By Mike Sanders
Drunk, Lazy, And Stupid Is No Way To Go Through Life, Son...
Especially if you're the chairman and CEO of a major sports organization. But Brain Dead manages to pull it off. On May 19th, just before the Sprint All-Star Race, he stated that he's pleased with the 2012 season: "It's been a good, solid year". Really? For whom? Maybe for you, because you're making a boat-load of cash, and The Felon is keeping your liquor cabinet fully-stocked with his weekly "donations", but what about the fans? It doesn't appears to have been such a great year for most of them, if you go by TV ratings and race attendence. Almost every track now has several sections covered by flags, tarps, or sponsor banners to attempt to hide all of the empty seats. Blimp shots of the stands get cut off abruptly once the large sections of uncovered empty seats come into view. There are no official race attendence numbers; everything is fudged. That's why you'll see numbers like "100,000" or "80,000" for race attendence. Most are completely bogus and insult the intelligence of most of the fans at the race or those watching (in decreasing numbers) at home on TV. Speaking of the All-Star Race...
The All-Star Debacle
This season, the Sprint All-Star Race was advertised as the only major sport All-Star contest in which the participants are actually trying. Considering what the NFL Pro Bowl has degraded to lately, that wouldn't be a difficult statement to make. And it has that potential: no points are on the line, and the winner gets a cool million bucks. There won't be any "points racing", so everybody can just go for it. Well, that's not quite what happened this year. The winners of the first three segments played possum at the back of the field after they won their segment, and then raced hard during the final 10 lap segment that decided the race. It was a monumental pile of horse dung. I don't want to hear about how those three drivers were "employing strategy by not using their cars up". Bull crap! After Bent Sh!tcan won the first segment then started the second segment a full straightaway behind the field, driving about as fast as my 82 year old mother, the whole thing went to hell. Someone from NASCAR should have been on the phone to the 48 team and told them that if the 48 didn't move up to the pack and race like he had a pair, he would be parked for the remainder of the race. "Sorry...no balls, no million bucks. If we wanted to see someone drive like that, we'd have put your wife behind the wheel." My solution for this mess is a simple one: make it a 100 lap race with no segments. Period. No mandatory pit stops. Stop when you need to or under caution. Determining the participants would also be simple: anybody who won a race between last year's ASR and this year's ASR gets in, as do past ASR winners. That's it. No bogus fan vote, no heat races. I can dream, can't I?
An Update On The Best Female Driver In NASCAR
And of course, it's not The Bimbo. It's Johanna Long. I wrote about her after Daytona, and, after being prodded by a couple of readers after my last article, I'll do it again now, and I'll continue to do it later in the year. The recently-turned 20 year old from Pensacola, driving for the under-funded ML Motorsports in the number 70 car, has now run 8 races this year, with an average starting position of 21.0 and an average finish of 23.8 (skewed by a 37th place finish at Talladega in which she ran only 18 laps due to overheating). The Talladega race is her only DNF of the year. She's doing great considering the lack of funding she has to deal with. By contrast, The Bimbo, in just about the best equipment money can buy, has stats of 15.4-21.0 and 3 DNF's. The Bimbo also leads Johanna in excuses for non-performance by about 23 quadrillion to zero. And speaking of The Bimbo...
Payback Is A ... Well, You Know
Good for Sam Hornish, Jr. for not putting up with The Bimbo's crap. The Bimbo puts him into the wall on the cooldown lap at Talladega, Sam retaliates with a well-timed (and COMPLETELY UNINTENTIONAL *cough, cough*) tap at Dover that basically ends her day. Good going, Sam! Unfortunately, there was a bit of collateral damage, as Brad Sweet got caught up in it. Wrong place, wrong time, etc.
NASCAR Sends Another Message
NASCAR probation has been universally scoffed at and mocked. It is (or was) completely toothless; it was their way of saying "stop...or I'll say 'stop' again". It meant nothing. Well, their suspension of Maxi Douche after his incident with writer Bob Pockrass after the Dover Nationwide race was a message to all drivers: when you're on probation, don't piss us off, or we WILL do something about it. Message received (I think). BTW, if the NASCAR media were polled off the record, I'm sure most of them would rather interview Maxi or even Mini Douche (as long as they had taken their meds) than interview Bent Sh!tcan, whose grating monotone drives everybody up the wall.
A Job Lost, A Job Saved?
I think this might have been Maxi Douche's last chance. It's a good thing that the contract between him and car owner James Finch was a handshake deal and not in writing. Finch was already having a hard time finding sponsors for the 51, but now (with the possible exception of Jerry Springer's offer, which I think is just a publicity stunt...but what a fitting driver to sponsor) I doubt any top-tier or even mid-tier sponsor would touch the 51 with a 10 foot pole as long as Maxi is behind the wheel. On the other side of things, did the win at Pocono save Burnt Toast's job in the 20 car? As much as I'd like to say that it's The Coach's call on that one, sadly the call will probably be made by Home Depot. Yep, sponsors run NASCAR these days, especially big name sponsors like HD. If they want somebody else behind the wheel of the 20 next year (this is the final year of BT's contract), then The Coach will be forced to make a change. Gotta keep the big money guys happy.
Could It Happen?
We all know that the dreaded disease know as "The Chase for the Sprint Cup" was the kneejerk reaction to Matt Kenseth winning the 2003 championship going away despite only winning one race all year. Thus far in 2012, the most consistent driver in the Cup series is also one of the drivers who hasn't won this year: that's right, it's June Bug. Wouldn't it be a nice thumb in the eye of Brain Dead and the other chuckleheads-in-charge if June Bug won the championship this year and didn't win a race? You'd be able to hear the cementheads exploding all the way here in Orlando.
TNT Takes Charge
TNT telecasted the Pocono race and has the next five races before ESPN takes over. For the first time all year I could actually see more than two cars on the track at the same time. What a concept! And while the guys in the booth aren't as bad as FOX's crew, they've got some improving to do. Still, nothing beats a "boogity"-less green flag to start a race.