by: Tim Leeming
I always write these Legendtorials either on a Sunday evening, or, at the latest, on a Monday afternoon. Yet, here it is 3:00 p.m. on Tuesday afternoon, just four hours from show time, and I am just sitting down to write. It was one of those weekends where things just didn’t go as planned, or as I would have preferred them to go. Friday started with my Uncle Bobby being admitted to the hospital after two heart attacks within six minutes, so says the doctor. He says the “defib” contraption had restarted his heart twice that morning. I really don’t understand all that but I do understand never having seen anyone as weak as Bobby was when we transported him to the hospital. I spent most of Saturday at the hospital with him and, as always, the conversation turned to all the years he and I had shared together through racing. No startling new revelations, just fun to talk about all that.
Sunday morning I awoke not feeling all that well, but not really sick. Went to church and was then planning to head to the hospital. By the time we got home from church, I was really feeling lousy. I kicked back the recliner and allowed myself some time to watch the race and would go to the hospital later in the day. By the half way point of the race, I was really sick, fever, chills, everything.
As I watched the race through my fevered eyes, I imagined that the Richard Petty number 43 was leading, and I mean REALLY leading. Then I realized it was true. The blue number 43 was running away with the race in the early stage. I liked that! In fact, I was really enjoying it and even imagining, for a few brief moments, that number 43 would be in victory lane at the end of the race. But, alas, that was not to be.
Another thing I caught watching the race, and it was only shown ONE time that I know of, was the “United States of NASCAR” commercial. Did any of you see that? (Editor’s note: The Legend watches commercials. My mind has an automatic shut-off system in place when they come on. I have searched every which way but loose for this thing without result. Perhaps it was a fever-induced vision?) Starts with the cars and drivers on pit road in Darlington before the race, sometime mid sixties it looks like, and old Johnny Reb is walking through the cars with the Stars and Bars of the Confederacy streaming behind him. The commercial goes on to show some of the old races on dirt with the coupes and coaches like those Billy Biscoe maintains. The general idea of the commercial was that NASCAR had started in the Southeastern U.S., but has now grown to be a national sport. I understand NASCAR’s three top divisions run races in 22 states. I remember when I was a teenager, back in the sixties, how I wished NASCAR could attain the status of the other major sports. After all, NASCAR was my sport and I wanted it given the same honor as Major League Baseball and the NFL. Whether NASCAR has actually attained that status yet is a matter of conjecture because it seems to me that things happen that make the sport look as though it is sometimes run by buffoons.
(Ed: At this point, I have to break in to remind The Legend that the corporation now endorsing Johnny Reb with the Stars and Bars is the same corporation that barred golfer Bubba Watson from taking a parade lap at Phoenix last fall with his newly acquired “General Lee” of Dukes of Hazzard fame… which he bought, by the way, at a Barrett-Jackson auction seen live on SPEED, the same network that carries much of the supporting programming for each NASCAR race. Buffoons, you say? What a difference a year makes)
As we discussed recently, the wreck-fest that was Talladega should not be, in my opinion, a favorable rating for the sport. But that seems to be still in debate as there are those who want to say that race fans are only in the sport for the wrecks. At least that commercial leads me to believe, again, that NASCAR is paying attention to what we say here on RacersReunion. We have been preaching that mantra for at least four years and nothing was ever mentioned about it and now they are running a decent commercial for the old days. Maybe there is hope for the sport. I know it appears we are watching the death of the sport, but I would rather believe we are, perhaps, starting to see the rebirth. I hope so.
Now, speaking of wrecks, what was going on in Kansas Sunday? I would guess it was an evil curse from the wicked witch of the west who followed Dorothy back to Auntie Em’s and jinxed the place. Drivers who usually do not wreck race cars were wrecking race cars. Many of the cars were banged up pretty bad and how Jimmie Johnson ever got that number 48 home is something I can’t understand. I guess those cars are tough, for him to have torn it up that badly and still finish on the lead lap AND in the top ten. I had figured he was done.
And then there was the Danica Patrick wreck. I loved Landon Cassill’s comment that she needs to learn to wreck others without wrecking herself. However you slice that one, it was funny! So now Danica is going after Landon next race. Oh, and Kyle Busch is going after Ryan Newman next race! This will be getting interesting with the four races remaining. I hope those folks can take care of business with one another without involving others, most of all not involving any of the “Chasers”.
I am still hoping for Brad K. to pull off the Championship for himself and also for Dodge. I would love to see Dodge going out with a Championship. After all, I am a Mopar dude. But remember, NASCAR, you are the entity which took away the brand identity which so encompassed the sport once upon a time. You might want to consider that again since it seems sponsors are bailing pretty fast these days. Worth consideration anyway, is it not?
Now, by way of explanation of why this Legendtorial is being written at 3:00 on Tuesday afternoon. Yesterday, I was very sick with a fever of over 102 and when my fever goes that high, I am almost comatose. Today, with Ann’s urging, we made a visit to the doctor, where it was determined that I have pneumonia. Full blown, good old fashioned pneumonia. So, for the rest of this week, I’ll be under the covers staying warm and taking those pills about the size of Ray Lamm’s Smart Car.
Legend, everyone at RacersReunion wishes you a speedy recovery. Please, get well soon!
If you’ve enjoyed your visit so far, we invite you to check out the Stock Car RacersReunion site by clicking here. By simply creating a log-in you will have access to over 100,000 vintage racing photos and thousands of articles, stories and conversations, some with legendary participants whose names you will recognize. As part of our racing family, you are free to enjoy the Chat Room and all Forums will be open for discussing your passion for racing with others of like mind. RacersReunion truly is where legends and fans unite.
(Editor’s note: Tim Leeming is a member of the regular cast of the Tuesday evening racing show ” Racing Through History”, presented on Zeus Radio Network by RacersReunion®. Archives can be found by following the link. Live broadcasts can be heard from 7:00-9:00 PM every Tuesday. Please feel free to join us in the RacersReunion® Chat Room for the show.)