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Clinton, S.C., Monday, January 20, 2014, 12:58 p.m.
You’ve heard of the cross between the elephant and the rhinoceros, right?
The “hell if I know”? Maybe the helephino.
What’s NASCAR going to do? Hell if I know. I read about the alleged Chase formula that leaked out over the weekend. I really just can’t believe it. Surely calmer heads will prevail.
In NASCAR? Hah! They’ve got calmer heads breaking up passes in the NFL playoffs.
Sixteen drivers in the Chase? Anyone who wins a race getting in, EIRI? (NASCAR-speak for “except in rare instances,” even though, in NASCAR, rare instances aren’t even rare.) Eliminations during the Chase from 16 to 8 to 4, and then the four “lucky winners” dueling it out for the Sprint Cup championship in the final race?
My very first thought was, well, Jamie McMurray’s big year has finally arrived.
My second thought was, well, this is another in the endless series of NASCAR trial balloons. If fans don’t jump up and down, hyperventilate while chatting with Dave Moody on SiriusXM, show up at the NASCAR Hall of Fame carrying fiery clubs and threatening to burn the place down, and launch the NASCAR wing of the Tea Party, this is going through.
I went to stock car races, on and off, since I was about five years old, so, yeah, lots of my opinions are old. I never once found myself thinking, well, you know, this Chase really works well. I did, however, accept that it was here to stay and there was nothing I could do about it. NASCAR has never played by my rules, and it shouldn’t. The sporting world passed me by long ago. If it was up to me, NASCAR wouldn’t have a Chase, baseball wouldn’t have a designated hitter, football lineman wouldn’t be allowed to block with their hands, and basketball would still have numerous jump balls. Golf clubs and tennis racquets would still have wood in them.
This cockamamie proposal took me by surprise, though, and, at this point, I say just go all the way. Any acceptance of this means of determining the Sprint Cup champion also implies further radical departures.
– All qualifying must be conducted at the Bonneville Salt Flats, which would effectively move the epicenter of stock car racing from North Carolina to Utah. The teams would have to hit the salt for qualifying each Tuesday, then pack up and go to tracks.
– Loop-the-loops, which work splendidly in Hot Wheels sets, must be installed at all “intermediate” tracks.
– Borrowing even more from Mattel, Milton Bradley and Hasbro, Dover and New Hampshire must be converted into “over-and-under” figure-8’s.
– Five diversity provisionals.
– Kool-Aid, the Official Powdery Substance of NASCAR.
– Newt Gingrich, Rick Santorum and Herman Cain, in the tower, calling the race. Maybe Dennis Kucinich, too, at the road courses to placate the sport’s hundreds of liberal fans. And Blake Shelton because he’s everywhere else and looks a bit like Dale Earnhardt Jr. And they’ll have to find a place for Regis Philbin and Nancy Grace.
– Jim Carrey, NASCAR Vice President for Corporate Communications.
– One demolition derby in the Chase, and that’s in addition to Talladega.
– A Monster Truck Series.
– Replace the all-star races with a converted triathlon – 100 miles in a stock car, 100 miles on a motorcycle and 100 miles in a powerboat – and a cross-country race through the Monument Valley of Utah. As with the Sprint All-Star Race, all the Salt Lake City-based teams would call the latter their home race.
Someone in Daytona Beach is reading this right now and thinking, well, we considered all those things. The numbers didn’t jive.
Buy my novel, The Intangibles, which isn’t nearly as outlandish as this blog. Now I’m going back to writing about a bank robbery.
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