Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Curtis Turner for 2016 HOF

Thursday, November 10, 2011

Sensationalism, North Wilkesboro Rumor, Shrubbery Pruned, and Other Things

Sensationalism versus Competent Journalism
With the recent arrest and indictment of Jeremy Mayfield, a number of supposed news sites and racing web sites have been making some rather phenomenal claims regarding the arrest, implying things that aren‘t true, or just plain misreporting or misrepresenting what has happened.
One example is a couple of news sites said that Mayfield was arrested for having illegal designer bath salts. Nowhere on the arrest record, search warrant inventory, or indictment is there any mention of illegal bath salts. Another example was that Mayfield was arrested for sales and possession of marijuana. Unlike these supposed accredited reporters, I did some investigating on the marijuana charge that was reported. It seems that a James Bryant showed up at the Mayfield property well after the search warrant was executed and Mayfield was being booked at the jail. The police searched Mr. Bryant’s vehicle and found a small amount of marijuana, which falls into the category of personal possession not intent to sell, and a marijuana pipe. Mr. Bryant’s marijuana and pipe were confiscated, he was issued a citation, and allowed to leave. Nowhere on the search warrant or inventory is there an amount of marijuana connected to Mayfield which would be considered enough for sales and possession. The only mention of marijuana is connected to Mr. Bryant. But rather than issue a retraction or correction, these sites just let it hang out there.
Some so-called journalist have tried implying that Mayfield is a drug dealer because of his gun collection or that he’s getting ready to incite an armed insurrection or arm a militia group. Mayfield is a gun collector and enjoys doing some plinking and target practice from time to time. While 69 guns might seem like a lot to some folks, it’s nothing compared to some gun collectors I’ve read about who own guns numbering into the hundreds to include fully automatic weapons such as the old Thompson sub-machine gun, the venerable M-2 Browning .50 cal. heavy machine gun, M-3 “grease guns”, Uzi’s, and others. And the guns in Mayfield’s range from antique firearms to current modern day rifles and pistols. Nowhere is there a fully automatic weapon. One site tried implying that the fact that Mayfield has pistols in his gun collection to him being a drug dealer. This is plain and simply an example of yellow journalism at its finest.
Until Mayfield actually goes through the judicial process on this latest debacle, I would suggest that these “wonderful accredited” journalist go back, look at what’s been actually turned up, look at what they’ve written, and either issue retractions or corrections to their mis-statements. I’m not sticking up for Mayfield here, I’m just saying that there’s a lot of sensationalism going on that’s being passed off as competent reporting and it’s bad reporting in an attempt to generate a lot of hits for those web sites.
Shrubbery Penalized 
In what I view as being little more than a slap on the wrist for pushing Ron Hornaday into the outside retaining wall under caution at Texas Motor Speedway last Friday night, NA$CAR fined Shrubbery $50,000 and placed him on probation until Dec. 31. Big whoop. I would’ve went directly with the back-up threat of indefinite suspension. Carl Long's crew chief got fined $200,000 and Long gets docked 200 owner's and driver's points, and both Long and his crew chief were suspended for 12 races (later educed to 8) for a worn out engine in a non-points event. Shrubbery gets fined $50,000, parked one Cup & Busch race, and probation for what amounts to 2 race weekends for what some view as attempted vehicular homicide. Makes perfect sense what NA$CAR did. NOT!
Shrubbery has given his sponsors a big black eye as well as JGR. I won’t say he’s hurt NA$CAR because they’ve tolerated his past antics and relied on Shrubbery to generate headlines for them in an attempt to fill the grandstands and raise TV ratings. Which BTW, hasn’t been very successful.
Fan reaction, as a whole, has been negative. With M&M’s being the most visible sponsor, numerous fans have written and said they’re boycotting their products because of Shrubbery’s continued on-track hijinks. M&M’s pulled Shrubbery’s picture off their web site and issued what I consider to be about a terse a statement as one can expect in these days of political correctness.
Should M&M’s pull their sponsorship on the JGR car, you can rest assured that Shrubbery won’t be driving for JGR. And if they pull their sponsorship on the KBM vehicles, you can bet some of the other sponsors might follow suit.
Back when Tony Stewart pulled some of his acts in the Home Depot car, Home Depot insisted that he attend anger management classes. I think this is the minimum M&M’s should do should they not pull their sponsorship. Whatever actions JGR takes above and beyond that is up to the team owners.
Manufacturer’s Championship 
Chevy won the Cup & Truck Series manufacturer’s championships and Ford just wrapped up the manufacturer’s championship for the Busch Series. Shut out is the big T from Japan. However, as a consolation prize, since everyone‘s a winner in NA$CAR, they get to be the pace car for the Daytona 500.
North Wilkesboro Speedway 
I’ve been asked several questions about North Wilkesboro and here’s what I know. The company that was running the track folded up its tents and went home. There’s no sign of them to be found anywhere. Apparently, Steve O’Donnell, NA$CAR’s VP for Racing Operations and the man who swore NA$CAR was sports entertainment, has been talking to someone about the track and the possibilities of it maybe returning to the schedule after certain repairs and renovations are made. Whether or not O’Donnell will confirm this remains to be seen and I doubt you’ll get Bruton to fess up either. My take is that IF North Wilkesboro does come back, it’ll be for one of the lower tier NA$CAR series like the Whelen Modified Series and at best, maybe a Truck or Busch Series race despite fans demands for more short track races on the Cup schedule.
Here’s some trivia about North Wilkesboro Speedway. When NA$CAR was first looking into the SAFER walls, some of the test were conducted at North Wilkesboro Speedway and proof of it can still be found on one of the front stretch retaining walls.
Phoenix Rain-Out? 
Based on some current weather forecasts, there’s a possibility that the Phoenix race could get rained out. Should the rain continue until Thursday, the race would have to be rescheduled and run after the Homestead race making it, rather than Homestead, the season finale. Wouldn’t that just rain on Faux King Brian’s parade?
Veteran’s Day 
On Friday, November 11th, a number of companies are offering a variety of discounts and free meals to our active duty, retired, and military veterans as a way of showing their appreciation for those who are serving or have served our country. Here’s a link to a web site showing a lot of these offers:


  1. Hey Mike, good stuff as usual. Not to defend Jeremy but with the price of scrap metal,most scrap yards probably have some stolen property on them with out them knowing. The last time I was at a scrapyard the Mi.State Police had a couple guys hadcuffed to their trailer for having stolen steel.
    They keep going on about Hornaday's championship chance, what about the hit he took in the wall, it could have been alot worst the way he hit.Check the black box.

  2. Hey mike! I'm about as mixed up as anyone on the Mayfield issue..I just hope he and his wife can make it through whatever the real issues are and go on to live their lives in relative peace. The whole "he said they said" debacle is out of hand and it's time to let It go.
    The Kyle issue is another mess. I think at this point the ball is in M&M's and JRG's court... As far as I'm concerned Kyle should sit out rest of season and spend his time handing out M&M's at children's hospitals during the holidays. I have to throw NASCAR in there with Kyle..they opened this can of worms..gave the drivers a loaded gun with "boys have at it..we'll know the line when we see it crossed" they too should spend their holiday season in the trenches doing something constructive instead of giving the drivers a set of "nonrule rules" and then pulling the rug out from underneath their feet when they deem the "nonline line" has been crossed. Sooo

  3. Good point Anon 5:08 about the black box. Nobody has said a thing about it.I'd be very curious to know what the black box data says.

    Anon 6:27, I like your idea about Shrubbery handing out candy to sick kids in the hospital during the holidays. I think something else along those lines would be visiting our wounded troops who are hospitalized during the holidays. Maybe pass out some M&M's and AA battery packs from his Interstate sponsorship to the wounded warriors and their visiting family members. As to NA$CAR's rules, I think the 2011 rule book was written on a chalkboard, which is a step-up from the previous written in mud rule books. Had this incident been about 30 years ago, Horndaday and Shrubbery would've been out behind the garage engaged in a bare knuckle brawl. But in today's PC society, something like that is frowned upon. Asking NA$CAR to clearly define where the line is that shouldn't be crossed is like trying to herd cats.

    As to Mayfield & his wife, I hope they can get this whole mess behind them and move forward. Based on what I've heard, he was doing quite well with his scrap and recycling business and his partners in the venture were quite happy. There was plenty of money being made and the company had plenty of money in the bank which sort of disproves, in my mind anyways, one of the charges by the police informant.

  4. I can't agree more Mike. These current reporters/bloggers are afraid of NASCAR's wrath if they do anything other than crucify Mayfield. The truth doesn't matter, the facts don't matter. I've replied to several simply asking why there was but one lone reporter on NASCAR news present at any of the court sessions especially the ones pertaining to brain dead. In each case my reply was not posted or posted and taken down. No one has been willing to report on anything related to the reality of the court issues except yourself. There is a hell of a lot of integrity loss in the current day reporting. All we get is a hundred reports on the same few lines some real reporter came out first with. But I reckon that it's really difficult to report on something without getting off their butts and actually investigating something. Just change a few words in someone else's article and make the claim that they really are reporters. To say that Mayfield has been shafted by these so called media types is a gross understatement at best.
    You do a hell of a job Mike, keep it up.

  5. Thanks for the kind words Mr Clause. Despite not having an expense account, funding myself, and being "persona non grata" at any of the "formal" Ivory Towers functions, I do the best I can with what I've got. If I can find out the date, time, & location of Mayfield's next hearing, I plan to be there. Court reporting isn't a lot of fun but sometimes you find some good information and can clarify what's actually happened, good or bad. Plus you can also dispel some rumors and present some real facts rather than speculation when it's over with. One still unresolved issue from the Mayfield Charlotte hearing is the matter of the illegal campaign contributions made by BZF. I've read the sworn affidavits made regarding this and also heard testimony from Megan France. I've found the Federal Election Commission documents showing their names and the amounts of the contributions. And it didn't cost me a penny. So why hsn't one of these card carrying media members done the same? It's as you surmised. They're afraid of the big bad wolf, NASCAR. And I know this from talking with some of the big names over the last 7 years. But unlike some of the NASCAR media circus, I won't divulge names. That's ethics.

  6. We've been in and around NASCAR for the same amount of time and my experience has been on the late model sportsman series and the early Busch series luckily a part of a Busch Championship team many light years ago.

    Like You I love the term curmudgeon and even more love being one!

  7. Were the drugs found (whatever kind they were) at Mayfield's home listed in the search warrant? I thought whatever was found not listed cannot be seized or even cause an arrest.

    Why are people saying that KyB gets it this time? What about the other times? Yeah, maybe not taking out a champ driver, but his attitude in general? Just how many chances is JGR going to give him? I hope the sponsors force their hand and they have to fire KyB. It is a business you know. Can't run a car without sponsors.

    Mike, good point about Carl Long. I've hated nascar/brian france since 2007 because of other decisions they've made. I do like the racing and the drivers, except for a few.

    I went one better than boycotting M&Ms since Friday's race. I haven't bought or eaten any M&M products since they've sponsored KyB. I emailed them that too.

    Mike, I noticed your cat Scout's picture. I don't know when he passed away, but I offer you my condolences. I just scrolled down to preview my comment. Condolences for Meesha too.

  8. Part of the problem with what's happening with Mayfield has been the media reporting as a whole. I'll have to go back and look at the search inventiory again to see about the methamphetamine being on the inventory. But the arrest form states methamphetamine.

    Anything taken from the property is supposed to be listed on the search warrant inventory whether it's a $1 million Picasso or a ring from a bubble gum machine.

    There seems to be some confusion on the guns too. First it was because meth is considered a felony and as such Mayfield cannot have guns, even though he has yet to be tried. OK, I can sort of go along with that. Then it was because the cops thought all the guns were stolen and wanted to make sure they weren't. Well, maybe, but that's a bit of a stretch since it wasn't really addressed in the search warrant as such. So even the cops are putting out contradictory information.

    As to Shrubbery, it's gotten to be like the little boy who cried "wolf". Every time there's an incident, he says it won't happen again and then it does. I think that Gibbs will cut his losses and embarassment after Homestead.

    I could see if Carl Long had done this intentionally during a points race with a cheater engine specifically built to give him an advantage but it wasn't. He bought a used engine from Ernie Elliott that was supposedly rebuilt and within specs. And yet when NASCAR took the engine apart, Ernie pretty much sold Carl Long out. For a non-points event, the penalty laid down was far too steep. I could see making him replace the engine with another and having him start from the back of the field. It's not like he was intentionally trying to beat the system. Especially with an engine that was about 50 HP less than the one he blew up. But what Shrubbery did was and has been doing is intentional.Plain and simple. And what he did to Hornaday was blatant and dangerous. It wasn't just a tap in the rear. He should've been given a fine much greater than what Carl Long's team got. What he did to Hornaday was brazenly intentional. Both vehicles could've easily been repaired and possibly won the race.

    You're not the only one who's been boycotting M&M's since they started sponsoring the 18 car with the current driver. I've heard from a number of people who have done what you did. And since the incident, both M&M's and JGR's PR people have been swamped with e-mails regarding boycotting the M&M brand.

    Unfortunately, Scout had cancer and we had to put him to sleep. He had a cancerous tumor that had gotten to his brain. He went out with a quiet dignity. I'd had him since I was recovering from major surgery in 1997. He was my constant and faithful companion. We're not exactly sure what happened to Meesha. She was fine in the morning and by evening she'd passed away. Meesha kept an watchful eye on my wife and grandson and was our guard cat. Any time a vehicle pulled up out front she would let us know. She was also funny cat. She'd dance around on the toilet seat if somebody left the lid up. And for some odd reason, unlike other cats, she enjoyed getting bathed. We still have our 2 year old cat Crackers and my grandson's cat Scooter. So we still have our night "watchmen" keeping an eye on things while we sleep. Thanks Dot.

  9. The old Sportsman and early Busch Series produced some great races and drivers who really never got their dues. A lot of today's highly touted drivers couldn't hold a candle against them. I guess we've been "blessed" as it were Mr Clause to have been able to enjoy some of the greatest racing there was that today's fans will never know the joy of. Yes, it's nice being a curmudgeon.