Those All-Important, Cliche-Ridden Bonus Points

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Tony Stewart (left): "To be honest?" I didn't even go into Kurt Busch's various offenses. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Tony Stewart (left): “To be honest?” I didn’t even go into Kurt Busch’s various offenses. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clinton, S.C., Friday, March 28, 2014, 12:53 p.m.

“Quite frankly,” Buddy Baker likes Tony Stewart “to be honest.”

Those are two NASCAR luminaries’ favorite clichés. I enjoy listening to Buddy on SiriusXM, and I listen to him enough to know how fond he is of saying “quite frankly.” As I haven’t been to the track and attended the media conferences in quite a while, I’m not sure if Tony Stewart still replies to a question with a question.

“To be honest?”

No, Tony. We all want you to be a politician.

I’m just noting this. I’m not passing judgment. Most people are cliché ridden. For instance, I say “actually” too often. When I listen to myself on tape, I always cringe when I hear that word come out of my mouth. Why do I hate myself for saying it? It could be because, when I was a kid, a popular sitcom was Gomer Pyle, USMC, and Gomer had a girlfriend – which he doesn’t have in real life – named Lou Ann Poovy, and she constantly said, “Wayull, Gomuh, actually …” Somehow, even though Private Pyle was stationed far away from Mayberry, it sounded as if Lou Ann was somehow from there, too.

Cliches cross all borders of education, income and prominence. Howard Cosell loved “plethoras,” especially the veritable ones. Cosell had one of the more idiotic clichés of all time.

“Tell us, Champ, in your own words …”

As opposed to … the words of Johnny Carson. Or Thomas Jefferson. Or Carol Channing.

"Remember, guys, just two tires on the right side." (HHP/Christa L. Thomas photo for Chevy Racing)

“Remember, guys, just two tires on the right side.” (HHP/Christa L. Thomas photo for Chevy Racing)

The great writer Larry McMurtry often finds matters “vexing.” Larry McReynolds loves to claim possession: “our race leader,” “our points leader,” “our Sprint Cup champion,” the one who gets at least two right-side. Goodyear Racing Eagles and fills up with Sunoco Racing Fuel.

As opposed to three right-side Goodyear Racing Eagles.

There’s Larry, there’s Darrell, and there’s his other brother, Michael.

A penalty might be having to go to the tail of the longer line (there are two, you might recall), but the announcer will always say “tail end of the longest line,” a needless superlative.

Then there’s that NEW TRACK RECORD! They never mention all those drivers who set old track records.

Cliches aren’t all bad. They can be used for effect. I used to be fond of saying, when all hell was breaking loose (as opposed to all those partial eruptions of hell), “Another … big … day.”

Another of my favorite clichés, self-evidently, is “as opposed to.”

Yet, still, I persist in writing novels. The Intangibles and The Audacity of Dope are available here if you’d like to buy an autographed copy and have me ship it to you. If you’ve got a Kindle, they’re available at, not to mention a growing number of bookstores.

About Monte

For 20 seasons, I mostly wrote about NASCAR. I'm still paying attention, but I'm spending more of my time these days writing novels and songs. I try to blog regularly on whatever happens to strike my fancy.
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7 Responses to Those All-Important, Cliche-Ridden Bonus Points

  1. Paul A. says:

    In the immortal words of George Carlin, “I’m not concerned about all hell breaking loose, but that a PART of hell will break loose… it’ll be much harder to detect.”

  2. Al Torney says:

    At what point do we announce that “boogity, boogity, boogity” has become a cliche.

    I always did like Ray Melton saying “riding the high banks” at Darlington. I think that was where I first him saying it.

  3. Cheryl Lauer says:

    It seems like since Fox got into NASCAR, all we get are cliches. All the time. I listened to the 1982 Martinsville race on MRN the other day. Mike Joy as a turn announcer sounded nothing like his cliche-ridden alter ago today. He was business-like and to the point. If I hear him spout “Fast Friday” or “Knockout Qualifying” once more, I may throw something at the TV! Lately I do try to listen to the audio of Buddy Baker’s show instead of Fox on Fridays (to save my flat screen).

  4. Monte says:

    At what point? The first time he said it.
    It amazes me how few people realize “boogity” is the sound a horse’s hooves make.
    I heard Jerry Clower use that term decades before Darrell.
    Plus, I grew up around horses.

  5. The one that I have a problem with is “momentum.” It appears that no one can hold on to it because every week a different driver is said to have it. The baseball cliche is, “Momentum is the next day’s starting pitcher;” so it seems that since the pitcher is the variable in baseball, the track would be the variable in NASCAR.

  6. Al Torney says:

    I didn’t know horses made that sound. I didn’t know about Clower. The first I heard it was in Chubby Checker’s song Pony Time around 1961. Ray Stevens used it in Ahab the Arab or one of his other funny songs.

    I honestly believe Darrel used it to annoy people like us.

  7. Monte says:

    Melton sometimes said a driver was “riding high, wide and handsome” through the turns. (I attended many Darlington races as a kid.)

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