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Inspirational Reads

And you should always give in to peer pressure.

February 14, 2007

What kind of author would I be if I didn't bend to the whims of my readership *cough*jkrowling*cough*? I wasn't going to write about this much, if at all, but since my good friend Jim brought it up, I thought I'd weigh in with my two cents worth on the Daytona Speed Week controversies.

Now, I'll preface all of this with saying that I used to be a huge NASCAR fan. In college, I used to watch every race. I went to the Brickyard 400 while in grad school. I even once put off sex in order to catch the end of the race (this was the only time, but it was a really good finish...and it has happened more often with Indiana basketball...but none of those times was it with my wife...I'll stop with the too much information now). Prior to my Aunt Rita dying and my premature assumption that Brett Favre was retiring, the last time I cried was when Dale Earnhardt died. And I hated him. But, when Earnhardt was killed and then Rusty Wallace and Terry Labonte and Mark Martin all started either retiring or cutting back their racing schedules, I slowly began to lose interest. By the time I moved to North By God Carolina, the very heart of NASCAR country, it had completely passed me by as anything of interest. None of the drivers these days have any sort of personality. They're all the same. Young, aggressive, obnoxious and so effing corporate. Of course, the sponsors paying millions of dollars for these teams and these races don't want some moonshine running hillbilly driving the car and giving Jeff Gordon the finger. They want someone out of business school in a fire suit. Put on your dark glasses and give us our dap, and you'll get your money to keep driving the car. That's why NASCAR doesn't excite me anymore.

So, where do I stand on the most recent "black eye" the sport has endured? I say, it's about damned time. Now, I understand five lines ago, I was bitching about how NASCAR is nothing like its roots and this might strike some as hypocritical. It probably most likely is, since NASCAR was built on cheating, and I say it's about time they were cracking down.

I guess I should explain myself. So here it is. This summer, Barry Bonds will most likely break Hank Aaron's home run record. Be honest. What was your first reaction to that? Disgust, probably. Outrage? Did you mutter "cheater" under your breath? I'm not a Bonds apologist by any means (I do all my apologizing for sucking at Buchwald chemistry and for Bob room for Barry here). But, here's a man approaching one of baseball's most hallowed records, perhaps the most hallowed record, and every sports show, talking head, baseball guru, afficianado, fan, or even Joe Blow or Wiffle Ball Tony on the street has an opinion on Bonds, and most of those are negative. He's a cheater for using steroids. That's what most people say. We have no proof (other than Bonds' enormous head...but something has to stow that ego...and his sudden bulking up like Bane hitting the juice) that Bonds used steroids. He claims he didn't, and we can all think he's a liar, it's the American way. With this knowledge, and with Bonds just a few home runs shy of tying and breaking Hank Aaron's record, not even the commissioner of baseball is planning on attending the games. He gave a non-committal "Eh, I might be there, I might be trying to get sausage races in every MLB ballpark this summer, who knows?" But there it is. The head honcho might not be around for the greatest home run hitter in the game claiming his crown. For everyone's talk of asterisks and banning him from the ball park (I personally think every manager should walk him every time he comes to the plate this summer, win or lose, but that's just my opinion) and tossing him in jail for lying, it doesn't matter. He will be the home run king, and no amount of crying "cheater" will stop that. Steroids weren't illegal when he hit the bulk of his home runs. Now they are. You can't go and remove the numbers ex post facto. He hit them, whether legally or not.

Now, counter that with Jimmie Johnson, the current, reigning Nextel Cup Champion (I throw up a little in my mouth whenever I say that). Jimmie Johnson is a known cheater. There's no doubt he is a cheater. He cheated. He got caught. And what's more, his crew chief's candor about the situation was even worse. "Yep, we got caught that time." That time?!?!? So, even though you got caught cheating, you admit to having done it in the past, and you admit that, after your four race suspension, you'll be back cheating again. NASCAR, because Jimmie Johnson is the most corporate of the new corporate drivers, gave him a literal slap on the wrist. We'll dock you a few points and you can't talk to your crew chief for a while, and then you run along like a good little boy and win the championship. It's wrong. If NASCAR wanted to actually pony up and have some balls, they would have grabbed that whiny little bitch by the scruff of his neck and tossed him out of the garage and said "See you in 2007." Or, if you don't want to be that rough on first offenders, then he should have not been able to come back until after the Pepsi 400 (or whatever name the second Daytona race has now). And the truly funny thing here is, they suspended the crew chief. As in, he couldn't be in the garage. But, he could set up a webcam and text message his boys on the crew and tell them where they were going wrong by setting the car up legally. Please. It's a joke. Johnson is a cheater, and yet, he's celebrated as being the Cup Champion. Bonds might be a cheater, and he's treated like a Vaudeville villain sneaking onto the stage. Reaction to Bonds: Boo, hiss, cheater! Reaction to cheating Jimmie Johnson: It speaks a lot about his heart and character that he could come back from the early season set backs to capture the crown. Let's throw large-breasted women at him now. What a freaking joke.

And now we the current situation. Before the season has started, we've got five cars already in the impound. Three of those cars come from the same owner. Can you smell what the Evernham is cooking? I can, and it smells foul as hell. So, here comes NASCAR doing their typical song and dance. Oh, wait, it's not typical this year. They're getting tough on cheating. So, they'll dock those teams 25 and 50 points, some money, and won't allow their crew chiefs back in the tracks. Oh no. I'm scared. Oh, and they have to requalify. The horror. Way to pony up, NASCAR. Now, Michael Waltrip is a different story. Apparently, they found chemicals (uh, Sterno...which is supposed to oxidize the fuel and give your engine a few more horsepower...I don't know the structure of Sterno, nor do I care to look it up, so I also can't provide the mechanism for the oxidation, unless Sterno is something akin to Dess-Martin) on Waltrip's car, which happens to be a Toyota. *gasp*

Being that I'm in North By God Carolina, I've heard all of the complaints about a non-American model being introduced into NASCAR. I'm sure there's been plenty of outraged overtones throughout the country, but I hear it loudest down here. I mean first, Pearl Harbor, then baseball, and now this! How could we allow these things to happen. Japanese people should stay on their island, work their insanely long hours, and produce lots of video games for us to enjoy, all between dodging monster attacks. They don't belong in NASCAR. That's been the sentiment, at least around here in North By God Carolina. Now, I don't know which is worse, drilling holes in the body of your car so that you get an unfair aerodynamic advantage, smearing some Sterno on some engine parts, or doing whatever the multiple infractions that Cheaty McJohnson pulled last spring. They all seem pretty much like cheating to me. Now, why does one team get this many points and another team get this many points taken away and then Waltrip's team (who, coincidentally is the biggest named Toyota driver...which is kind of sad, if you think about it...) gets their crew chief suspended indefinitely and loses 100 points? It doesn't make sense. I mean, Dick Trickle used to have an ashtray mounted in his car so he could smoke during yellow flags. Maybe Mikey wants to roast some marshmallows during caution periods.

So, if NASCAR really wants to get serious about cracking down on cheating, maybe they should take a look at other sports for a guide and start setting some ground rules. First offense, suspended 4 races and docked 50 points plus $5000 in fines. Second offense, suspended half the season, docked 100 points, $25,000 fine. Third offense, you're gone for a whole season's worth of races--so that if you get caught at, say, the Coke 600, you can't come back until the All-Star race next season--all points, including provisional points, are gone, and $100,000 fine. Plus, you have to polish Kyle Petty's bald spot every week. Make it shine, bitches. Only when NASCAR seriously puts some teeth behind it will they begin to curb the cheating, and not a moment before. They'll never take all of the cheat out of the sport (like all sports, which is sad but true), but they can at least start making things a little more fair or at least even for all the teams. But then...that's not the corporate thing to do.


Chemgeek said...

Sterno is ethanol mixed with something to make it into a jelly. I did a demo in class years ago that essentially made sterno. Two liquids go in (ethanol and something I can't remember) and it solidifies. Throw a match in and mmmmmmmmmmmmm instant cocktail wiener heater.

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

I knew that ethanol was in there, but I didn't know it was two liquids mixed together. Now I'm intrigued and ready to look it up.

This clearly shows that Michael Waltrip just wanted a little snack during the race. And who doesn't love cocktail weinies?

Chemgeek said...

I forgot to mention, this picture at the top of this story reminded me of a student who would show up at Montana State University football games. His "friends" would shave "MSU" in his back hair every week for games. I did say "every" week. Not just a touch up, but a full blown shaving EVERY week. The man produced back hair like no one on earth. Except for a few gorillas in Africa.