A Voice For The Fans ~ Is Over-hype a Word?
by: PattyKay Lilley
Hey racefans, did you hear the news? Junior won at Michigan! Yes, no kidding! He really did WIN! Of course, Jimmie Johnson, Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski all have two victories each this year. Who cares? Junior WON! It’s wonderful, awesome, fabulous, fan-damn-tastic, and any other adjectives you care to insert! Junior finally took the checkered flag… but the sun will set in the west tonight and rise in the east tomorrow, just the same as it always has. The price of a gallon of either gasoline or milk will not be affected and the Presidential election will still be scheduled for November.
If that all sounds just a tad sarcastic, well… ya think? Don’t misunderstand; I like Junior as well as any other driver out there, but good grief, the ladies and gentlemen of the fourth estate are killing him!
Likewise, they are killing Danica Patrick in the same way. Those two are huge personalities in the sport today, larger than life, as they say, yet neither has done anything to deserve the massive hype and overkill they are receiving. Thank your lucky stars that they are not a couple or an “item” as they say on the rag shows on TV. That would end all racing in NASCAR in favor of an endless stroll through Camelot. Please know that I gagged on saying that.
Beyond that, Junior is second in the point standings. Praise the Lord! The lad is having a good year! Alas, that year is not even half over, and the time to celebrate is not yet at hand. There’s a quiet fellow named Kenseth sitting in first place, but it is the story of poor Matt’s life that no one talks about him. They didn’t even talk about him when he won the last Winston Cup in 2003. (I did, but “they” didn’t) His Championship was referred to as “boring”, and indeed seemed to have spawned the horrid system we see today… the one they call “The Chase.” Nope, neither fans nor media seem to care about Matt at all… but Junior won a race!
At the risk of not being considered a “proper” member of the motorsports media, which indeed is something I strive not to be, I’d like to suggest that there are at least one or two other stories in the wacky world of NASCAR that are at least as worthy of ink and air time as the three-day marathon of stories about the win at Michigan and O*M*G*, the kiss is Victory Lane. You folks do realize that Junior is 37-years old and doesn’t need permission to kiss a girl, don’t you? On that note, even though I will be a fan of his father for a lifetime, isn’t it about time he was allowed to just be Dale? It is his name, after all, and I see no disrespect in letting him use it.
In perusing the points, I see one driver that stands out as outstanding… pun intended… and that’s the older gentleman in 23rd place. That, gentle readers, is Mark Martin. Usually there would be nothing spectacular about 23rd place until you realize that the rest of the “regular” drivers have 15 races in their total, while Mark has run only 12. Even 3 races down to the field, he is good enough to maintain that position and collect three poles along the way, all at the tender age of 53. Go Mark!
And as long as I brought up the subject of regular drivers, has it crossed anyone’s mind that there are only 30 drivers that have raced all 15 races this year? Has it further crossed anyone’s mind that thirty is five LESS than are guaranteed a spot in any given race? Just looking at that stat and thinking about it kinda upsets the equilibrium doesn’t it? Something is way out of balance there. If you are thinking that NASCAR is guaranteeing spots in every race to teams that have every intention of starting, parking and collecting a check at the pay window, you would be correct. What could possibly be wrong with that picture?
For openers, it tends to make a mockery of the whole sport. Where is the challenge? Why do the fans no longer come to the track on qualifying day? Why even bother to qualify at all? Let’s just have the cars not in the exalted top-35 run a Hooligan race for placement at the rear of the field. NASCAR thought so little of qualifying that for the year 2011, they changed the entire format of the “Busch Clash”/”Budweiser Shootout” from a race for pole winners to some sort of clone of the All-Star race. Nice going fans, because it was You, the FANS, that convinced them what a mistake that was and our pole winners’ race was back this year. (Wasn’t it amusing to hear the FOX crew telling us all what a great idea it was to have a race for pole winners… as though there had never been one before?)
And then, gentle readers, let’s look at an example of over-hype in the opposite direction. Over the weekend, one of our members at RacersReunion posted an article from ESPN about a small dust-up on Saturday between Kurt Busch and Marty Smith. I posted my answer on the Forum Board, and it presents well the “other side of the coin.”
Ya know what? Despite the fact that no one gives a ding-dong what I think, I’m gonna tell you anyway. Just read that piece over a couple of times and then tell me what in Hades Kurt did wrong THIS time? Is he somehow honor-bound to smile pretty for Marty Smith’s camera? It is my contention that the media are ganging up on Kurt like sharks that smell blood in the water, and they are making Kurt the chum.
Kurt has a temper; that is an established fact. He is noted for not being a good interview, and will never win a personality contest. That’s just fact. So why, in the name of all that’s holy, do they continue to follow him, aggravate him and bait him? Is that some folks’ idea of fun? Well, it’s not MY idea of fun in any way.
Go back over the articles on Jayski’s page for the past two weeks. I’d wager without even peeking that perhaps a full 50% of them are about Kurt. Are we having fun yet?
A while back, when I decided that I was ready to return to writing actively for RacersReunion, Jeff asked me what I liked to write. I answered, “Whatever the rest of them are not writing about.” Motorsports, especially when narrowed to one sanctioning body, can be made boring when everything one sees, hears or reads is about the SAME THING!
It is NOT news that it’s easy to upset Kurt Busch. The NEWS yesterday was that the same Kurt Busch brought an ill-handling racecar to a third-place finish. For anyone else, that would produce good news. For Kurt, it’s yet another barb from yet another member of the exalted MEDIA! There have been many times when I have shrunk from even being considered a part of that term, and indeed, this is beginning to be one of them.
~PattyKay… maybe not such a great interview my own self!
Jeff, the HMWIC (Head Man What’s In Charge) around here, posted back, “Was that a hissy fit?”
I answered back, “Pretty much, but I can do better if you really [tick] me off.”
And on that note, be well gentle readers, and remember to keep smiling. It looks so good on you!
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