NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Voices from the Heartland: DEI Fans Up in Arms Over Intended Humor

As many longtime readers know, and even short-time readers can (hopefully) easily figure out, I am responsible for Frontstretch’s weekly Top 10 list in addition to this commentary slot.

Our Top 10 list, as you should have correctly surmised by now, is, of course, patterned after the ones made famous by David Letterman. But the main difference between Dave’s list and mine – not counting that mine is always associated in some way with racing – is that Dave employs numerous professional writers who make sure his final draft is usually pretty darned funny. However, Frontstretch has yet to allocate my requested funds from the annual budget to allow me the same luxury, which means I am left to look good on my own. And apparently, some might say I need to keep practicing at it!

Take yesterday’s Top 10 list as an example – Top 10 Reasons Sponsors and Drivers Are Leaving DEI. Now, as Top 10 lists go, I just threw this one together at the last minute just to meet – OK, almost meet – a deadline. I didn’t feel it was all that special – in my opinion, I have written much funnier stuff. I also didn’t think it was all that mean because, as my editors can attest, some of my lists have provoked many an editorial meeting before being published. No, yesterday’s list was just middle of the road… or so I thought. But judging from the number and tone of the comments that yesterday’s list provoked, it would appear that I pulled the equivalent of whacking a hornets’ nest with a stick whilst naked. In light of that, it is at this point that I would like to include my honest thoughts about DEI so some of their fans can see where I was coming from when I wrote the list.

First and foremost, I don’t have any malice towards DEI. I never have. As a matter of fact, I don’t give it all that much thought. For me, the things that are happening at DEI are no different and are of no more special interest than any other team. Like I said, the topic was just something that popped into my head along with a couple of good ideas to go with it, and I thought, sure, I can work with that! So I did; and that was the end of the creative thought process. Nothing more, nothing less…

But the problem, it seems, is that some people forget that the Top 10 list is pure humor. Right away, they assume that I am some evil warmonger that hates Teresa and DEI, and as such, I probably put newborn puppies in a gunny sack with a rock and throw them off a bridge. Well, that simply is not the case. Here’s the real and unexciting truth: I am simply lazy! Take this column, for example; what else is easier than writing a column about something I wrote about yesterday?

I am sorry to burst the bubble of all you who thought otherwise. In an effort to keep the debate alive, however, I will re-hash some things that I have written in the past, in response to some of the comments received yesterday – mainly about the whole of the DEI organization itself. I apologize in advance for the following being everyday common sense…

While I have no proof whatsoever, I am of the belief that Dale Sr. did, in fact, build that business for his kids. That is what people do, for the most part, when they start a business. It is there to be a viable source of income for the future generation should they choose it. How many businesses have the name “and Son(s)” at the end of them? It doesn’t say “and Wife!” It wasn’t “Sanford & Elizabeth!”

It is generally assumed, then, that the wife already has what the husband’s created. Yes, DEI was willed by Dale to his wife Teresa, but don’t you think that was because when the business was started, the kids were a bit young to run a business? Consider, too, that most people just assume that they will be around to run the business themselves. When was the last time any of you changed your will to suit the changes in your life? Does anyone honestly think that any of the things that have happened at DEI over the last few years would have actually happened if Dale had retired from racing instead of died from it? Teresa was good at marketing. Dale was the race team owner. Dale Jr. was the up and coming star that was to be the cornerstone for the business. Seems to me things obviously did not go they way they were planned…

For those of you who say that DEI is not dead or in trouble, you are only partly right. They are not dead, but they are in trouble. Consider this: other than part-time driver Mark Martin, does any team from DEI invoke fear amongst the competitors as a legitimate threat on any given Sunday? Not like they used to. And what does Teresa have to market now: Paul Menard and Martin Truex Jr.? Both are capable drivers in their own right, but neither are hardly considered “superstars” in the sport.

Now, I’m not going to go into reasons why here in this column. I just wanted to point out some common-sense observations as I see them; you can take them for what they’re worth.

Another observation that I see is the unabated enthusiasm exhibited by the DEI fans! That, I do approve of. It is nice to see unbridled passion for the sport – no matter who your team may be or what you’re fighting for.

I thank you all for showing so much enthusiasm over one of my writings.

Stay off the wall,

Jeff Meyer

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