Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Tuesday, February 8, 2011

Sam Ard's Birthday, Daytona Repaving, Media Surprise, More Ethanol Stuff

Sam Ard’s Birthday Approaching
I know times are tough right now for everybody and I know I‘m going on about the situation with Sam Ard. Like Sam, my grandmother had Alzheimer’s and luckily she passed before it had reached the point where she required constant care. Seeing what was happening to her was definitely sad. She was a strong-willed, hard-headed, out-spoken woman who had taken care of herself most of her life. Although I was appreciative of her neighbors and my relatives who were taking care of her, it was a heartbreaker to see her like that.

So if you could please send Sam Ard a birthday card with a $25 Walmart card in it, you’d definitely brighten both his and his wife’s day as they’re trying to make it on Social Security, which is no easy feat. If you can’t send the Walmart card, just send a birthday card. They’ll appreciate it just the same. Sam’s birthday is on Valentine’s Day so if you want to send him a card, here’s the address:

Sam Ard
1237 Bass Rd.
Pamplico, SC 29583

Daytona Track Repaving - The Lost Section

It seems that although they repaved the tri-oval part of the track, they did nothing to the road course section. From what I heard from some folks who were there, some of whom were racing on it, the road course section is in really bad shape and they wonder why it too wasn’t repaved. I guess that’s what happens when you spend millions of dollars on an infield amusement park and zoo instead of what‘s really their bread and butter. The track itself.

Growth Energy & The Switch to Ethanol by NASCAR
I’ve been doing some research on Growth Energy. I’ve been going through their Form 990’s that they have to file with the IRS. The PR release from NA$CAR is a bit misleading. Growth Energy isn’t an advocacy group. Growth Energy itself holds the 501c6 status, which is for trade groups not environmental and research efforts. It turns out the trade group is specific to Midwest ethanol sources, and cuts out support for the Virginias-and-Carolinas biomass-to-cellulose-ethanol programs that were investigated when big tobacco started moving overseas. Two of the paid consultants are former Army General Wesley Clark and former Iowa Congressman Jim Nussle.

Two companies are operating with names similar to American Ethanol (a la standard stock scam and con-man practices) and the one Growth Energy claims as a business partner is missing a LOT of contact info! I wonder why?

I am Surprised by Some of the Media
Some of the lamestream media has actually surprised me over the off-season with articles regarding the changes to the Shoot-out, the points system, and even the play-off system. And they’re pointing out things I have over the last 7 years, like the dumbing down of NA$CAR and how the continuous changes are driving fans away. When the lamestream media starts to turn on NA$CAR, that’s when you know they’re in big trouble.  

Daytona 500 & First Half of the Season Coverage

I don’t know how many of you read the Daly Planet article about how David Hill said the coverage will be but if you thought the coverage in the past was bad, it’ll be worse this season.

"What this sport is all about is the driver. Everything else in NASCAR is an afterthought. People follow the sport because the drivers are heroes because that’s what the fans want to hear, superheroes that can do things that only very, very few people can or will. Anyone can be a crew chief. Anyone can be a tire changer. Anyone with the technical ability. Just think about what it takes to drive a car 200 miles an hour. ee sports: Mountain climbing, bullfighting and auto racing. All the rest of the games."

First off, he got it wrong about this being a sport and I refer once again to the sworn affidavit from NA$CAR’s VP of Racing Operations who said that “NA$CAR is family oriented sports entertainment”. Where he did get it right is that everything else is an afterthought. The marketing takes precedence over the actual racing. The promotion of drivers takes precedence over the racing. So the racing isn’t important but serves as a backdrop to marketing NA$CAR’s sponsors and promoting the drivers into cult hero status. Anyone can be a crew chief? Then let’s see Mr. Hill get on top of Dale Jr’s pit box and see how long he last. Anyone can be a tire changer? Then let’s see Mr. Hill sling those tires around and try to do it in under 14 seconds. I don’t know what it takes to drive at 200 mph but I do know what it takes to drive at 160 mph. Which is more dangerous? 200 mph on an enclosed banked race track with only 42 other cars competing or 160 mph on the German Autobahn with thousands of cars? And not everyone who’s technically oriented can be a crew chief, mechanic, or tire changer. Ryan Newman, who has an engineering degree, can’t exactly get out there and sling tires around or handle a dump can. He might be able to do some mechanical work in the garage though. And as NA$CAR is sports entertainment, that means it’s a game and not a sport.

"Fox is going to concentrate on the driver, too. Right across the board. We’re putting the emphasis back where it belongs on the driver. We probably haven’t utilized Darrell (Waltrip’s) inner knowledge enough. Darrell is the only one on our (announcing) team, in reality who is a champion. He understands the motivation and what goes on. I don’t know. Is it instinct or is it skill? This is something that I’ve talked to the Alain Prosts about and the Jackie Stewarts. What is it? There’s something that drives them. What we’re going to be doing at Fox and what we’re going to be doing at SPEED is telling stories of drivers.

So it’s going to be a lot like last season where they only show the usual Chosen Ones and Jabber Jaw’s favorites, plus whoever ponies up the most mention money that doesn’t fall into those categories. It’ll also mean more in-car camera shots. That means they’ll be so locked into promoting the chosen drivers, using the in-car cameras and gimmick shots, and cluttering the screens up with graphics that we’ll more than likely miss the wrecks, the beating and banging at Martinsville and Darlington, and some of the pit road action. And if you weren’t happy about the amount of jaw-jacking Jabber Jaws did before, Mike Joy and Larry Mac aren’t going to be able to get a word in edge-wise with this new “coverage”. On the plus side that should mean less Moe Ron Myers and Hollywood Hambone.   
Appearance is Reality
That is a term used by Vince McMahon of the WWE and later by Mafia Mike of NA$CAR. And it definitely applies to the new points system, especially when the play-offs start. By making it appear close, the master marketing genius in Daytona thinks people will be fooled into believing that the points race will be close. Unfortunately for him, the fans who have been following the sport for a while and don’t have an attention deficit already know it’s nothing more than smoke and mirrors. The same smoke and mirrors that have been used since the play-off system was implemented, continued when the generic car was introduced, and still continues to this day in an attempt to fool the fans. Unfortunately, the only person being fooled is the head fool himself.

Continuing Promise 2011

The USNS Comfort, a Navy medical ship, will be undertaking a 4 month mission of providing humanitarian assistance and training to a number of Caribbean island nations and countries in Central and South America. Both the Comfort and her sister ship the USNS Mercy have been used in a number of humanitarian missions as well as for their designed mission of providing medical support to combat operations. The Comfort’s 4 month mission starts in April and will be made up of both military and volunteer civilian personnel. So to the crewmembers of the Comfort and the volunteers of Continuing Promise 2011, my thanks for doing what others are unwilling to do.



  1. Focus on the driver?

    NASCAR is so blind. In this day and time, with all the things happening in the world, a NASCAR driver, and anybody else foolish enough to drive around a racetrack at 200 MPH is more likely considered an idiot and/or a clown rather than a hero. For goodness sake, face reality.

    Do we really want our children to grow up to be NASCAR drivers? Heaven forbid!

  2. Speed has always been something folks have enjoyed for the daring involved in it whether it was racing horses, chariots, airplanes, or cars and the men and women who did this were considered heroes because of their daring-do to risk life and limb in this form of competition.

    Racing is still dangerous. And depending on the type of racing it is determines the amount of danger there is.

    Parents don't raise their kids up expecting they'll grow up to be any sort of driver or racer. In the old days, they stereotypically wanted them to be doctors, lawyers, clergy, teacher, or scientist. Nowadays I guess they want them to be the next Bill Gates.

    Back in the old days, racing was a way to make a living for some folks who came from certain parts of the country. It was a way for them to escape the rural surroundings and see the country. Or to make a living as a driver or mechanic. It use to be sort of an everyman's sport. People drove cars and could identify with the thrill of speed. Nowadays, some people can't even find their gas cap without being shown.

    NASCAR hasn't done itself any favors by promoting personalities over the sport and the cars. It creates a false perception that the drivers are more important than the cars they drive. They're both equally important.

    I agree, there are a lot of problems in the world. And not everybody's kid is cut out to be a driver in NASCAR. But given a choice between a driver who is living a decent life and keeping his nose clean being a hero versus a stick and ball player who uses drugs, steroids, beats women,and fathers hundreds of kids out of wedlock and doesn't support them, I think I'd rather have my kid admiring a NASCAR driver.

    Had my son chosen to make a living racing and made it to NASCAR, I'd have supported him the same way I have with every other job he's had. As parents, we may not like what our children do for a living but we still support them. Whether they're an astronaut or flipping a burger or everything in between.

  3. Another great column Mikie!

  4. And we saw the dangers of speed and small cars in a serious crash in the Rally of Andorra Sunday when F1 superstar Robert Kubia (POL; Renault*) was seriously injured when a Skoda minicar (Skoda is a Volkswagen brand in Eastern Europe; NASCAR will sanction the DTM's North American series when it debuts in 2013 under DTM rules -- VW's Audi, Daimler's Mercedes, and BMW are the three brands racing there. Hope GM's Opel gets back once the Whammy is gone, but that would switch to Cadillac if Opel returns for the NASCAR series. The Skoda in question is based on a previous-generation Volkswagen Polo; the current version will be sold next year in the US) he was racing in the rally crashed. This was an F1 driver that was on his way up, winning the Air Canada Grand Prix in 2008 in Sauber's only win.

    Daytona will also likely be where the winner of the CBS "Undercover Boss" NASCAR contest will appear.

    * Because of legal litigation, I shall not use the new name until it is confirmed.

  5. I've seen several pictures of Kubia's car and it was a mess.I haven't kept up with Skoda since I left Europe back in '91. That last ones I saw bore a striking resemblance to Fiats.

  6. Oh, God. That's just what we need is more from Darryl Waltrip. Bring back the damned gopher.

  7. Hey Mike, here's one that's slipped through the cracks. Compare the number of mandatory official sponsor decals on the cars today versus, say, 5 years ago.

  8. Yes the new point system is smoke and mirrors. When the old system had a possible 15 points between first and second and the new one is 5, that is definetly Brain Fart trying make all the "game 7 moments". It is great listening to NA$CRAP radio selling all this a the greatest thing. And what a shame all the "kool-aid" drinking fans buying it. Keep up the fight Mike. Going out Thursday and getting a Walmart card for Sam. It is a shame that a family of billionares can't help one of the guys who made them there money.

  9. Thanks Anon 12:10. The Ard's will appreciate it.

    Good question Anon 3:41. I know the fuel, tire, and sanctioning body are mandatory. Pole Winner is optional. You have to participate in that sponsor's program to have one of those decals. As to the rest, good question as to which ones are mandatory and which ones are contingency.