Oh, Lord, Grant Me Vision, Oh, Lord, Grant Me Speed

It’s a merry-go-round, but, oddly, all they ever have is a Ferris wheel. (Getty Images for NASCAR)

Clinton, South Carolina, Wednesday, January 10, 2018, 5:45 p.m.

In 1920, Warren Gamaliel Harding rose to the presidency, using a slogan of “Back to Normalcy.” Harding’s campaign invented that word. It was previously “normality.” Harding, who died in office, is considered one of the country’s worst presidents. On the bright side, “normalcy” is now, almost a century later, an established part of the language.

By Monte Dutton

Going back to normalcy is clearly too much to ask of the Lords of Daytona Beach. How about “Establish Normalcy”? Let things lie. Give the base time to catch up. If this is like every other winter since 2004, NASCAR will soon announce its “exciting changes.”

The Chase. Ten drivers even for the final 10 races. No, uh, 12. Oh, because of unforeseen circumstances, this year it’s going to be 13. No, uh, 16. And they won’t begin the Chase even. And it won’t be the Chase. Let’s call it “the playoffs.” The 16 finalists will begin with bonus points. Chase bonus points. Don’t confuse them with regular-season bonus points. Each race will have stages.

No one wants to confront the factual notion that, ever since the changes began, the fans have dwindled. When the Lords call these changes a huge success, they are referring to them being a success with the half of the fan base that hasn’t leaked away.

Okay, let me concede that I thought the racing was a little better last year. God, what a price, though.

The distance – whether by laps, miles, ratings points, or tweets — from the Daytona 500 to the Ford 400 has more obstacles than Super Mario Brothers. It used to be, when we drove coast to coast, we’d take maps. Now we take mobile phones that tell us where to go.

The path to the Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series championship needs a free app. Otherwise, no one but Bob Pockrass is going to know what the hell is going on. Watching it all on TV is like watching Abbott and Costello perform the “Who’s on First?” routine.

So let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Let it be. Speaking words of wisdom, let it beeeeeeee.

Racing would be better if it didn’t take a rocket surgeon or a brain scientist.

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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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