When I first decided on the title for this Legendtorial, about 7:00 a.m. Monday morning, I assumed the quote of “Beauty is in the eye of the beholder” to be one of those infamous quotes attributable to good old Willie Shakespeare. Researching the quote, I found old Willie actually wrote “Beauty is brought by the Judgment of the eye”. I guess, like me, Willie would find a way to use 10 words when two would do. It was in “Love’s Labor Lost” that Will penned that line. Actually, the concept of beauty being up to the person observing an object originated in Ancient Greece but not quoted exactly by those infamous words until the 19th Century writer, Margaret Wolfe Hungerford wrote about Molly Brawn. Another interesting fact gleamed from my research is that those words were also the subtitle of a 1960 episode of the series known as “The Twilight Zone”, the actual working title of which was “A Private World of Darkness”. Yes, I know I am long-winded here but I wanted to point out the history of the “Eye of the Beholder” quote, although what we will talk about tonight has absolutely nothing to do with beauty.
Today (Tuesday) is Election Day in the United States. Listeners in other parts of the world are at least somewhat familiar with the political system here in the U.S A. As I am writing this Monday morning, I have no idea what tomorrow will bring at the polls, but I do know that the difference of opinions in the minds of people when it comes to politics. I have been told for years that I am never to discuss religion or politics because of the emotions stirred in folks who may not agree with me. I have been kicked in the shin, under the table, at Wednesday evening church dinners more times than I can count because I overlook etiquette and spout off what I’m thinking. Ann does her best to keep me in line but I am one opinionated dude and I don’t mind letting those opinions fly. That’s who I am.
Now, to the subject at hand, the end of the race in Texas Sunday evening. Immediately after the fight in the pits, social media lit up with comments, insults, accusations and downright threats against Brad K. There were also comments pointing out that the fate suffered by Jeff Gordon was of his own making, which only resulted in more crude and disparaging remarks about Brad K. Obviously, the way the end of the race was perceived was/is in the eye of the beholder. If you’re a Gordon fan, Brad is a jerk. If you’re a Brad fan, you have to wonder what part of racing old man Wonder Boy doesn’t understand.
Here’s what I saw. There was a hole opened up when Jeff went high, having chosen to start on the outside on the restart. Brad went for the opening, which was plenty big enough when he went for it. Brad was abreast Jeff Gordon when Jeff moved down and made contact with Brad. Brad was up to Jimmie’s door. If you watched the race, you saw this. If you cared enough to watch the overhead shot from the Goodyear Blimp, you could clearly see that Jeff moved down on Brad and should have known Brad was there even if his spotter hadn’t pointed out that obvious fact. As the last laps on the final Green-White-Checkered were run, Kevin Harvick slammed Brad from the rear and a lesser driver would have been turned around by the move but Brad held it. Harvick got around and took second.
Clearly, Jeff saw it differently. Frankly, I could not believe it when Jeff pulled up next to Brad on pit road after the race and got out to start something. But, understanding the intensity involved in this damned Chase, I assumed Jeff would have a few words to say about his perceived injustice. When I saw Harvick joining in from the back, I wondered what it was bothering him. Obviously, his nemesis Kenseth was not included in that group. Then the punches started flying and both Jeff and Brad came away with bloody mouths. Ok, it’s time for me to stir the pot with my opinions and thoughts, so here goes.
First up, if Brad had NOT gone for that opening on the restart, I would have been highly disappointed in him. I am a fan of racing when it was racing where a driver went for an opening, or made his own opening when warranted. That type of racing is what grew the sport, not this deal of pansy drivers screaming “he raced me too hard”. You’ve heard that for sure. If Brad had not gone for that opening, and I were Roger Penske, I would have had a long talk with him about his desire to win and continue driving my cars.
Secondly, Jeff needs to watch the replay and see that he is the one who came down on Brad, not that such a move would be uncalled for as blocking has always been used to prevent losing a spot. Had Jeff not cut down a tire and crashed but instead won the race, he would have been crediting his win on the smart block he put on Brad on that restart.
Next up, Jimmie Johnson just rode for the win. If good old “Crash” Bowyer hadn’t brought out the yellow causing yet another restart, Jimmie and Brad would have raced for the win and it would have been close to a photo finish from what I was watching. As it was, Jimmie was hardly getting any attention in Victory Lane, even when his cowboy hat wouldn’t fit, because all the action was on Pit Road.
As for “Happy” Harvick, he finished second, but still felt the need to get in the Gordon-Kieslowski fracas because he believes Brad “needs to learn to fight his own battles”. Kevin, what happened to your promised battle with Kenseth? You had him in your sites more than once and did nothing. I remember being at Richmond back in September, 2001, when my son took me to that race. Seems you pushed Ricky Rudd out-of-the-way and I told my son at the time that you had picked on the wrong man. As if to prove me right, Ricky caught you and taught you a lesson. He was the first to point out your “little yap-yap mouth”.
And, as for NASCAR, you have to give it to them this time. They staged the perfect ending to the race to generate more interest in the Chase than has heretofore been possible. Such a production should have a “Made in China” tag on it somewhere as it is inconceivable to believe NASCAR had any interest in stopping the obvious confrontation when there were several NASCAR officials standing around, with helmets on, who made little or no effort to stop the fight. You wanted it, you got it, and now the publicity will ramp up for the obvious “payback” at Phoenix, which, by the way, you are already bragging about being sold out in the grandstands. Going a little further in that vein, did anyone else notice that Alan Bestwick and Dale Jarrett were so busy talking about Phoenix and Homestead that they hardly noticed they were racing in Texas?
So, in closing I would offer the following comments:
TO BRAD: You did what you were supposed to do. The folks who are giving you the grief are those who feel they are entitled to special privilege when it is you and your family who have suffered through a great deal to get you were you are. You are a Champion and will be again. Whether two more times, six, seven or more, you are a driver cut from the mold of Buck Baker, Fireball Roberts, Tim Flock, Lee Petty and others who made the sport a sport worth watching and being a part of. Hold your head high and be proud of who and what you are.
TO JEFF: I am appalled at your language last night on live TV. I know Dale, Jr. got fined for use of that word but I suppose that will not happen to you. Jeff, when you first came into the sport, I was one of your biggest supporters and very vocal on my radio talk show every Friday morning in 1993 and 1994 in that support. You came in as a young driver as my driver was retiring. I thought you would be a success, and you have been, and I was proud to support you. I must say that I am questioning that support now. I hope, when you watch the replay, especially the overhead shot, you will apologize to Brad. Also, if you had been in the position Brad was in and would not have taken that opening, then you need to retire right now and quit wasting space in starting line-up.
TO KEVIN: I have never been a fan of yours although I have tried to accept you. Watching you push Brad into that confrontation last night and then running away before you got your butt beat shows me, and others I hope, what a low-life you truly are. The sport will be much better when you take your yap-yap mouth back to California from whence you came. You disgust me. I’m sure you don’t care and that doesn’t bother me one bit. Maybe Matt Kenseth, whom I detest, will take you out again and this time I’ll have to smile. When it comes to Jeff Gordon’s name calling, I can’t use that word on here, but what Jeff called Brad, YOU surely are.
TO NASCAR: To all of you officials who stood by and let the fight happen, it is obvious you were prepared for and waiting for the drama. NASCAR management could not have asked for more in an attempt to boost the TV rating for the remaining two events. Further, it is absolutely wrong, anyway you slice it, that we have the possibility of a winless champion after Homestead when we have guys who have won more than four races. Where is the logic in that? The big “push” in this new system was a reward to win races! Really? How is that working out for you? There simply is no reasonable justification for what you NASCAR management types have done. Obviously a winless champion is going to raise even more of the WWE /NASCAR comparisons of which I am really sick and tired.
TO ALL THE LISTENERS TONIGHT (AND READERS LATER): I am fully aware the subject of this Legendtorial is in “the eye of the beholder”. I have always been a proponent of everyone to his own opinion. Having said that, if you are blaming Brad for Jeff’s misfortune, watch the overhead replay and let me have your comments. Those should be most interesting.