Blackballing is Still Alive and Well in NASCAR
Over the last few years, there have been several accredited journalists who have sort of disappeared off of covering the weekly racer-tainment events. Nobody really thought to ask or gave a second thought about it because of the newspapers and some web sites laying off staff. I have recently found out that several of these journalist were in fact blackballed by someone within NASCAR’s media-handling function which in turn led to them being laid off because they could no longer cover the racer-tainment. Now that there are some new folks running the media and PR stuff, hopefully they’ll go back and take those blackballed journalists off the list. I don’t care if they’re Kool Aid drinkers or not, blackballing them just because of some personality conflicts or because they reported the truth about what’s happening is no reason to take away a person’s livelihood.
New Race Fan Council in the Works?
Dustin Long, who covers the race circuit from February through November, wrote a recent piece called “Your Time to Be Heard NASCAR Nation”. In it, he proposes a group which will give their input to the real concerns of race fans instead of the current one that exists. In case you’re not familiar with the current Fan Council, it’s little more than a marketing survey group than a real council which voices fans concerns from what I’ve heard from several members of it. Dustin expects to have the first survey going out around January 21st. Will the bosses in Daytona Beach listen for a change or will they continue to keep their heads buried in the sand like ostriches? That’s the multi-million dollar question.
A Reason Behind the Dislike of the Media?
It seems that Tony Stewart, who is know to have an extreme dislike towards the media, seems to have been involved in an altercation in Australia. The only way we’re finding out about it here in the USA is because of, drum roll please, the media. That and the internet. I can understand Tony getting upset with reporters asking the same stupid question 14 different ways. I even enjoy some of his comebacks and snappy remarks to the less-than-stellar reporters. But to dislike the media as a whole because they have a job to do and questioning the current sad state of affairs that is NA$CAR? I’m sure there’s more to this Australia story that we’ll here about later and probably things we’ll never hear about regarding this. But in this day and age with reporters hungry for stories involving celebrities behaving badly, it’s better to err on the side of safety and behave yourself. Especially overseas. You could end up in a jail for a while before your case is even heard even on something involving physical assault. Or in the case of a celebrity, you could be deported, if you’re lucky. Maybe there will be more to this story as time progresses. I’m sure the media here will be chomping at the bit when Tony returns to query him as to what happened. And he’ll have the same inane reporters asking the same questions 14 different ways. I wonder if he’ll get a call from the Ivory Towers in Daytona Beach informing him he’s being fined for actions detrimental to stock car racing since it might tarnish NA$CAR’s image overseas? Maybe it’s time for Tony to go back to anger management again like he had to do when he was racing for Joe Gibbs?
Buyer Beware, Chapter 2
The same personality as in the last episode tried luring a person from another sport into a partnership for a race team. Everything seemed to be fine as long as the NA$CAR personality was in talks with this sports figure. The sports figure’s financial adviser asked to see all the paperwork regarding the team, sponsorship, and contracts surrounding this proposed team. As soon as that happened, the NA$CAR personality immediately started talking trash about the sports figure. Promotional materials that were at the NA$CAR personality’s business were tossed out. Meanwhile, the sports figure’s boss, who also had the NA$CAR personality as an employee, heard about what was going on and immediately terminated the NA$CAR personality’s contract with that organization.
The Daily Show Strikes!
I don’t know how many folks watch The Daily Show but they did a piece on NA$CAR. And as The Daily Show is a semi-comedy news show (semi-comedy because it’s only funny half the time) which uses satire, some of it you have to take tongue-in-cheek. Here’s the link to the YouTube clip:
Now while there’s some funny and outlandish things in the clip, there is a nugget of truth. How to get NA$CAR back to being NASCAR. Return back to the roots of what was once a sport instead of the current racer-tainment we‘re served up and expected to swallow and enjoy. Sort of like Kevin Bacon in Animal House when he’s bent over getting paddled as a part of his pledging a fraternity. (“Thanks you sir may I have another?”) That means cars that resemble what we actually drive, my usual rants about TV coverage, real leadership, real racers, catering to the Short Attention Span Crowd, etc. Hey Jon Stewart, if you need some more ideas on improving NA$CAR, drop me a line.
Blast From the Past
I had wondered how Ray Evernham had gotten the UAW to sponsor his cars back when he owned the team and how the UAW was able to sponsor races. This seems to answer the question of where the actual sponsor money came from. This is from the Mackinac Archives:
“The UAW also operates joint funds with each of the Big Three automakers for the retraining of laid-off workers. The funds were set up in the early 1980’s, when recession and foreign competition led to large-scale layoffs, then expanded tremendously when the automakers recovered and prospered.
The joint funds have made questionable expenditures such as sponsoring NASCAR racers Bill Elliott and Casey Atwood (sponsorship of a NASCAR racer cost between $8 million and $16 million annually) and two NASCAR races, the UAW-GM Quality 500 and the UAW Daimler/Chrysler 400. The autoworkers union also teamed up with Daimler/Chrysler to put on a “Hollywood Showcase” at the 2000 Democratic Convention. A UAW-Ford conference in Las Vegas reportedly drew 3,000 delegates and guests.”
And who was and still is the marketing company for Dodge? Why none other than the one owned by Faux King Brian. Talk about some folks not doing any due diligence on this sponsorship. Daimler/Chrysler missed it as Evernham was the flagship Dodge team at the time, Faux King Brian’s marketing company missed it as Dodge‘s marketing company, Ray Evernham missed it, and NA$CAR missed it on the team and race sponsorships.
For those who have forgotten the real reason behind the restrictor plate, it goes back to following the money trail. It’s not so much to slow the cars down to keep the fans and drivers safe but to keep the track’s and sanctioning body’s insurance rates down. And don’t forget, the restrictor plate is just a temporary measure to slow the cars down until the sanctioning body can figure out another means to do so. Restrictor plates… a temporary solution since 1987.
It Hasn’t Gotten Ugly Yet
While it hasn’t turned ugly yet, more and more writers are starting to question the marketing genius in charge of the sanctioning body down in the Ivory Towers of Daytona Beach. More and more articles are appearing about shortening the schedule, dumping the play-off system in favor of a 36 race season with more points being given to race winners, and the newest item to be added to the racer-tainment, ethanol. And it’s not just fans or bloggers writing about it. There have been a few of the accredited journalists questioning the infinite wisdom of the Ivory Towers. This is a step in the right direction in my opinion. The more the accredited and respected journalists start questioning the way things are being run and the more of them that get on board, the better for the sport and the fans if it can result in the needed changes to save what was once the most thrilling form of motorsports around.
Save the Nashville Fairgrounds
I don’t know how many folks ever had the chance to see the racing at the old fairgrounds speedway. Some of the greats like David Pearson, The King, and others provided a lot of excited racing there. Now, the city wants to turn it into a development. If you’re tired of seeing decent, historical short tracks disappear, then go to the web site and sign the petition to keep this piece of history alive. We’ve already lost too many historic tracks as it is.