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NASCAR Race Weekend Central

Voices from the Heartland: With Another New Name, It’s Still a Chicane!

What you are about to read is NOT déjà vu. It is all too true. Most of it was written two years ago this very week. It is sad that it must be revisited really, because I am neurotic enough without NASCAR trying to push me over the edge. However, just when I thought it was safe to watch another road race, the experience was once again overshadowed by the most trivial thing. So without further ado, I once again address my neurosis. Changes that have been made in 2008 are in italics!

Sometimes while watching a NASCAR race, it’s the tiniest little thing that gets stuck in my mind and I end up mulling it over all week. Not that mulling anything over all week ever produced satisfactory results, but maybe, like an annoying Extenze commercial that airs over and over again, if I share it with you, you can do the mulling instead of me.

The subject of this week’s mental distraction is the word “bus stop” or, as in this particular case, the lack thereof.

You see, us Iowans, or at least the crowd I run with, don’t get to hear, let alone use the word “bus stop” all that often. Oh sure, we have a few of them here and there on a few lonely back roads, but they are most often referred to as a “dog-leg” or a “crook” or even “that spot where I hit that big buck and rolled my truck.” Certainly not a bus stop! Bus stops are not found in cities of 700 people. The nearest we get to using the word bus stop is when the country folk are trying to get their kids out the door to go to school.

So, it is with special anticipation each year when the race at Watkins Glen rolls around that I get to hear, and possibly use, the word “bus stop.” This year however, I was denied that privilege all weekend, seeing as how school has yet to start, I live in town and my kids are all graduated anyway!

Can someone please explain to me why the bus stop, as it has been called for two years, suddenly became the “short chute” or the “inner loop?

I realize that this may seem to be a trivial thing, but like I said before, it just really bugged me throughout both the Nationwide and Cup telecasts. Not that I’ve ever been particularly fond of the word itself, as a kid, it meant that I had to go to school or as an adult, it meant that the damn car had broken down again and I’ve never been to keen on anything to do with public transportation anyway. It would be safe to say that my yearly anticipation to hear or use the word lies more in my loathing of it, as weird as that may sound.

Even though to me, a bus stop is a completely insane way to describe a “whoopitydo” in a stretch of road, it probably was, to millions of countrified, hardcore NASCAR fans, the one chance a year to impress their other non-NASCAR friends with a brief show of sophistication should they use it on them in a sentence or want to make them think they just came back from a trip to the big city.

I suppose it was bound to happen. NASCAR, in its failed attempt to inundate the major markets such as New York City and Seattle, had to call it something that the fans in those metropolitan areas would think was more exotic or mysterious. Let’s face it, in NYC a “bus stop” by the road is somewhere to get mugged at, and if you asked where the nearest “inner loop” was in Manhattan, you’d never get a definitive answer. A few strange looks maybe, but not a definitive answer.

I miss the bus stop. I wonder what they will call it 2010?

Stay off the wall (especially near the short chute),

Jeff Meyer

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