Loud Music is a $40 Fine

Just my personal blog.

February 9, 2007

NASCAR 2007: Almost Here

Just had a few random thoughts about things I figured I’d put down here in the blog.

RETIREMENT FUND: Over the last week, there’s been a big deal made out about the fact that NASCAR drivers don’t have some sort of pension or retirement fund. Maybe it’s me, but I think that’s the drivers’ responsibility, not NASCAR. The drivers don’t even work for NASCAR; they’re contract employees for team owners. If the driver wants a pension, then they either need to see a financial planner or put it in their contract. It’s hard to feel for Tony Stewart when he says NASCAR should “take care of us after we race, or take care of the ones that came up before.” Tony, you’ve made more money in one race (even after the owner’s cut) than some of those drivers made in their entire career. You could easily put away part of your money for your own retirement and donate to an “old drivers’ retirement fund” if you wanted. Sports Illustrated writes about NASCAR maybe twice a year; this just sounds like something they’ve dredged up to sell magazines.

A FOREIGN MANUFACTURE IN NASCAR? Everyone’s making a big deal out of the fact that Toyota is going to be fielding cars this year in the Busch and Cup Series (they’ve had teams in the Truck Series for a couple of years now). Purists say NASCAR should only have American made cars and American manufacturers. But the purists haven’t been paying attention. Back when NASCAR ran the Dash Series, they allowed Toyotas to run. And is there really an American car nowadays? Wouldn’t you want to include Nissan, who makes cars just down the interstate in Smyrna, or Honda who also makes cars in the US? What about Dodge? They’re no longer an American company, but everyone was elated when the Pettys could run Dodge’s again.

Perhaps the real point here is that the purists are slowly fading away. As NASCAR continues to get new fans at the expense of the old fans, this manufacturer debate will also slowly fade away.

BROADCAST TEAMS: I still haven’t figured out ESPN’s rationale behind who they’re going to have in the booth. Rusty Wallace is moving over from the IRL booth (except for the Indy 500), which makes some sense. Wallace will have the driver’s perspective, while Andy Petree will give a crew chief’s perspective, with Jerry Punch calling the race. For some reason, Brent Musburger has been named as “host”.

I don’t really need an ex-crew chief’s perspective. If there absolutely has to be three people in the booth, I’d rather have two drivers, like TNN had with Buddy Baker and Neil Bonnett. Speaking of Baker, why hasn’t someone grabbed him for TV? He always had great insight and was funny to boot.

NOT SO LITTLE E: Dale Junior wants a piece of his Daddy’s business. Who’d didn’t see that coming from a mile away? From the reports I’ve seen, it looks like he wants that as compensation for being their driver, which doesn’t make sense. If he wants to own the team, why doesn’t he offer Teresa Earnhardt a truck load of money to buy her (at least partially) out? Maybe if his dad wanted him to have the company, he’d have inherited it instead of Teresa. I think I’m going to go out on a sturdy limb here and predict that he’ll be driving for another team next year.

SHOOTOUT: So the Bud Shootout is Saturday night. I’ve got it set to record on my DVR so I don’t have to watch all the commercials or all the between segment filler. I wonder how many other fans do that now? I honestly couldn’t imagine watching a race nowadays without being able to fast forward through the ads. That’s probably not what NASCAR and the networks want to hear, but that’s the way it is. It’s not like I’m not exposed to a ton of sponsors, so they’re still getting exposures. I just don’t need to see 40 Levetra commercials during a race.

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