Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, November 3, 2014, 10:18 a.m. Okay, first things first. As to the sordid affair that occurred last night after the race in No Limits, Texas, let’s make a few points
A number of observers believe a typical short-track race is what occurs when NASCAR drivers who know nothing about dirt, race at Eldora, and for some of the observers, this is true because it’s the only dirt track where they have ever been.
It wasn’t typical of local short tracks, as my friend Rick Minter pointed out this morning. “There’s one big difference,” Rick said. “If you act like that at a local track, you spend the night in jail.”
It wasn’t typical of the good, old days, either. If you think Petty, Pearson, Cale, Bobby, Fireball, and D.W. behaved like that three nights a week for two decades, you are sadly mistaken. That was an age in which drivers often had to fix what they tore up and, one way or another, pay for it.
The biggest reason was that they were working-class heroes, not rich punks. The reason the brawl at the 1979 Daytona 500 is remembered so vividly is that it happened infrequently, unlike the present wrestling circuit, where it happens twice in three weeks.
However, if the Etch a Sketch format had been in place, it would have happened more often “back in the day.” What is happening now is similar to the difference between Let’s Make a Deal and a video game. The championship that used to be behind Door Number Three is now a matter of avoiding the banana peels in Super Mario Karts. In other words, NASCAR’s Imperial Hierarchy is experiencing a great example of the old saying, “Watch what you ask for. You might just get it.” They didn’t know “have at it, boys” had a nuclear option, right up until they legislated it with the Etch a Sketch.
Really, no one in the competing class is wrong, and no one is right. Everyone is out of his mind. Brad Keselowski, who must win in order to advance, did everything he possibly could to do so. He tried to bust through a hole that closed. When he said, “There was a hole, and I went for. It closed up, and we bounced off each other, and [I] kept going. It was just a battle for a win,” he was telling the truth. “I came here to race, not to fight. I raced as hard as I could, and these guys just didn’t like it.” Of course, they didn’t. That’s the plan.
“It’s being played rough,” said Kevin Harvick, who despite finishing second, is eighth going to Phoenix. “It’s one of those deals where everybody is trying to get everything they can. You just do everything you can do to do the best for your team.” Gordon’s hope of advancing is suddenly precarious. “I had to show my displeasure,” he said. “It got ugly down there, obviously, and, you know, that is all right. A lot of things are going to happen in the next couple of weeks.
“It’s emotion that is a part of this Chase and this format, as well as towards people that make dumb decisions. He (KeselowskI) has been making a lot of them lately. That’s why people have been running after him and chasing him down. It’s why his team has got to defend him over there because of what he does on the race track.
“I am so proud of my team, and I’m proud of Jimmie Johnson for winning that race and not letting that little you-know-what win that race.”
“You know what” apparently translates as “dipshit” because that’s the word Gordon used on TV before he cooled down. “To them (NASCAR), I’m sure it’s a ‘racing incident,’ but, to me, it’s just a bunch of crap,” he also said, so he hadn’t cooled down that much, just enough not to say “shit” again.
Dale Earnhardt Jr. won at Martinsville. Guess what? He no longer gets to shake the Etch a Sketch. Johnson won at No Limits. He’s out of contention, too. It works pretty well for them, other than, oh, the championship part. They’ve got no pressure, and most all the etchers and the sketchers are pissed off at one another.
Just what is NASCAR to do? Its customized Frankenstein is aliiiiiive. Someone at NASCAR should have watched Bridge on the River Kwai. It’s too late to say, as Colonel Nicholson did, “My God. What have I done?”
The chief influence on the Etch a Sketch apparently was Days of Thunder and Talladega Nights: The Ballad of Ricky Bobby, which was named for a track where there are no races at night and doesn’t have a ballad. Oh, I like them, but, as movies, not real life. I don’t really want to see Keselowski dancing around naked on imaginary fire. Most of the time, it ticks me off when every shoving match involving a couple overheated NASCAR drivers is ridiculed on all the shows, Today, Nightly News, Fox & Friends, Good Morning America, Letterman, Fallon, Kimmel, et al., that wouldn’t normally give either NASCAR or an NBA clash of elbows a decent mention.
But this! By God, they looked like the Tea Party and Occupy Wall Street just happened to schedule marches in opposite directions on the Gettysburg battlefield. Or the main drag in Ferguson. It’s a good thing they hadn’t unlocked the rifles in No Limits Victory Lane yet. It wasn’t tough. It was infantile. They’d better be glad it wasn’t the checkout lane at Walmart, or else they’d really have had a rumble on their hands.
I think I’m going to fiction because this is too strange. If you get a chance, take an occasional look at www.wellpilgrim.wordpress.com or shop for my books, fiction and non, at: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1414631316&sr=1-1