The Vagaries of History

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Tiny Lund, with whom few messed, with Leonard (right) and Glen Wood in Daytona's victory lane in 1963.

Tiny Lund, with whom few messed, with Leonard (right) and Glen Wood in Daytona’s victory lane in 1963.

Clinton, S.C., Wednesday, April 30, 2014, 12:24 p.m.

This morning I didn’t have electricity. If I had, I’d have written this sooner, but I spent the idle time paying bills and reading by the window light, and somewhere amid the subliminal and the wandering, I thought a few things through.

How many times have I heard one of the garage area’s great unwashed wring his hands at race drivers tearing up his handiwork over foolishness? “Look, they can climb out of their cars and beat each other up. What do I care? But don’t tear up the race cars.”

This is the “take it outside” method of NASCAR enforcement philosophy.

I’m not saying some punishment for Marcos Ambrose and Casey Mears wasn’t justified. I’m just saying punishment was in order for the drivers pushing and shoving with their race cars.

Marcos Ambrose is an Aussie, and Aussies are tough. (John Clark photo)

Marcos Ambrose is an Aussie, and Aussies are tough. (John Clark photo)

Secondly, why was Ambrose fined $25,000 and Mears $15,000? Because he won? Because Mears got a shiner? Without knowing the full story and the words that were said, it seemed as if Mears started it by shoving Ambrose, and Ambrose finished it with a right cross.

Then they needed a ring announcer and a manager with a tennis racquet.

I keep reading “this sets a dangerous precedent.” In fact, I keep reading it about Donald Sterling, Cliven Bundy, Barack Obama, and even the Supreme Court, where occasionally it means something.

There is no such term in NASCAR. Bobby Vee’s “Rubber Ball” should play before every race.

And like a rubber ball / I come bouncing back to you / Uh-ooh, ooh, ooh.

Bobby Vee (Robert Thomas Velline, of Fargo, North Dakota) is now 71. Today, in fact.

Not enough downforce. Too much downforce. Speed them up. Slow them down. Boys, have at it. Hey, watch your ass. Talk. Shut up. The media’s important. The media means nothing. TV, that’s what means something. Ratings are down, but, hey, interest is up. Tear down the stands. The stands are full. Theoretically. We make so much from TV, attendance doesn’t mean anything. Hey, if we jazzed up qualifying, you think that’d help?

Casey Mears. No more Mr. Nice Guy? (John Clark photo)

Casey Mears. No more Mr. Nice Guy? (John Clark photo)

Way back when NASCAR was formed, they made sure everyone knew this was “stock car racing” because they wanted fans to identify with the racers. The phrase became antiquated and ironic as the technology between cars on the track and cars on the highway diverged. Hardly anyone in NASCAR uses the phrase “stock car racing” anymore. It’s just NASCAR, or, in The New York Times, Nascar. What if they’d called it “tap dance racing”? What if, at the Streamline Hotel in 1947, they had formed the National Association of Tap Dance Auto Racing? NATDAR.

If they had done that, now The New York Times would call it Natdar.

Indy cars would be a lot bigger, that is, unless they had been named Hoosier cars, in which case a movie would be vastly different and, more importantly, Driven would likely never have been made.

The tap dancing, though, would seem more authentic. And the rubber balls.

Bouncy, bouncy / Bouncy, bouncy.

By the way, recently I read that the old Streamline is being renovated into “a boutique hotel.” The hotel and the governing body founded there are running neck and neck.

[cb_profit_poster Acting]

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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