By Tim Leeming
I did a little research back through my computer and, as far as I can determine from the files I have saved there, I actually delivered the first Legendtorial on December 7, 2010. A couple of weeks ago Shan told me that I had written over 87,000 words in just Legendtorials for the year of 2013. Just as Jeff likes to remind me, I do get “wordy” at times.
These Legendtorials came about, as I recall, because I was a part of the show and had been doing “Meet a Member” segments, where I would arrange to have a different member on air with us to be interviewed each week. After awhile, we ran out of members willing to be interviewed. Jeff suggested, and I am relying on my memory here, that I give an “editorial opinion” every week as I was such an opinionated old man. Actually Jeff used another word but I’m not comfortable repeating that here. I came up with the name “Legendtorial” and that stuck.
While looking back to see when these Legendtorials started, I randomly read several of the ones I had written over the years. Many, many times, I was in the midst of stirring up controversy and stating my opinion, no matter what the repercussions may have been. I was that way, and I still am that way. However, as Jeff has wanted me to keep things stirred up as that seems to draw more interest, I have noticed that I have mellowed somewhat in my approach to many subjects. Just this week one of my good friends here on the site suggested that I tone down some of my negative remarks about a certain driver in the Cup series. After the way he stated it, I realized that what I was doing was, indeed, negative as to that particular driver, and while I stand by my remarks, and will always stand by my remarks, I have enough respect for my friend to realize that my continuous harping on the same subject can get old. For that reason, I will let up on that subject for awhile. Besides, The King gets much more publicity when he states my opinion than I do.
Lets make this clear right now. I am not a negative person. The old discussion about the glass being half full or half empty doesn’t even apply to my train of thought. What I say, I mean to say. I have opinions and I express those opinions for the entertainment of those listening here or reading these later. If you find entertainment from my writing, then I appreciate it. If you don’t, then I appreciate the fact that some of you will let me know why you don’t like what I write and most of you who do that do it in such a courteous and helpful manner. I greatly appreciate that.
As for doing this portion of the show each week, it is not exactly easy. Not because writing comes hard for me, but because each week I try to find a pertinent subject and present it in such a way as to compliment that which deserves compliment, and have my say about things I don’t like or with which I don’t agree. Lord knows, I’ve blasted NASCAR and Brian France from each direction, yet still support NASCAR because it is my sport. I have problems with many of their actions, and have always had those problems. We all know about race manipulation and pole manipulation and NASCAR’s ability to achieve maximum press points from any situation. Remember the Daytona 500 pole last year and the week’s worth of worldwide publicity? Do we expect less this year? I think not.
There were three incidents this week which led to this more than personal Legendtorial tonight, but even though I consider these incidents personal to me, I think in the overall interest of all of us who gather here on RacersReunion, they are worth sharing, so here goes:
1. I received an e-mail Friday suggesting I check out a certain site that purports to be in the interest of racing. The e-mail stated that I would find some very interesting things there. While I make it a practice to check out several sites each week to see what the cyber racing world is talking about, I had not visited this particular site before. Because the friend who e-mailed me the site is someone with whom I talk almost daily, I checked out the site. What I found was total trash claiming to be a racing site. That is a problem that is caused by the freedom of the worldwide web and far be it from me to impose sanctions on any site floating around out that but I hope most race fans are quick to know when they are being fed trash. No, I won’t name the site because it is not worth me giving them any free publicity, but if you stumble across it, you will know immediately it’s the site to which I refer. Such self-sanctimonious hallucinations are not that common among mortals, only those who wrongly perceive themselves to be perfect.
2. An issue that I have addressed before, and will continue to address as long as I have a platform to do so, is the sudden overwhelming interest of certain mercenaries to capitalize on the history of the sport. All of us here, and I have mentioned this before, have a good grasp on the roots of stock car racing . We know what moonshine is, we know what dirt tracks are, and we know the proper definition of “Redneck” and the proper tone of voice in which we are to speak it. I deeply resent any one of those claiming to be presenting the history of the sport stating, proudly, how nudity has been a part of the persona of that person. Yes sir, it was absolutely set out point blank on social media this past week or two and solicited crude remarks. Remember now, this is the history of OUR sport being so demeaned. Maybe I am more of a prude than I thought I was, but I flat do not like that nor do I wish to accept it as it pertains to the history of stock car racing. Whether the individual in question gets great joy from letting the world know of her absence of clothes and good sense, I do not know, but I do know I prefer to get my history from a reliable source. Frankly I was around for most of it.
I think it is incumbent upon each of us who claims to appreciate and honor the legacy of the sport of stock car racing to stand up and tell it like it is when folks choose to serve their own bank accounts in the name of stock car history. That history means a lot to me. I think, from what I know about most of the folks here, we are all of one accord on this.
Speaking of which, even as I am writing this Legendtorial I receive an e-mail from both Dave Fulton and TMC Chase showing a photo captioned something to the effect that A.J. Foyt was receiving the rewards for winning the 1971 Daytona 500. While A. J. DID win the 1972 Daytona 500, it was Richard Petty in 1971. To further complicate the huge error by a major sports imagining entity, the picture shown bears a stronger resemblance to Cale Yarborough than it does A.J. Foyt. But, you know, I could be wrong there. I am not as perfect as some of those who flaunt their perceived knowledge on the worldwide web.
3. I encountered a young man this week on social media who is strongly dedicated to the preservation of not only the history of the sport but also the current state of the sport. I talked with him at length, and I can assure you that, in spite of what NASCAR’s research wants to tell you about the demographics of those they seek to have in the seats and in front of the television, this young man, in his 20s, knows more about what the true fan wants than any of those research folks. I say that because he speaks from the heart and seems more of my generation than one who could be my grandson.
Ok, just a few things to wind up tonight.
I am very impressed with the way the changes made to the cars allowed them to race during the Sprint Unlimited. Seems to me they were able to pass much more easily than last year. Also seems the closing rate, as was mentioned so many times, if quite strong. The Twins should be very interesting Thursday night, in prime time by the way, and should draw the interest level high for the 500.
I am not impressed with Chase Elliott after the ARCA race (sorry Cody) for a number of reasons, but we shall see how he does in the Nationwide. I am looking forward to the Nationwide event, hoping it is going to be a Nationwide regular who can hand it to the interlopers on Saturday afternoon.
I am impressed with the 8 rookies contenting for Cup Rookie of the Year. No clear cut favorite, but I sure have to think Kyle Larson is going to be a big part of that battle.
I am not impressed with Denny Hamlin. Whether or not he crossed the double yellow lines to make that winning pass is subject to an individual’s point of view. Apparently NASCAR was more interested in getting a Toyota in Victory Lane than in enforcing their rule against the yellow line violation. They have penalized others for passing when they were just as “on the line” as was Hamlin. But, that is just my opinion and my recollections.
I am looking forward to the 500. I am looking forward to the Nationwide race, the Camping World Trucks and the Twins on Thursday night. I am looking forward to a great racing season. Smoking pace cars, passing under the yellow line, Poles awarded for press coverage benefits all aside, I think NASCAR has a chance to have break out season in spite of the ridiculous Chase. But that remains to be seen. Unfortunately, from so many comments I have heard, there may not be that many folks who will actually be seeing it. Hope I’m wrong on that count, but I’ve heard more than one long time, and I mean LONG time fans, saying no more for them.
So, young Master Dillon, as you lead the field to the green flag in the iconic number 3, remember there are those who will hate you for having the audacity to run that number and there are others, like me, who will be wishing you well in your career. As I have said before, Dale Earnhardt was not defined by the number 3 but by who and what he was.
Hope everyone enjoys the return to racing this week. Daytona is big, always has been big, in the minds and hearts of stock car race fans. That’s the nature of the beast. But, remember, it was the early days of racing ON the beach, that got NASCAR where it is. Let’s remember that.