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If You Ain't Cheatin', You Ain't Tryin'

February 16, 2007

I don't know to whom I can ascribe the above quote and be right. I've heard it bandied about this week in relation to Michael Waltrip and his #55 Toyota car designed to shoot to the moon. I did hear that Lou Holtz used it once at an SEC meeting in Alabama, and we all know what a magnificent, dirty old troll Lou Holtz is. At least that's Mark May's opinion.

But, it was coughed up several times this week, almost as if it's the unofficial mantra of NASCAR, right up there with "Rubbin' is racin'!" And yet, NASCAR wants to bottle these personalities up. I just don't get it.

The other morning--actually, the morning after I posted "And you should always give in to peer pressure"--I heard an interview on the radio during the drive-in time between two "experts" in the field of NASCAR. They were discussing a couple of things that seemed appropriate to offer as a follow-up to my earlier post.

One, apparently, NASCAR sees cheating, but sees it on different levels. Apparently, the tires, fuel and restrictor plates are the three areas that NASCAR deems the Holy of Holies. For these three things, you get the old Nun with a ruler across the knuckles routine. For all other offenses (aerodynamics, being Jimmy Johnson), you get a few Hail Marys and a couple of turns around the rosary, and there you are. In my book, cheatin's cheatin, and should therefore get an across the board punishment. Like, I'm fairly certain that if my wife came into the house and saw me on the couch with a naked Scarlett Johansson, she'd accuse me of infidelity, even if I was wearing mittens and I told her "But Sweets, I didn't touch her tires, fuel or restrictor plates." Maybe I'm just jealous.

Two, according to the "experts", you can't equate smearing your intake manifold with Sterno ( made of ethanol and diethylene glycol ...and I'm still not seeing where the oxidation reactions are here...there's apparently a very small amount of dye to make it pink, but I'm guessing that's not going to do the trick...unless it's a VERY efficient catalyst system ) with shooting roids in order to one-up Mark McGwire and his andro-laced forearms (and Sammy Sosa and his cork-ridden bat). Apparently, cheating in NASCAR is something that you can equate with Michael Vick giving the crowd the finger. It's not very nice, but it doesn't hurt anyone, so we should just let it go.

Upon the revelations that NASCAR is above the law, I began to rethink my original post. Was it wrong to call for such harsh penalties? Apparently so. I mean, it's acceptable, right? Rules are laid down, and it's the interpretations of the rules that are what makes the sport a sport. So, I guess that if my wife comes in on Miss Scarlett and myself in various states of undress, I can be like "Well, when I said 'I do', this is what I thought 'till death do you part' meant..." Clearly, my sarcastic take on the situation was the wrong attitude to have.

And then, the twin 150s were run. One was won by Tony Stewart, that fat ball of anger from Indiana that's never been seen in a red sweater. The other was won by that, uh, California transplant from Indiana in the rainbow car. Quite the banner day to be a Hoosier (unless you count the unmanning by the Boilermakers...) But wait! Upon further review, Gordon's car was found to be an inch too low to the ground, thus making it illegal, disqualifying him! Even after five cars got pinched for rules infractions, here's Gordon's car, winning the race and being shown to be set up illegally. And here's my favorite part: NASCAR's official explanation of their Golden Boy. To paraphrase: "It was too low, but it was probably the result of a broken part, and thus we don't find Jeff nor his team at fault." But apparently you found them at fault enough to negate his starting position and forced him to use provisional points to get into the race. Once again, NASCAR shows itself to be a gutless sack of shit. Here's arguably the sport's biggest star with his hand in the cookie jar and you can send a real message to the entire sport that you are serious about cracking down on cheating in your sport, and you give him a free pass. Unbelievable and disgusting, absolutely disgusting.

And yet, here we are, talking about it. I can hear the fat cats over at ESPN laughing all the way to the bank over all this. There's no better way, in their eyes, that their renewed contracts to carry NASCAR could have started. Curse you, Norby!

EDIT: I looked up the MSDS here, and thought that diethylene glycol was the second ingredient. However, that's the ingredient for Wick Food Warming Gel, which is different from Sterno, it's just made by the Sterno corporation. Thank you to Mike Seifert, the Global Director for Quality and Technical Support over at Sterno, for setting me straight. The corrections have been made.

As an extra follow up, I've heard since the Waltrip deal that several other gel-like substances have been indicted for being smeared on the intake manifold of Waltrip's car, anything from jet fuel to petroleum jelly. It's all very messed up, and a good thing that he didn't win yesterday, otherwise, wow, there'd be some serious follies going on.


Anonymous said...

Sorry to inform you, but there is no Diethylene Glycol in Sterno gel.

I have worked for Sterno for over 20 years, and although we make some DEG products (wicked fuels) for the restaurant industry, Sterno gel has no DEG in it. You can view the MSDS which gives most of the data and composition, excluding proprietary ingredients, at The formulation is patent protected, and as such, proprietary. Just thought you would want to revise your original statement which is incorrect.
Mike Siefert
Global Director
Quality & Technical Support

the iNDefatigable mjenks said...

Actually, I got the info from the MSDS, at this site:

I did do a double check and found that DEG is in Canned Heat, which I saw listed as a Sterno product and assumed they were the same.

My apologies, and thanks for the catch.