I am assuming, rightly so I hope, that everyone listening knows what an acronym is. Not to insinuate lack of knowledge of the part of any listener, but in as much as Webster’s On-line Dictionary refused to recognize the word, I had to wonder. I was looking up the “exact” meaning of the word to give more direct emphasis meaning to my Legendtorial tonight. Not finding it on Webster’s On-Line, I ended up, instead, at Wikipedia. In short, Wikipedia advises that an acronym is an abbreviation formed by the initial letters of a phrase or sometimes by words contracted together in a catchy phrase. For instance, everyone here knows that “NASCAR” is the acronym for The National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing. We will not belabor the point that the “T” from “the” and the “F” from “for” are not acknowledged, nor will be mention that the term “Stock Car” should by definition imply “Auto Racing”.
Of course, the U.S. Government is made up of more acronyms than we would have time to discuss in 20 Legendtorials. When I was in the Navy, I learned the “Bupers” was for “The Bureau of Personnel”. There was CINPACFLEET, and a couple thousand more. One I learned in the Navy was F.U.B.A.R. There were two definitions for FUBAR but let me clarify that the language of the sailors is much more colorful, shall we say, and for that reason I will substitute the “F” in FUBAR with the word “Fouled”. Consequently, for tonight, FUBAR will be interpreted as “Fouled up beyond all repair” or, as sometimes used, “Fouled up beyond all recognition”. Either way we use it, this is apparently what we have going on in NASCAR these days.
Example: Everyone, fans, drivers, owners, sponsors, and everyone else in the world of NASCAR could not begin un-FUBAR qualifying for the Cup race at Talladega. Probably the one person who enjoyed the process was Brian Vickers as he managed to snag the pole in that convoluted mess that unfolded under a crisp Alabama Fall Sky. Saturday afternoon that was all that was discussed anywhere in the NASCAR realm. It was an unbelievable mess. A mess that, incidentally, cost Ricky Stenhouse a starting position and he missed the race. Happy sponsor there for sure.
But the real issue of FUBAR reasoning today is the CHASE. CHASE is the acronym for “Can’t Have Any Serious Enjoyment”. There are those who like this new Chase but I’ve been on record since the inception of the first Chase as hating the format. There are those who hate it and say so over and over again with no response whatsoever from NASCAR other than to make a change every year that even further complicates the naming of a Champion. I really made an effort, when the new format was announced in January, to find positive things to say about the format but I recall ending up with “wait and see how it works out”. Well, we have done that, or some of that at least.
We are now, after Talladega, down to 8 drivers who will be whittled down to four to face the final countdown in Homestead. Among those eliminated Sunday were Dale Earnhardt, Jr., Jimmie Johnson, Kyle Busch, and Kasey Kahne. How is that suiting you Brian? The most popular driver out. The man going for a seventh title out. The man who has finished in the top ten of all five previous Chase races, out. The man who “lucked” his way in at the last-minute, out. Now you have Brad who has won 6, Jeff and Joey who have won four each Kevin who has won 3. You’ve got Carl who has won 2, Denny who has won once and Ryan and Matt who have won zilch! But wait, hold the phone! Put the Sprint I-phone on hold! Word has come out as I write this Monday morning, that Ryan Newman’s car was found to be too low on both sides of the back AFTER the race Sunday. This would leave, as I understand it, the possibility for a deduction of points from the Newman car which would remove him from his position in the Chase. But wait again! Even that slight of hand by the all-powerful Brian Z. France will not reinstate Junior, or Jimmie, or Kyle, but would, instead, put Kasey Kahne back in The Chase. Not exactly an answer to the fan outrage that has already started, in fact which started immediately upon NASCAR’s declaration of the Chase field after the race. It is unlikely that it will end with Homestead either.
The social media sites I frequent each day already have more anti-NASCAR comments than I have seen in at least four years. Dale, Jr. fans are livid. Jimmie Johnson fans in particular and Hendrick Motorsports fans in general are fuming. Kyle Bush fans cannot believe that he was entrenched in third place in the points going into Talladega and left there completely out of the picture. For once, I can’t fault Kyle for declining to be interviewed. This was not an accident of his own making and he was performing the best he ever has under the Chase scenario.
So now we have Martinsville, Texas and Phoenix to lead us into the final round of eliminations. In fact, I think that is the ridiculous name they’ve given to this round of the Chase. I really grew very tired, very quickly, of all the new terminology thrown out this year by NASCAR for this end of the season calamity. All this clamor for “Driver Nations” is insulting to a true race fan. It was the Junior Nation at one time and it meant something to his fans. I doubt the same can be said now. The entire scenario of each driver being a “Nation” is so absurd you have to wonder what misguided marketing idiot came up with that. And this “grid” talk. Disgusting. How in the world they could get these drivers to agree to make such totally asinine commercials for the Chase Grid should baffle me but then when I stop to realize that NASCAR treats the drivers like Scarlett O’Hara treated Prissy in “Gone With the Wind”, it make complete sense. Too bad really, it is shameful.
So, is NASCAR “FUBARED” as in “beyond all repair” or “beyond all recognition”? You be the Judge. I don’t think it is fair to say beyond all repair because surely, at some point, intelligence will emerge and things will start to come around to a better light. After all, Darlington is getting Labor Day weekend back next year. As for beyond all recognition, I think, for me, it has somewhat already done that. Rex White said in an interview a couple of weeks ago that the only things still the same as when he raced are the green flag and checkered flag. He went on to say that those may change soon. He certainly wouldn’t bet against it and neither would I.
I really hope that we don’t end the year with a win less Champion which could happen if Matt Kenseth sneaks into his way into it. Or, say Ryan Newman, though I would much rather see Newman fall into the spot than Kenseth. Imagine, if you will, this scenario: We go to Homestead with the final four being Keselowski, Gordon, Logano and Kenseth. Say Keselowski, Gordon and Logano each win one of the three races before Homestead which would give Brad seven, and Joey and Jeff with five each. Kenseth finishes just high enough to keep the fourth spot in the points. Then, we go to Homestead and, just for fun purposes, something happens where Logano finishes 43rd, Gordon 42nd, Keselowski 41st, and Kenseth 40th. Kenseth would be your winless Champion. Was not this Season supposed to emphasize WINS????? Wasn’t the entire pre-season publicity machine of Brian Nation spouting the mantra of the emphasis being on wins? Imagine it folks. A win less Champion when others have 5, 6, or 7 wins. That doesn’t even take into account the possibility that Denny Hamlin could sneak into that Championship spot as well with his one win or maybe another one in the three remaining races.
I do have to throw this out in parting. One acronym I do enjoy is the D.A.N.I.C.A. which is “Does Anyone Notice I Crash A lot” or, if you happen to catch her in-car that could be changed to “Does Anyone Notice I Curse A lot”. And, for you English majors out there, I am well aware that “A Lot” is two words, but if NASCAR can have a Chase Grid, I can have what I want in acronyms.