As Much As I Try, I Just Can’t Say

Views of NASCAR seem a little distorted.(Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Views of NASCAR seem a little distorted.(Rusty Jarrett/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Gotta an indie bookstore!

Clinton, South Carolina, Monday, May 11, 2015, 10:55 a.m.

Last week I bumped into an old friend in town. He was just back from Talladega, where he had camped in the second turn, and was quite happy at Dale Earnhardt Jr.’s victory. He told me he was setting up camp at Charlotte this Thursday.

Monte Dutton

Monte Dutton

He went to Martinsville, too, and I’m almost certain he’s going to be at Darlington in September when the Southern 500 returns to Labor Day weekend. In fact, I know lots of people who swear to me they’re going back to Darlington if they haven’t been going there already while NASCAR was swapping its dates to the lowest bidder.

I talked to another friend on the phone Sunday. He said the racing was so bad in Kansas that he left the house when it started raining (in Kansas, not Georgia) and went to a nearby dirt track. He had a ball, came back home, and got depressed again, only it was that deep, dark depression that comes from watching something in the wee hours.

Opinion about NASCAR is sharply divided, even, and perhaps particularly, among those who love it the most.

The name of a Charlie Robison song just came to me: “These are desperate times.” It’s about a guy who robs a bank in cahoots with his wife, who is a teller, and at the end, he gets caught because she turns on him to the feds, and, when he asks her why, she says, “It wasn’t easy, Jack, but these are desperate times.”

Kevin Harvick leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Kansas in 2014. (Harold Hinson/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

Kevin Harvick leads Dale Earnhardt Jr. at Kansas in 2014. (Harold Hinson/HHP photo for Chevy Racing)

I was singing along to this song while I was listening to it on my iPod, circling the yard on a grass-cutting mission. Some people who live in the nearby apartment complex might think I’m crazy since they can’t hear what I can hear through my sound-proof headphones, which are red because I bought them when it was still the Winston Cup.

When I started wearing those headphones cutting grass, I was plugging them into a transistor radio.

I have one friend who likes NASCAR as much now as he did 10 years ago. He likes it more than high school football, and, once upon a time, he was real good at playing that.

Lots of them still like it, just not as much, which is why I reckon they tend to watch it on TV instead of go see it live, and I don’t care how great fellows named Waltrip keep telling them it is, they’ve gradually stopped buying it.

I used to watch it from there. Now I watch it from here. Both ways I watched it for pay. Either I’ve got a great perspective or the worst one possible.

I’d appreciate it if you’d give my, uh, literary web site,, a look from time to time, not to mention the occasional consideration of my books at:

You can nominate a third novel, Crazy of Natural Causes, for publication here:


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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3 Responses to As Much As I Try, I Just Can’t Say

  1. Fireball Doowah says:

    It’s a good day when you weave CR’s name and song in your blog.

  2. Tim Nejman says:

    Look no further for how far NASCAR has fallen than the All-Star race. This used to be a highly anticipated event. When is the last time this race had a great finish? I was watching some old Winstons from the mid and late 1990s great side by side racing and the cars speeds weren’t too fast. Charlotte is so fast you really get very little good side by side battles. I don’t want to sound like one of those people living in the past but the truth is the racing isn’t what it was. Throw in all the racing manipulations like lucky dogs, wave arounds, green-white-checkered that rarely under the green because of a final lap caution, and mystery cautions makes me increasingly turned off.

  3. GinaV24 says:

    I used to devote my entire weekends to NASCAR from practice to qualifying to pre-race to race to post-race. Unfortunately the “product” is not the same as what it was once and I am no longer buying. Past few years, I watch less and less. Qualifying is now some sort of weird group grope, the cars are all from a kit and the racing on the weekends just isn’t interesting enough to make me spend 4 plus hours of my time on it. I also don’t spend my money or vacation time to travel to races and my family and I used to travel to a lot of races and we had fun. When I stopped having fun, I stopped going to races.

    NASCAR, unlike Coca Cola, isn’t smart enough to realize that when a lot of people are unhappy with your product, maybe you should go back to what worked.

    for the fans who are still having fun, I’m happy for you. However I know what I like and what I see – and heaven help me – hear coming from Ole DW’s mouth – just isn’t it.

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