O.K., I have to post a blog about NASCAR sooner or later because I LOVE it! I know most of the folks who will read this could not care any less about the sport but this post may bring in a few fellow rednecks who are reluctant to join the fun on Al Gore's internet. The reason for the timing is two-fold.
1. I need to make a comment on racing before the Ballad of Ricky Bobby comes to a theater near you. Also known as Talladega Nights, if the trailers are any indication it will be a pretty silly parody of drivers and fans. I wonder if it will be watched by more racin' fans or more of the folks who like to make fun of racin' fans?
2. Tony Stewart has reached the pinnacle of narcissim. (Yeah, that's a lot of syllables for a NASCAR fan).
A quick recap of the pertinent facts from last weekend is in order for you civilians. What you need to know is that Tony Stewart is the NEXTEL cup champion for last year and everything he does from now on is just to build bigger barns to stack his money in. You also need to know that of all the drivers at the top ranks of racing, Tony (who likes to be called Smoke) is the chubbiest. Most of the drivers are in good physical condition and some like Michael Waldrip and Kyle Petty are marathoners. Carl Edwards has now graced the cover of a couple of men's health and fitness magazines (shirtless) because of his six pack abs. But Tony has the look that most detractors of racing like to poke fun at; he is overweight, usually has a two-day growth of beard, and had a permanent sneer (kind of an Elvis thing). If you haven't guessed by now, I am not a Tony Stewart fan. Not because of his appearance or lack fitness but rather I don't like him because of his attitude. I would sum up his attitude as "I should always be in the front and anybody between me and the front should pull over and allow me to pass or I will wreck them. Not only will I wreck them but I will then communicate with sign language that they are beneath me and should not question my actions. Then, after the race I will tell anybody with a TV camera and microphone that the younger drivers need to learn to "give and take" and I will make repeated references to Dale Earnhardt in order to associate myself with the Intimidator (and his fans)."
Last week Tony felt like young driver Bowyer did not get out of his way fast enough to allow him to zoom to the front so he first made gestures OUT OF HIS WINDOW then cut sharply left into Bowyer's car, forcing him into Carl Edwards' (the guy with impressive six-pack abs) car. Without giving a primer on NASCAR, you need to know there are 6 weeks left to determine who will finish the "regular season" in the top 10. These top 10 will compete during the last 10 races of the year to determine the "national champion". It is a little more involved than that but this is the gist of it. The result of this bone-headed move was to knock Carl Edwards, who also looks like you hoped Opie would when he grew up, out of the top 10 and move Tony to guess where? Yep, number 10. After this wreck and after I finished yelling at the NASCAR officials via my TV and after telling LaWanna I would never watch again if they did not black flag Tony, they did indeed black flag him. This means he had to sit on pit road while everybody else made a lap, putting him a lap down. Later, when the opportunity arose for Carl Edwards to get alongside Tony, he raised his hands as if to ask "what was up with that move?". Tony answered by shooting him a bird. So as soon as Carl got a chance he spun Tony and HE got blackflagged.
Anyway, here is the thing; Tony Stewart is a fat, self-centered jerk. And a yankee--did I mention that? Also, he owns a race track up in one of those yankee states. I don't know, north of Tennessee somewhere. What he needs to do is go race on his own track where he can make his own rules and force everybody to pull over and let him pass. While he is making piles of money (literally many millions per year) he is also making enemies. And he is not representing his sponsor (Home Depot) nor his team owner (Joe Gibbs--you know the pro-football guy) very well. Tony should remember as he invokes Dale Earnhardt's name after a race of wrecking innocent drivers, Dale is dead. Remember, he was blocking drivers to help his team-mate, Michael Waldrip, win at Daytona when he clipped a car and crashed into the wall at about 190 mph and was killed instantly. I don't wish that on Tony but he is making lots of enemies and this is not the ballad of Ricky Bobby--this is for real!