Trying to Reason with a New Season

(Getty Images for NASCAR)

(Getty Images for NASCAR)

Monte Dutton (Alex Howard photo)

Monte Dutton (Alex Howard photo)

Clinton, South Carolina, Tuesday, February 16, 2016, 11:54 a.m.

So far I’ve written a NASCAR column (it will appear later in the week, as if by magic, or even a website) and the first three paragraphs of a chapter, and I don’t quite feel ready to write that chapter’s final 99 percent, so I decided to turn to a task of unplanned destination.

This.

Lots of things are on my mind. Just not a lot on any one of them, at this particular point in time. Wouldn’t be prudent. Wait. Let me regain my balance. Members of the Bush family are orbiting around the state and exerting a gravitational pull on my mind.

Just when I thought it was safe to go back in the water …

Ah, as those who would hope to limit my First Amendment right would tweet, stick to racing.

Okay. But not because you want me to. And I can’t wait to see that next photo of a casserole.

Chase Elliott rolls in. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

Chase Elliott rolls in. (Photo by Harold Hinson for Chevy Racing)

I like Junior if he's around. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevy Racing)

I like Junior if he’s around. (HHP/Harold Hinson photo for Chevy Racing)

Who’s going to win the Daytona 500? Oh, whoever stays out of trouble, and, probably, Dale Earnhardt Jr. if he’s one of them. In terms of the championship, the statistics suggest it will have little to do with what happens afterward. It means a lot in prestige and money, but in the latter regard, NASCAR will no longer tell us how much it is.

Once it was common for NASCAR to brag about money. Maybe they’re hiding it because it’s much more practical than hiding the winner of the race, it being on TV and all.

Sigh. I sigh a lot.

It would be nice to see that laugh again. (John Clark photo)

It would be nice to see that laugh again. (John Clark photo)

The Greek drama is Tony Stewart. The Greek comedy is everything else.

Only NASCAR could reduce the seating capacity of its most famous track and call it Daytona Rising. Only NASCAR could proclaim its new palace for the 21st Century the World’s First Motorsports Stadium, conveniently dismissing the world’s previous hundred thousand.

What about that cozy little speedrome in, aptly, Rome, where they raced chariots? Oh, yeah. Motorsports. They just had horsepower.

Michael Waltrip (John Clark photo)

Michael Waltrip (John Clark photo)

When that caution clock starts to wind down in the Camping World Truck Series, the theme of “Final Jeopardy” should play on TV. Then, if it expires, Michael Waltrip should say, “Every time the clock runs out, an angel gets its wings.”

The world has changed everywhere, not just in NASCAR. A long time ago, when men were men and beauty queens were nervous, and corporations spoke for racers and not vice-versa, when sportswriters started drinking beer before the gamer was done, and it wasn’t some high-dollar import, either, and a hard charger could lap the field without them fools in the tower sprinkling stardust and calling it debris, and letting everybody catch up, and it was harder to gain a lap that it was to lose one, and … and … and …

The last thing I remember, I was reading about Rip Van Winkle. Thank God I woke up.

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

(Graphic courtesy of Meredith Pritchard; cover by Jennifer Skutelsky)

As you may have noticed, I use these blogs as a promotional tool for my novels. One, Crazy of Natural Causes, has been out since late July of 2015.

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

(Jennifer Skutelsky cover design)

Another, Forgive Us Our Trespasses, will be out soon. I’m expecting to be given a release date soon. It’s a crime novel about corruption and patronage in a small town. The tale unfolds across two generations at the same time.

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

(Melanie Ryon cover design)

Crazy and Trespasses are my third and fourth novels. The Audacity of Dope was published in 2011, The Intangibles in 2013. I’m working on a fifth, Cowboys Come Home. Most of my books can be examined and purchased here: http://www.amazon.com/Monte-Dutton/e/B005H3B144/ref=sr_ntt_srch_lnk_1?qid=1416767492&sr=8-1

(Joe Font cover design)

(Joe Font cover design)

My short fiction, reviews and essays can be found here: https://wellpilgrim.wordpress.com/

Follow me on Twitter @montedutton, @hmdutton (about writing) and @wastedpilgrim (more humor and opinion). I’m on Facebook at Monte.Dutton and Instagram at Tug50. Look for me by name at Google+. Whew. It’s too much.

 

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 Trying to Reason with a New Season

  1. Andy says:

    I think we should start campaigning for Donald Trump as NASCAR president. He’ll need something to do after the Republican Convention is over. If he can make NASCAR great again, then maybe I’ll believe he can do the same for America.

    Donald would like Daytona. There’s a wall around it and no Hispanics to blow up America’s tradition of fine jet dryers. He would probably have the fence electrified so that nobody takes up residence overhanging turn four. Last time they let

  2. Parkfly says:

    Do you find it interesting the most P.R. friendly story has won the pole for the Daytona 500 for five of the past six years? Junior won it in 2011, the tenth year anniversary of his father’s death (Tony Kornheiser suggested it was fixed and was shouted down). Rookie Danica Patrick won it in 2013. The next year rookie Austin Dillon won it in the number 3’s return. And now the past two years the 24 car has won it, last year a legend entering his final season and this year the rookie son of a legend NASCAR is hoping will be as popular as his father. The only “off” year was 2012 when one of the sport’s most marketable stars (Edwards) won it after losing the championship in a tie a few months beforehand (the best they could come up with, I suppose). If Tony Stewart decides to make the 2017 Daytona 500 his final NASCAR race, put money on him winning the pole.

  3. Monte says:

    Yes. I find it very interesting.
    But … lots of rumors spread because they make sense, even if they aren’t true. The difficulty is in finding someone to talk about it, or finding some evidence that something is amiss. As a journalist, it’s irresponsible to go forward without some source, or someone who is credible, who will go public.
    I’m not at the track anymore. I’m not in position, and it’s not a part of my job, to sniff out things. I just write about NASCAR and make a little money off my commentaries, columns and blogs. I pay close attention, but my knowledge isn’t firsthand.
    It’s okay for me to write that “many find it suspicious” but not that that there’s concrete evidence of it being true. The way the business is changing, it can be hard to cling to the values one has always followed, but I think doing so is important.

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