MAY 22, 2012 LEGENDTORIAL
by: Tim Leeming
In a way, this Legendtorial is a follow-up to last week’s edition, but only by minimal regard. If you remember last week, and if not, you can read it on the home page, I was on a rant against NASCAR, D.W., Mikey, and Danica. If I hadn’t used up my entire 15 minute segment by that time, there were a couple dozen other issues I could have ranted on about as well. I do find it interesting that from the several e-mails I received in response to that Legendtorial, only two took an adverse position to what I stated and those two took the adverse position because I was down on NASCAR, not D.W., Mikey, or Danica. Both of those e-mails made very good points to be considered and I thank the writers for taking time to write.
You may also remember during last week’s Legendtorial I said I would not be watching the All-Star Race from Charlotte. Well, I did NOT watch the pre-shows or the qualifying race for the All-Star, but by the time the All-Star event was to start, I found myself tuning in. As one of the writers said to me, NASCAR has been his life for many, many years and he can’t give it up. On the other hand, Christopher Krul wrote an excellent blog on the site as to what has happened to his love of NASCAR. Christopher made some excellent points as well. But, like me, I wonder if Christopher can truly give it up completely? I hope to hear more from him in a couple weeks. I know that I’ll be, at the very least, floating in and out of the 600 broadcast next week. Oh, and by the way, I tried to get my TV in the closed caption mode where there was no sound, but I could never figure out how to do that. I was hoping to watch the race and not have to listen to the Owensboro duo intone their worthless comments and opinions. The saving grace to that broadcast was Carl Edwards (again no “Duck Boy” reference) falling out of the race and joining the team in the Hollywood Hotel.
So, after all that, are you expecting me to be ranting about something this week? Yes, probably some of you are and some of you are anticipating that I may insult The President, The Pope, or even Jeff Gilder, but this Legendtorial is about another subject. Tonight, I want to talk about the NASCAR Hall of Fame in Charlotte and certain thoughts that have sparked in my mind over the last week. Like many of you, I was voting as often as I could for at least a full week so that I could rack up a number of votes for “the fans”. I won’t tell anyone which nominees received my votes because this is a personal issue with me as it is with most of you. While I didn’t intentionally slight anyone, my votes went to those I not only thought worthy but those who also have family members whom I know personally and to whom the induction of their family member will mean a great deal. I guess I voted more with emotion that anything. I guess it was the voting that brought the Hall of Fame issue to such prominence in my thoughts.
I can already anticipate responses to the things I will say here, but unlike The Gettysburg Address, what I say here will be forgotten soon. But to me, this is important. To some others of you, I hope what I say will be important as well.
Quoting old Will Shakespeare, “A Rose by any other name will still smell as sweet”. I would offer the opinion that certain roses by other names would actually smell sweeter. Speaking of which, I recently talked with a horticulturist who pointed out what I had not noticed. That roses don’t smell as good as they once did. Sorry Will. My point here is this: The NASCAR Hall of Fame is frowned upon by so many members here for several reasons, but the ones I hear most often are that the ones being inducted into the Hall don’t represent those who truly deserve to be there, or that inducting only 5 per year is wrong. Or that inducting Big Bill France and Bill, Jr. in the first class is wrong. Many of these issues are the same issues I have had with the Hall. But, let’s look at this a little closer and allow me to express these opinions for your consideration.
I finally went to the Hall of Fame last November at the insistence of Randy Myers. In fact, several member of Racers Reunion made that trip. I think I can speak for all of us who went and say that we had a wonderful day and that the entire experience was worthwhile. Yet, there are many here very adamant that they will not visit the HOF until a certain individual is inducted, or NASCAR changes its rules to become more like the old days. I certainly have strong feelings as to both of those issues which I have expressed so many times here.
Whether or not this is merely justification in my mind for the way I feel about the place in Charlotte or a point that was revealed to me in some deep sleep, I don’t know, but I want to offer this for your consideration.
What is in a name? THE NASCAR HALL OF FAME for instance. Many find that objectionable because it contains the word “NASCAR”. Still others object because the “Hall of Fame” does not represent all of the pioneers of the sport that should be enshrined there. So, allow me to offer this suggestion. Let’s consider, for our purposes, that we call this “The Museum of The Sport”. I offer this suggestion based on the realization that there are many artifacts in that building that represent the memories so many of us have. Entering the first floor and seeing the historic cars on the graduated banked turn is a trip back through history. As I looked at those cars, I could flash back in my mind to those same cars racing at Darlington, or at one of the many short tracks I attended over the years. That is history.
I have mentioned before, the theater, which is the first real exhibit you will see. There is a three-way split screen that runs about a 20 minute movie that contains so much historic footage of races over the years that I left with my head buzzing. Next time I go to the museum, I will watch that movie three times, concentrating each time on a different segment of the screen so I don’t miss a thing. There is truly some footage on there that has never been seen anywhere else, I don’t believe.
The second floor is more technical and geared towards the younger fans who want the hands on of changing a tire, of fueling a car, or perhaps, for an additional charge, actually driving a full size simulator of their favorite driver. I didn’t really do any of those things although I was tempted to try the race announcing, just to see if I AM better than D.W. Maybe I was intimidated by what the outcome of that could have been.
It is the third floor where the long time race fan is going to find the exhibits to keep you engaged for hours. I know we spent well over an hour on the third floor and I don’t feel like I saw half of it. I did discover, in research for this Legendtorial, that the video shot by our own Devin Alexander is on You Tube and is, in fact, about the second or third hit when you search You Tube. That same video is on the site here and is about 9 minutes long. Those of you who haven’t seen it need to take a look.
Oh, and by the way, it is the City of Charlotte that actually runs the place. Not that I am a resident of Charlotte, nor even a big fan of the city, but if your dislike of NASCAR influences your decision, remember it is Charlotte which will benefit more financially from your visit than will NASCAR, or at least that’s the way I understand it.
So, bottom line here is that I propose the place be named “The Stock Car Racing Hall of Memories”. The Hall of Fame can have its place inside the building and be designated as such, rather than have the connotation of the entire place being only where NASCAR arbitrarily designates members. Whether or not our feelings for NASCAR are as warm and fuzzy as they were years ago is not as important as having a desire to acknowledge at least an attempt to preserve some of the history of the sport. Think about it. Let us refer to the place as “The Stock Car Racing Hall of Memories” without that little HOF on which we can’t all agree being a part of it.
Oh, and I can now confirm, without any doubt whatsoever, that officials with NASCAR either listen to this show or read the home page articles. This past week I started receiving all the NASCAR promos at my email@example.com e-mail address, which I have never used for any other purpose except purposes related directly to RacersReunion. That e-mail is not on file with anything NASCAR. I get all my NASCAR notifications to my other e-mail. Maybe NASCAR will read this one and realize that we don’t hate NASCAR (Hate is such a strong word) but that we point out issues we would like considered. NASCAR, if you’re interested, I’ll be happy to present certain issues to you, all of which I’m sure you’ve heard and are constantly hearing, but ignore. We care. Why don’t you?
E-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org. Follow me on twitter at @legendtim83