Who’ll Stop the Rain?

Gotta go...to an indie bookstore!

The Elliotts and the Earnhardts didn't always fraternize in victory lanes. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

The Elliotts and the Earnhardts didn’t always fraternize in victory lanes. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clinton, S.C., Sunday, April 6, 2014, 9:45 a.m.

It’s raining in Texas. It’s cloudy here and is supposed to rain tomorrow.

That’s the news, sports fans.

Texas Motor Speedway has lights, which could make this yet another long day’s journey into night. There may be a race on Monday. Some of you will know by the time you read this.

I can’t think of a poetic device to prevent this. A few I’ve had to look up, like onomatopoeia.

What must sustain us – as for me, personally, I may get some seat time with my lawn tractor – is the memory of Friday night, when what few people who realized the race wasn’t on Saturday saw a great race that was also a great story. The son of a man who was one of the more popular drivers in history claimed a stirring victory in the Nationwide race.

It wasn’t Dale Earnhardt Jr.

This photo of Bill Elliott was from 2012. Who's the kid? (John Clark photo)

This photo of Bill Elliott was from 2012. Who’s the kid? (John Clark photo)

Chase Elliott at 18 did an awesome imitation – “awesome” is an overused word, but, really, what other could I use? – of Bill at 28. Rich Little was envious.

NASCAR officials often perplex me, but more so now that I am away from the grind and relying on dull, emotionless transcripts bereft of facial expressions. I also never have transcripts sidle up alongside to ask in a half-whisper, “You heard what they done to [so-and-so]?”

After I never say “no,” the source never begins every single time with, “Well, what I heard tell is …”

Sitting at home means playing it straight. B-O-R-I-N-G.

I don’t understand the winds of change brewing out in Texas along with the thunderstorms.

The racing has been lovely. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

The racing has been lovely. (Getty Images photo for NASCAR)

NASCAR officials made changes in the offseason that make Obamacare seem like a test of the Emergency Broadcast System.

None of the six races has met expectations. All six have exceeded them. NASCAR needs 16 winners to fill a Chase, and it’s already got six. Dale Earnhardt Jr. won the Daytona 500. Jimmie Johnson and Matt Kenseth haven’t won yet. Both Busch brothers have.

Please don’t confuse me with someone who likes the new Chase. I’d rather they bring in bells, whistles and Pat Sajak and just make it a real game show. But … from what NASCAR, Mark Goodson, and Bill Todman would have expected, it’s a regular The Price Is Right.

Apparently, NASCAR officials want to slow the cars down. Why? Oh, the leakage is all about manufacturers wanting six-cylinder engines, the “green initiative” (as everyone knows, NASCAR no longer puts up with any sort of emissions), concussion studies, “cost controls,” and how, ad infinitum, “you can’t tell the difference between 195 and 180 miles an hour.”

Who’s “you”? Fans? Okay. Drivers? They can tell the difference. They have to be better to go faster.

NASCAR officials have apparently improved the racing. While acknowledging the truth of this assertion, they think they can still make it better.

Cost controls? The reason they can’t possibly work is that NASCAR keeps changing everything before anyone saves any money.

Hey, it’s raining in Texas. My novels may not be the very best, but they are definitely better than rain-delay TV. You can download The Intangibles and/or The Audacity of Dope for your electronic device at amazon.com.

[cb_profit_poster Guitar2]

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 Who’ll Stop the Rain?

  1. Jeff says:

    Good article Monte. I always enjoy them. I have been reading your stuff for a good long time. I always thought Bill Elliott’s sone was named Chase though and not Casey. Unless Casey is a nickname of his that I do not know? I’m not tweaking you here sir, because you might know something I don’t know about the kid. But one thing I do know is this: the kid is damned talented. And I actually did remember the race was on Friday and watched most of it when I got home from work here on the West Coast. As for “who’ll stop the rain?” Seems like we get some of these seasons where all you need for a rain forecast for the coming weekend is to know where the NASCAR race is scheduled to be at. Ugh. Though I will tell you, we did have perfect weather for our race at California Speedway. Probably our best ever. 🙂

  2. Carol Dahlberg says:

    Chase Elliott. …is Rick Hendrick grooming him as the next driver of the 24 car? If he is, this Jeff Gordon Fan will be proud to cheer for Chase. JUST NOT TOO SOON!!!

  3. Monte says:

    Oh, my gosh, what an absentinded error. Casey was Bill’s late nephew, also very promising. Not too long ago, I tweeted that no one ever mentions Casey. I guess I fixed that the wrong way.
    Now corrected. Thanks.

  4. Ken says:

    NASCAR changes is not what has made the racing better this year. The racing has been good DESPITE NASCAR. Nature and Goodyear has made the racing interesting. By the way, have you noticed the dropoff in people attending and watching the races? Race manipulation by NASCAR with fake cautions, unnecessary cautions and “mistake” cautions are driving people away in droves. Professional wrestling on wheels is not what people want. That should tell them something. If they drop the horsepower, there will even more of a drop. My interest in the “sport” is now the lowest it has been since I got interested in 1962.

  5. Steven says:

    Another silver spoon driver. Blessed with incredible talent!!!! Whatever happened to local heroes who made the big time the hard way?

  6. Mike says:

    Steven,
    Local heros are racers. NASCAR is not so much racing as marketing now. Stick with the dirt tracks and bullrings and you won’t be disappointed.

  7. Russ Edwards says:

    Another reason cost control wont work is that it isn’t in the teams best interest. As long as the can get companies to pay for sponsorship that is. 10% of 30 mill is quite a bit more than 10% of 25 mill.
    As far as reducing horsepower, Nascar will do what ever it takes to keep the remaining manufacturers involved. Eventually you will see hybrids on ovals. Just not soon.

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