Geez, where do I start? How do you sum up 10 years of weekly columns in a few parting paragraphs? I’m not sure I can do it justice but I guess I will give it a shot. Y’all deserve that much!
Speaking of y’all, I want to say first and foremost that I wouldn’t have lasted this long if it hadn’t been for the thousands of faithful weekly readers and fans, many of whom have actually become friends.
When I came to this site oh so many races ago, there were several senior staffers (senior meaning having more time in and/or possibly qualifications, not older!) that simply didn’t like me. Well, not me as much because I am a really, really likable guy, but more so my barroom style. This whole writing gig started in a bar, as a matter of fact, as the result of a drunken challenge by a friend who, as most people do, had just lost a heated argument to me about common sense (as much as two arguing drunks can have anyway) and stock car racing.
At any rate, I got my foot in the door here at Frontstretch – and more importantly, I got hits! Lots of hits – and the hits just kept coming! Over the years, the management (and most of the staff) of the site decided that they might as well just get used to me seeing as how, like many a drunken guest, I didn’t seemed inclined to leave.
I go now but know that my parting is bittersweet.
Who out there among the media is going to cut through all the NASCAR and media bull, telling you how it really is (or should be)? Who is going to poke irreverent fun at any and all in this business when they deserve it? It has been my privilege to do so all these years and that is where the sadness in my heart comes in. In some weird way, I feel I have a responsibility to the true fans to do so and my leaving is letting you down, but there is a flipside too.
This sport is a mess and honestly, I’m tired of bitchin’!
What used to be fun is now a weekly chore, and I am truly not happy doing it. I mean, I’ve been leading the damn horse(s) to the water every week and yet most of them refuse to drink. I’m at the point that the horse(s), if they are thirsty, can find their own water or drink the Kool Aid that is put in front of them. Most of the real fans left years ago anyway so I guess I might as well, too.
One of the universal things I keep hearing over and over is how, like myself, people used to plan their Sundays around NASCAR. Key words: used to. Now, it is not the case, and that is sad.
Welcome to the world of the casual fan. As a now fully converted casual fan, I just don’t, or more accurately can’t do it anymore. That is sad as well.
It isn’t all bad, though. Over the years, I have had the opportunity to meet and talk to most every driver and media bigwig or personality in the sport. Again, like many readers, some of them have become friends. I’ve enjoyed the rush of hanging over the wall during the whole race, snapping pictures like mad from a vantage point I used to only dream about. I’ve been showered by debris from crashes while trying to get that special shot and have even had to get the hell out of the way a couple of times for fear of my own safety.
One of the first things I learned as a member of the media/photographer world is that lugnuts often become missiles when a car is leaving the pits and it really, really hurts when they hit you in the shin! Oh, and did I mention they are HOT as well? Yeah, let them cool a bit before you pick them up!
All in all, it has been a fun time with memories and experiences that I am blessed to have had. Honestly, I wish more fans could experience it the way I did. Having press credentials is kickass!
But wait: before I go, I have a few parting shots I’d like to take and leave you with a few assurances as well. First, the assurances.
If you feel you can simply not live without my sarcastic, tongue-in-cheek, irreverent journalistic style, know this much: I’m not leaving permanently. I will still be on staff and I plan to even write from time to time, probably sooner rather than later because, let’s face it, someone is going to piss me off – and like any man who likes his beverages, I won’t be able to remain silent for too long. So, you have been warned! I just won’t be doing it every week (but then again, never say never!).
As for some parting comments….
Congrats to Kevin Harvick. Of the four drivers who managed to luck into the final race, Harvick is the most deserving. Having said that, I still firmly believe – and anyone with a brain can see – that with this new format, pure luck is now the drivers’ best friend, especially in the final 10 races. Just as a champion could be crowned without ever winning a race, one driver could win the first 26 races (or more) in one season and still not be the champion. What kind of crap is that?!
Brian France… what can I say? You are truly one of the biggest idiots on the face of this planet. You have taken something good, made it your own, and ruined it for millions. You have very few, if any, hardcore fans left, but you are too stupid to see that. You believe everything is fine. You are to NASCAR what President Obama is to America. No one takes you seriously.
OK, I’ve got to stop that – getting too damned worked up just thinking about it!
Thank you! Thank you to everyone that has made this ride so meaningful. The ones that write back praising me and the ones that send me hate mail… I raise a beverage to you all and once again I implore thee –
Stay off the wall!