The Grinch Who Stole NASCAR
"NASCAR roasting, over an open fire, the fans, leaving it in droves..."
Yes, my friends, the sarcasm is back, and worse than ever. It's Thanksgiving, and in regard to NASCAR, the ONLY item I am thankful for is the end of the 2009 season. Put a bullet in it, it is done, and so is the pain we all endured as fans who week in, and week out, fought the good fight thinking "this week HAS to be better than last". Only, however, to be shot down like a spiraling clay pigeon colored florescent orange, or getting dental work done without anesthesia. Out of 36 events, the afterburners weren't turned out until the last THREE! Are you kidding me? We deserve better than that, and if I could contract the Grinch to steal NASCAR as he did Christmas, I'd hire him in a heartbeat! Wait, he ended up giving it back, didn't he? Ah! I digress! Anyway...
My stats could be slightly off, but I was doing my "different winners of '09" tally a couple days ago. Are you all aware that out of 36 races, there was only somewhere in the ballpark of 14 differet victors? Seriously?! How can anyone sit there with their arms folded in front of them and state, "This is good for the sport"? Sure, now with the padding of the season being over, even Mike Helton admitted in an Associated Press article a few days ago that they had sterilized NASCAR to the point where drivers couldn't be themselves, and went on to say, "...and that's not good for the sport." Hinting, sort of, that NASCAR "relaxed" for the last three races and just "let 'em run". Racers should be allowed to RUN every week, not just a select number of evens towards the end of the season.
Fans have been BEGGING for a return of some sort of emotion, grit, testosterone, juevos, whatever you want to call it for a couple of seasons. This isn't anything new! As a matter of fact, after this article, I'm going to email Santa and ask that he give a set of balls back the drivers to do what they wish...talk and drive! Okay, perhaps that is slightly dramatic, but I believe I'm getting my point across to you all.
My tickets for the 2010 Daytona 500 should be arriving any day now. I remeber a time when I'd be absolutely pumped up when that envelope appeared in my mailbox. The last couple of years? Cool, guess I'm going again after all. Don't get me wrong folks. There is ALWAYS that feeling of optimism and enthusiasm for he first race of the season. Not just because there's that, "This is my driver's year" hope pouring through your veins, but also the prayer that "PLEASE let this season be better than last." This will be the last tme I get to take my step son for who knows how long due to the fact he will be going into the Army after graduation in June. So, this trip will be special no matter what happens on the track, or how many autographs I obtain.
I'm going to be booed and have rotten fruit thrown at me for saying this, but Jimmie Johnson won his fourth consecutive championship in a row. WHOOPIE! (insert sarcasm here). Proving he's a great driver? You bet! Stripping any doubt that there is some sort of supernatural magic between he and Chad Knaus? Definitely! However, I can say with a straight face that I would be bored to tears if Dale Earnhardt Jr. did the same thing. I applaud the Johnson fans during this dynasty, and I admit, that is exactly what it is. Yet we need a different champion in 2010 or the blow will be devestating to the sport. Even Jimmy Spencer went out on a limb to say the same thing. Jimmy is awesome, but another championship would be bad for the sport.
So, does anyone know where NASCAR Claus is appearing and what the proper ettiquette is? Do you sit on his lap? Lean on a stack of tires and make your Christmas list over a couple of beers? I have no idea! I do know that Daytona 500 tickets will be in my stocking, and hopefully a "new and improved" 2010 season will be under my NASCAR tree. (seriously, I really have a NASCAR tree!)
I am thankful to have my friends, and my readers. Whether we agree or not at this time of year is irrelevant. It's the fact that we all share a common interest in racing, great beer, and good spirits. I'm grateful that I have a wonderful wife who will tell you she is a "race widow" on Saturdays and Sundays, with a few truck races thrown in between! I'm also thankful that I have been given the gift of the written word to make the readers happy, angry, or a little of both at times with my tongue-in-cheek, somewhaht radical, in your face, style of prose. It is to you all I wish a very safe and happy holiday season, and we will catch you with "on the spot" updates from Daytona International Speedway in February!
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