 1990, so my first memory was the intense anger I had at age 10 when my dad explained that Mark Martin won the championship, but lost points for a carburetor spacer that didn’t actually do anything. Been a lifetime Martin fan since.

I’m only 29, but I guess you might be getting old if…

You remember thinking Rusty Wallace was dead when the Black Deuce flipped end over end twenty times at Talladega…

You remember Alan Kulwicki overcoming huge odds to win the championship, only to tragically lose his life shortly after…

You remember Ned Jarrett barely containing himself as he called his son’s Daytona 500 win…

You got downright violent in your support of Mark Martin during his championship battle with Jeff Gordon in 1998…

Realizing you just might hate Dale Earnhardt as he spins Terry Labonte out at Bristol for the win…

You remember having to hunt around TV here in Canada between ABC, TSN and TNN to find a NASCAR race…

You fondly remember Eli Gold and Buddy Baker’s coverage on TNN

You remember Bobby Labonte being pretty much unbeatable at Atlanta…

You remember following Ricky Rudd’s unbelievable streak of at least one win in 16 seasons, and seeing it come to an end in victory lane at Martinsville, covered in blisters and sucking oxygen…

You remember when Dale finally won Daytona, and shed a tear—even if you didn’t particularly like him…

You remember when Dale died, and shed a tear—even if you didn’t particularly like him…

You screamed bloody murder at the TV when Sterling Marlin got out of his Coors Light Dodge to fix the fender at Daytona…

You remember when underdogs driving their own cars or driving for underdog teams could win races, like Bobby Hamilton, Ricky Rudd, Kyle Petty…

You remember when the Busch Series was actually worth watching, and featured badass drivers like Randy LaJoie, Mike “Magic Shoes” McLaughlin, Joe Nemechek and two guys named Matt Kenseth and Dale Jr driving their asses off to prove themselves…

You remember Terry Labonte going out on top, winning the final Southern 500, a race that truly mattered…

You remember Matt Kenseth stomping a consistency-covered mudhole in the competition, winning just one race and the ’03 title, and thinking, good for him, sometimes that’s how these things go…

You remember Kurt Busch winning the title by the skin of his teeth in

You remember watching Kurt Busch win the first playoff by the skin of his teeth in the first mess of a playoff season, excited, thinking this whole “Chase” thing might work out…

You remember the year after, and the next five years after that, that no, the Chase does not work at all…

You remember Mark Martin’s first two retirements…

You were lucky enough to start watching NASCAR right near its beginning of mainstream popularity(1990), following it to its absolute peak (2002-2003) and all the way to its crappiest (now)…

10/14/2010 11:37 AM

Poetry man.

I remember all kinds of things like that and some others (both, today, from AMS for some reason) including: Petty’s car dead and in the grass between turns 3 & 4 I think. Bunch of us gathered round to gawk at it after the race. Nobody was guarding it, and I stole a piece of tape off the front. Still have it. And being way under age and going through the tunnel on foot with a pint bottle of Seagrams stuck down the front of my pants headed toward the infield. Guy in a little guard booth noticed, made a couple of comments about my package, but let me go on through.

Today, they would slap me in jail or in treatment for either.

10/14/2010 11:58 AM

Randy, I don’t know why you would agree with 90% of my posts, unless you hate yourself.
I usually don’t have anything nice to say about you or to you.
I do, however, realize that you are young. I doubt that you are even 20 yet. I secretly hope that you will mature and realize that the sport you claim to enjoy now, was built by some wonderful personalities that risked life and limb for a very small paycheck and the fan’s amusement. Today’s over-hyped and under-whelming action have lost something.
Understanding and respecting history should be at least slightly important.

Volcano, while you and other’s might enjoy spamming your way across every article that you can find, others find it annoying. As another young fan, you have grown up hiding behind the anonymity that your computer provides, while shouting derogatory comments.
Those of us that get annoyed dislike the fact simply because we know that in person you are likely very quiet from all of the ass whoopings people like us have given to you.

Laidback Racing
10/14/2010 12:06 PM

Matt, again you make me laugh…I had to answer yes to quite a few…

how about these: – Wearing a poncho when you had “chicken bone alley seats” and it wasn’t raining

- geting into the backstretch at Charlotte for 10.00 general admission and sitting on the hill

- the infield BEFORE public facilities

- strapping your beach chair to the infield fence with tie straps so you can sit as high as possible (ok not me but my hubby)

- the only food at hospitalities was BBQ, baked beans and cole slaw

BTW where are you in Lancaster…my son lives in Wernersville

10/14/2010 12:14 PM

Young people think they know it all. Their grandparents know that they don’t.

10/14/2010 12:31 PM

Jacob, that couldnt have made less sense. Maybe you should stick to handing out “a$$ whoopings” to random strangers and leave the blogging to the rest of us.

10/14/2010 12:33 PM

Jacob, Thank you for those well chosen words!!

Flying Ryan Farrell
10/14/2010 01:06 PM

Any of you semi-old timers remember the Bill Dance show preceding every TNN race?

I used to hate Bill Dance because I couldn’t wait for NASCAR as a kid.

Kevin in SoCal
10/14/2010 01:30 PM

I cant wait for Randy to get a few years older and get nostalgic for the “great racing” of the 2000’s, while his kids are telling him he’s old and NASCAR is so much better now with electric engines in their Hyundai’s, Kia’s, and Suzuki’s.

I searched youtube for Jackie Stewart, Orange, and Daytona, and couldnt find a thing. Can someone tell me more about that story, please?

Bill B
10/14/2010 01:32 PM

Re “Why? Because we all work together? Oh wait, no we dont. We just surf the web and comment WHILE AT WORK. “

The reason why is because there is very little to be gained from getting into a pissing contest with an anonymous poster on a blog. I’d rather try to find some common ground with someone but when that person’s main goal is to antagonize everyone else it becomes increasingly difficult. You are entitled to your opinion but if you go to an NRA site and start preaching about gun control you’re going to get a lot of negative replies and not going to change anyone’s opinion, so what’s the point. Oh yeah, right, your only purpose is to come on here to bust chops. Like I said, it’s a free country and it’s your right but I wonder why you get so much enjoyment out of it.

10/14/2010 01:37 PM

Now you see Randy, ToxicTaco or whatever alias you’re using today, you’re just showing your ass. Were the cars as fast in the 70s and 80s. No they were not. And that’s an important point. Top speed is fine at Bonneville or the Silver State Rally. On ovals as speeds go up, the quality of the racing tends to diminish.

Not enough cars on the lead lap? Firstly, there were less cars overall. Secondly the cars weren’t as reliable as they are today. Even a fellow like Petty, Pearson or Yarborough might fall out of a race (after having been running with the eventual winner lap after lap swapping the lead in the middle stages. Back then the men were men and the cars still approximated stock cars. They raced all afternoon long not only during the final twenty laps. Go watch some old episodes of Back in the Day. Look at the results of the 73 Daytona 500. Richard Petty won by over two laps. Crappy race right? Wrong. Petty and Buddy Baker had staged a nose to tail battle that had the crowd on thier feet howling most of the afternoon until Buddy popped a mill in the waning laps. Yeah, OK, the Silver Fox used to hang back a bit until the fat lady started warming up, but you knew week after week that was his MO and as the laps counted down you started keeping an eye on the 21 car because he was coming, both guns blazing. You obviously never saw Petty and Allison slamming fenders, smoking tires, and stuffing one another into the wall at the height of the fued. That, son, was racing. And if it was taking place at speeds under 80 MPH, who gives a crap? I used to hit higher top speeds driving my Boss 302 to Martinsville than the pole sitter qualified at.

Oh, and for the record Know It All, the highest rated NASCAR race broadcast ever was the 1979 Daytona 500 with almost half of the TVs in the country tuned to the race. Of course the entire east coast had been socked in by a blizzard and most people only got three or four channels total on thier TVs. ESPN would blow lepers to get a rating half that high.

Sharon, you have a Hemi Superbird? I’d love to see pictures. I almost bought a 440-6 Superbird back in 1979 but decided the guys 3000 dollar asking price was insane. So I bought his 440-6 Road Runner for 1500 instead. Great car though it eventually cost me more in tickets than I paid for it. That’s cool. The RR earned its keep down on Front Street at 50 a gear.

10/14/2010 01:43 PM

Oh, and I’d like to add a few more recollections from BID.

Remember when teams could swap engines if they failed during a race and Junior Johnson’s crew could complete an engine swap in under twenty minutes?

Remember all those “I don’t care who wins as long as it isn’t the black 3 car?”

Did you ever wait in line as they started selling back grandstand seats at Martinsville Sunday morning at ten bucks a pop?

Do you still think maybe Richard Petty only has 199 wins because that engine at Charlotte was WAY oversized.

The Mad Man
10/14/2010 01:48 PM

Maybe when Randy gets out of diapers and into training pants he’ll wise up some.

I hate to say it but I remember most of what you wrote Matt. Drivers with one name that folks could remember? Fireball. Female drivers with one name that folks could remember? Probably Shawna as she’s the most recent one who was actually able to race around the track and not just drive like the current Panica does.

Or how about fans rooting for a make of car instead of the “flavor of the week” driver occupying the seat?

10/14/2010 01:52 PM

Dang, I AM getting old because I remember most of these.

You might be getting old if you remember cars pitting at the Nashville Fairgrounds Speedway on the inner quarter-mile. As the cars left the pit area, they passed the S/F line a 2nd time creating a scoring nightmare.

10/14/2010 02:21 PM

“You are entitled to your opinion but if you go to an NRA site and start preaching about gun control you’re going to get a lot of negative replies and not going to change anyone’s opinion”

Exactly my point!!! Why do you come to a Nascar forum and berate the sport for how awful it is. In my opinion, this site is for people that enjoy Nascar, not for people that wish to spend their days shoving their “back when racing was racing and men were men” BS down other people’s throats.

I equate this website to the guys in the VFW lodge, sitting around telling old war stories and complaining about kids these days while sipping a mint julep. Oh wait, their stories are probably far more interesting.

Laidback Racing
10/14/2010 02:29 PM

Hey Matt…I forgot…I still camp in some one’s yard at darlington…and his dad camped people at the same house at the first southern 500…

also some more to add: – ALL tracks had free camping

- I was one of only a few women at the track and every guy would ask my husband why he brought me

I thought of more while I was supposed to be working but then went back to work and forgot them…yes another sign we are getting ols

10/14/2010 02:36 PM

Hey VN,

If it wasn’t for some of those old guys at the VFW drinking mint juleps you’d probably be reading this in German right now. Show some respect.

Bad Wolf
10/14/2010 02:48 PM

“You screamed bloody murder at the TV when Sterling Marlin got out of his Coors Light Dodge to fix the fender at Daytona…” I placed money on Sterling for that race while I was on vacation in Vegas, so I remember that very well.

“I equate this website to the guys in the VFW lodge, sitting around telling old war stories and complaining about kids these days while sipping a mint julep. Oh wait, their stories are probably far more interesting.”

Just like the men in the VFW we who read and follow Matt have been in the trenches of Nascar for decades, and you are like the spoiled son of one of the members who wanders in wearing short pants sucking on a lolypop with a stench eminating from your soiled diaper, wondering why the conversation is not all about you.

MJR in Springfield Va
10/14/2010 02:50 PM

….and do you remember The Rock – Spring and Fall…when racing and NA$CAR was something to die for….

10/14/2010 03:15 PM

“You got downright violent in your support of Mark Martin during his championship battle with Jeff Gordon in 1998…”

Remember like it was yesterday, having to celebrate Gordon finishing 5th because that meant it was an “off day”

10/14/2010 03:29 PM

Matt, what part of my statement was disrespectful? Way to automatically assume I meant something malicious. Good defense though.

10/14/2010 03:31 PM

Those were good days.It’s good to hold them in our memory.

10/14/2010 03:44 PM

Anyone remember Cotton Owens getting Pontiac it’s first win at Daytona in 1957? Or maybe Buddy Baker destroying the nose of Cotton’s Daytona under caution because he was trying to read the “board” and rear ended another car (on the apron no less!!)

10/14/2010 03:52 PM

How about dad taking you to the local arena (Hara Arena) in Dayton to watch the Daytona 500 on closed circuit t.v.?

Bill B
10/14/2010 09:15 PM

But don’t you see,,, your view represents the minority at Matt’s blog. You are the one preaching gun control at the NRA! Many of this VFW club has felt betrayed by the changes NASCAR has made and Matt has become our voice and gathering place. So go ahead, represent the other side but don’t act like we’re all off our rockers because we’re not willing to swallow the crap NASCAR is serving us. Most of us will keep beating the drums until NASCAR listens or we give up and leave (which seems to have happened with more frequency judging by the numbers).

10/14/2010 09:49 PM

Should have bought the Super Beeper Matt! :^) – As my handle states I have one of those and a few Daytona’s….Cars from the height of the factory craziness….Definitely one of the best eras of Nascar. Weren’t the cars faster years ago….What about Awesome Bill’s pole speed? Oh yeah – That was before the restrictor plate of death.

10/14/2010 11:42 PM

Yeah, if only I’d known. I’d still have the RR and the SB, as well as the Shelby, Mach One 428, both GS 455 Stage Ones, both Boss 302s all those other cars that were for sale cheap back in the day that were just “used cars” that went for a couple grand back in the day particularly when the Arabs had us lining up to buy gas. (On odd and even numbered days according to your plate.) At one point in college, the fleet included a 70 Boss 302, a Ranchero 428 Cobra Jet, a 66 Tripower 442, a 70 Stage 1 GS, an F250 with 38 inch tiress, a Volvo P1800, and a Pinto Cruising Wagon (What the Hell was I thinking. Worst 300 bucks I ever spent) and the bikes. And they all sat out in the parking lot of the apartment where I lived. I drove em in the snow, I drove them in the rain and occasionally took them through the drive-thru car wash.

Because you own both you know that while the Daytona and Superbird look a lot alike they share very few parts in common. Isn’t it remarkable that Plymouth went through all that expense, engineering and federal certification process for one reason only… lure Richard Petty back from Ford for the 70 season. I don’t think the ToxicTaco crowd will ever be able to understand the shockwave that Richard’s leaving Plymouth to drive a Ford in 69 sent through the deep south.

It’s sort of like those COPO Camaros Chevy built in 69 just because they were still steamed the Cobra Jet Mustangs kicked thier ass on NHRA drag strips starting in April of 68.

Carl D.
10/15/2010 11:06 AM

You might be getting old if…

You can actually remember Richard Petty racing at the old Columbia Speedway, right down the road from the Piggy Park Barbeque joint.

Throwing anything that will burn into a 55 gallon drum and seeting it on fire to keep your hands from freezing at night in the infield at Rockingham Speedway.

Jimmy Horton flipping his car over the wall at Talledega and walking away.

Kyle Petty’s domination of Rockingham in the Felix Sabates Mello-Yello car.

The first column I ever reead by Matt McLaughlin… a Speedworld Viewpoint Editorial from August 05, 1997 calle “Racing Seven Days a Week… Coming Soon!”. I still have it, along with a personal response from Matt to my comments.

10/15/2010 05:53 PM

Someone mentioned it earlier, but one of my favorite memories is Dale Jarrett winning Daytona with Ned calling the race. He could barely contain himself and the other announcers just let him talk. They kept flashing to his mom, who was in the family van in the infield too nervous to watch the race.

10/15/2010 08:31 PM

If you remember Rusty Wallace paying a fine to NASCAR by delivering $5,000 worth of pennies in an armored truck…

If you know who JD Stacy was…

If you ever saw Cale Yarborough win a race and take his driving suit off in victory lane…

And, I’d like to see them replace DW with David Pearson. Not only would he give you a whole new batch of quotables, but a whole lot of stuff that couldn’t be quoted. There’s one guy that don’t take sh*t off nobody, NASCAR included.

10/16/2010 12:27 PM

Sounds like a great collection of cars Matt. But a Sportster? Or were you riding your wife’s? :)

old gal from socal
10/17/2010 06:08 PM

Dale laid back in the Osterlund 2 coming thru turn six at Riverside; bias ply tires smoking off every turn; no pit road speed limit-dangerous but freakin awesome; dirty-faced drivers kissing trophy queens…thanks MATT for stimulating reflection in your older fans.

10/17/2010 11:45 PM

Randy, you are a jerk. History is relevant. The ADD fans are what BZF was trying to attract and look how well that has worked out. I’m guessing you’re a FINE example of that type.

Cale Y is the only 3X back to back champion in NASCAR. Johnson’s 4 10 race trophies don’t compare. let’s see if he can do it over a full season and back to back — maybe I’ll be convinced that he’s hot stuff then. Until then, he’s just a pretender.

Cool article, Matt. I don’t remember all of those things, but I have some fond memories of my own since 1992.

10/17/2010 11:59 PM

Darn, Matt. I had just started driving when the first oil embargo hit. I had a 70 chevelle with a 307 V8 and a high ratio rear. I sput that car on a dry road because I was being a jerk trying to pass this guy on a curve and lost it. LOL I saw Jeff gordon in Atlanta at his first race and Richard Petty’s last. I’ve taken a lot of heat for my choice of driver, but I have no regrets. I wish that some of his class would rub off on the likes of Kyle Busch. Actually that’s not true, personally I wish someone would wall Kyle until he finally got the message that being a jerk might not be as good an idea as he thought. Sort of like Reut did.

That’s old style racing.

10/18/2010 01:11 PM

In regards to the “you all sound like old veterans whining” comments…

As I said, I’m 29. I’m not an old veteran at all. I personally feel that the best actual RACING in NASCAR happened from about the mid 80s through to around 2001. Better than the old days, AND better by far than the new days. I’m not an old curmugeon and I know for a FACT the racing in the last 5-6 years has just plain sucked.