Mar 07, 2010 03:33 AM
Until now, I have held silent on the subject of the effect NASCAR changes are having on the product on the track ... well, only sort of in that regard. My Daytona 500 post struck a nerve I NEVER expected against some adamant fans who shared extremely contradictory opinions to my own. At that point, I began to wonder ... has my Fan Council membership just been revoked?
After all of this, I had to tell myself (in my head, anyway) ...
So, you want a *negative* opinion, huh?
I don't think I'm the only one who sees the product on the track actually getting better but the results in the stands getting worse, right?
I don't think that Brian France and company used to listen to my voice on the NASCAR Fan Council, but they seem to have lost my membership surveys recently, true?
The "Fan Council" seems to conveniently show up ONLY when opinions get especially negative ... get ready for some angst to reappear after Atlanta this weekend. The "Southern forces" are going to unite over the fact that this venerated location will be threatened to lose a track date after, yet again, due to the stands being half empty for another Cup date. You can only do *so much* before you throw in the towel and admit defeat. Bruton Smith is going to be the target of some SERIOUS hate mail very soon.
They like to say the "South is going to rise again" ... who would have guessed that NASCAR might be the boiling point for a lot of fans this time around? Until now, all indications were that this, too, would pass, but the Kentucky Speedway, near the border of the Union-Confederate States, will signal an initiator in the reignition of the "new" Civil War of sorts that NOBODY, and I mean NOBODY, will ever see coming from something as "simple" as NASCAR.
Don't be shocked that you heard it from me first.
Anyone notice an INTERESTING trend in something? The development of actual BEARDS in NASCAR? First, I see Dale Earnhardt, Jr. wearing a full beard, hearkening an era of his late, great father, the MAN who brought me into the fold of NASCAR itself. Then, I see the reigning champion himself, sitting on the SAME team, no less, sporting a FULL BEARD, too! What happened to Jimmie Johnson's status as the clean-cut, SHAVEN star of the sport. Does Jimmie want to start wearing the BLACK HAT this year? Is the challenge for MOST HATED DRIVER going to leave the clean-shaven crowd (Kyle Busch, Denny Hamlin, Kevin Harvick, JEFF GORDON (!) ...) and jump over the Johnson himself?
For the first time in a VERY Long time, I have a feeling that the dynamic of the sport is ready to fracture. Pro-Johnson on one side and Pro-Earnhardt on the other. A genuine CIVIL WAR over fandom in NASCAR ... can this REALLY be happening?
If NASCAR wasn't so pro-Christian, pro-family, pro-Republican, etc. I wouldn't be as concerned as I am. For the first time in EVER, I see genuine Southeastern American disenchantment over the product on the track. We actually have a REAL split between the blue-collar south (lest we say the DixieCrats / Tea Party rising) and the white-collar north (anyone want to pull out my least favorite title EVER ... the Yankee nation?).
Anyone perpetually tired like me at the representation of states like my own (Ohio) which have been IGNORED too long for something as simple as a NASCAR race? SERIOUSLY???
Indianapolis, with its "sacred cow" race track venerated for ... why again? RACE AT ELDORA, you morons ... its that simple. THAT'S THE REAL NASCAR ... that's where this sport started. ON DIRT. LISTEN TO TONY STEWART AND TELL ME I'M WRONG.
If we actually went back to the ROOTS of the sport, we wouldn't have this elitist CLASSISM happening. IF we actually PAID ATTENTION to what FANS WANT, we would be racing the boys of Cup (Prelude to the Dream stuff, boys?) ... on the CLAY tracks of places like Eldora Speedway in little old Rossburg, Ohio. Lawrenceburg Speedway (border town of Lawrenceburg, Indiana, anyone?) ... Indy Raceway Park (forget the crappy name they call it now) ...
the TRULY venerated MILWAUKEE MILE ... NOW That's a race track. DID anyone see the story FLY UNDER THE RADAR that this track DOESN'T HAVE A DATE in 2010?!? HOW CAN THIS BE?
As the NaptownRef likes to say, "ref out" (clearly in reference to standup comedian Chris Rock) ... I will take it one better. I have been Liberty76 for a LONG time ... I am a fan of Richard Petty. I am a fan of David Pearson. I am a fan of Dale Earnhardt. And, against my better judgement, I became a fan of Jeff Gordon. I am a FAN of the GREATS of this sport. On the backs of legends goes I ... and from the view up here things are NOT looking so rosy any longer. Be prepared, NASCAR fans, for the fracture of NASCAR Cup racing into a NORTH AND a SOUTH division. It will happen, and it will be sooner rather than later.
Maybe 2010 isn't going to be the year, but 2011 will be the sign of new things to come. Bruton Smith, you ain't seen nothing yet ... oh, and Brian France, word the wise: the SMS / ISC battle is about to be REAL. The Kentucky Speedway lawsuit by Jerry Carroll and the KS folks was a precursor to the angst we "border states" are feeling these days. Ohio, Indiana, Missouri, Kentucky, etc. are FEELING THE PAIN of being a fan of your white-collar sport. WE SUPPORT YOUR PRODUCT without justification TOO OFTEN. My support comes with a pain threshhold ... and you may have finally found it in 2010.