Let’s start with Jimmie Johnson.
While I refuse to compare Jimmie to Cale Yarborough, for the two are incomparable, it is at this time that I formally congratulate Johnson for winning three Cups in a row…
Sprint Cups that is, not Winston Cups, for they too are incomparable.
Recently, at a meeting of some highly trained minds bent on saving NASCAR as we know it — one that included Mark Dyer, CEO of Motorsports Authentics and others — Dyer shed a little light about Johnson and his connection to Winston Cups.
“We went how many years with Winston as the title sponsor?” said Dyer. “Jimmie Johnson told me that he didn’t know Winston was a cigarette; he just thought it was the name of the series.”
And you still say Johnson ain’t “vanilla?” Didn’t know Winston was a cigarette?! Unbelievable!
As I read my local paper today, I discovered the answer to NASCAR’s mystery of why there were so many empty seats in the stands this year.
The U.S. Department of Transportation has reported that in the last 11 months of the fiscal year, Americans drove 90 billion fewer miles. No, that was not a typo. 90 BILLION!
I bet they stayed home and watched TV instead. Unfortunately, not only did they not attend NASCAR races, according to this year’s ratings, they watched something else as well. Thank you, Brian France. But hey, I don’t want to be negative here. Perhaps Brian can hold a press conference tying together the fewer miles driven and the empty seats, proclaiming that NASCAR is making great strides in reducing auto emissions — thus saving the entire planet!
With all the talk of mergers in the garage this year, there is one thing that I think has been overlooked… and it is a very sad thing at that.
No matter what happens, the Petty influence and association with NASCAR is coming to an end. It amazes me that a Petty does not even have controlling interest in Petty Enterprises anymore; instead, the company is now controlled by Boston Ventures, a bunch of investors. And not only do the Pettys not have control of the company, it is looking more and more like the new owners do not even want a Petty around — meaning the always outspoken Kyle Petty is getting the boot.
While Kyle never did light the NASCAR world on fire, it was still strangely comforting just having him around. Yet as far as I know, Kyle’s actual involvement with the team next year appears to be nil. The last report I saw has him working on plans to run full-time in the Grand-Am Rolex Sports Car Series, a move Kyle describes as a “step over.” Still, it is sad, sad, sad.
In closing out this column for the year, I am going to go on the record and say, although I do not like Kyle Busch one iota, the punk kid can definitely drive a race car or truck! Hey, I’ve been called many a thing over the past year by many a reader, but stupid ain’t usually one of them. Even I can recognize talent, even if I don’t like it!
So, as usual, ’til next year, I will try to silence the voices in my head that drive this column. Thank you each and every one for reading. Now, you know what to do…
Stay off the wall,