Clinton, S.C., Tuesday, February 18, 2014, 8:45 a.m.
Most mornings I take a quick glance at numbers measuring the activity at montedutton.com, Twitter and Facebook. I try not to let that influence what I post. The principal effect isn’t “they like this, so I’ll write more”; it’s “I’ll be darned if a bunch of people didn’t like this.”
I’m sort of stubborn that way. It’s not like I’m making a mint with these blogs. It’s more a way – I know I keep pointing this out – for me to warm up for the writing that I hope will make me a living.
Little causality can be traced between a NASCAR blog and a novel about a couple cowboys in Texas, but the best way to learn how to write is to write, and the second best way is to read.
I look at the graphs measuring “hits” and“clicks” (not to be confused with shits and giggles), comments, retweets, “likes,” etc. Based on this body of evidence, I figure today is officially the Daytona 500 version of rock bottom. Fans are regrouping from the limited Sprint Unlimited and preliminary qualifying (and what can qualifying that only determines the front row be but preliminary?). Thursday through Sunday is a four-course meal, and by Monday morning, most everyone will be full of something, be it joy, disappointment, rage, euphoria, frustration, suspicion, whatever.
For weeks now, I’ve been saving transcripts, and I figure now is as good a time as any to go through them looking for morsels of humor, the latter being both intentional and unintentional.
It’s Tuesday. I’m trying to cheer you up. Well, I hope that happens. I’m really trying to cheer me up.
Daytona 500 pole winner Austin Dillon, 23, drives the Dow Chevrolet, sponsored by the chemical company, not the actor in “Leave It to Beaver.” (Yes. I’m old.) Of “Not Tony” Dow, Dillon said, “They actually just won the first Olympic medal for us in the luge, in the women’s luge for a bronze, and now they got the pole at the Daytona 500.”
And I thought I was stretching the bounds of causality. Try credulity.
I like the words of crew chief Gil Martin better: “I think his youth is bringing a lot to us. I know it is for me. He’s getting me out of the dark ages. I’m thinking about getting rid of my house phone. I’m going to start texting pretty soon.”
Oh, well. There went any more quality remarks of substance.
Dillon also said “… you’ve got to have those blinders …” I hope he takes them off for the actual races. That was sooooo out of context.
Runner-up qualifier Martin Truex Jr., who was almost totally overlooked in the great Return of the Three celebration, said, “Well, it means a ton to me.”
Danica Patrick said of her showing, “I learned that lap was just for the guys and to condone them for putting it all back together, getting another engine in it, and we crashed a car last night.”
Never mind what the rest of it means. Condone them?
Dale Earnhardt Jr.: “There’s nothing to it. You just go out there and try to hold the wheel straight and tight as you can.” I thought that was drag racing.
Brian Vickers spoke for 47 drivers when he said, “Well, we wanted to go faster.”
Young Alex Bowman said, “I think the biggest thing from learning last night is going to be staying out of trouble is huge.” By George, I think he’s got it.
Tony Stewart uttered a sentence, the gist of which was centered: “… today definitely feels like being back at work today …” None could argue.
This may have been abbreviated, or approximated, or something, but according to a transcript, one question to Stewart was, “How much does it confirm getting in a car that you just love racing to pieces?”
I so wish Tony had answered, simply, “As much as I hate meeces*.”
*Paraphrasing Jinx the Cat.
Now I’m going to wander around Texas in the form of fiction for a while. In the meantime, read some of what’s already published. But first, read all about it elsewhere on this site. Or trust me and just take a leap of faith.