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American Government Special Collections Reference Desk

Topics:  NASCAR


Jeremy T. Sellers
Jerm's Joint
October 13, 2009

No, I GUARANTEE you the title to this article is NOT a typo. In fact, it's a term my wife has come up with when watching NASCAR on television because she never makes it more than the first few laps before she's down for the count. Lately, for that matter, I find it a struggle to keep my eyes open as well. I should probably warn the readers that I'm in my "mad as hell" mood. Why? Well, I am certainly glad you asked!

As if NASCAR hasn't already watered down, sterilized, and stagnated itself to the point where I'd rather go to an opera than watch a race, they are t-bagging themselves once again in regards to the restrictor plate tracks. Brief mention of this was made during the California fiasco, and that was about it. I haven't been able to find this on NASCAR.com, but I must admit, I didn't look very hard, but I guess being on ESPN was verification enough for me. In their infinite wisdom, the governing body has decided to put even SMALLER restrictor plates on the cars for Daytona and Talladega beginning with next season's opener in 2010, further robbing the engines of 12-15 more horsepower. To most, that might seem as substantial peeing in the ocean, or perhaps into the wind, but it's still going to keep the cars in packs. Granted, with the new car, the drafting isn't as consistantly tight as it was under the older model, but taking away even more power isn't going to prevent cars from wrecking, flying into the fence, and turning upside-down. (Which is one of the reasons NASCAR states is making this move) Build the fence higher at Talladega? Absolutely! No one wants to be concussed by flying debris. However, the reason WE love racing, and DRIVERS bleed speed is because it has that American element of danger! Keep robbing the big tracks of their m-p-h's, and they might as well bring back the Chevette and race them! (Okay, that was a hyperbole, but you get my drift!)

Few may know, but when Kurt Busch first tested the new car at Daytona, he ran just a shade over 195 miles per hour BY HIMSELF! When the model was implemented for the superspeedways, did we see qualifying times come close to that? Hell no! NASCAR R & D was quick to quash an exciting speed like that. Am I saying we should start taking stabs at Bill Elliot's qualifying record at Talladega? Probably not. Yet soon, all a fan will have to do is purchase a Richard Petty Rookie Experience ride-along to experience speeds faster than the cars in competition. Is there something wrong with that picture? You betchya!

I have already purchased my tickets for the 2010 Daytona 500. Normally, I get pretty pumped up about going. They also have races at Volusia County Speedway that same week. Hmmm...

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