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Nascar at Indy: “After Chatter” from the Brickyard

I knew it wouldn’t take long for the “Black Helicopters” to fly or the ‘whiners’ to start with their, “Nascar controls who wins,” chatter after the Allstate 400 Sunday and I wasn’t wrong. It actually started before and immediately after the race and still goes on today. I think I’ve heard every excuse from, “they just wanted Jimmy Johnson to win,” to “There is no way they wanted a foreigner to win.” It is unbelievable what some fans think and amazing what some of the media types say and do to reinforce this type thinking on a regular basis.

In all of my forty some years as a Nascar fan, I don’t think I’ve ever heard such weak and ridiculous comments in my whole life. I really just can’t understand some fans’ opinions of Nascar and I can tell that some of the ones that make the most ridiculous remarks seem to know the least about racing and Nascar itself.

I hate to be blunt, but many of them appear to have done nothing in racing except watch it from the stands (or the Tv) and understand very little about the way the sport works. It is like they are sitting and watching a football game and think every call the referees make is wrong no matter what. If even one quarter of the things some say were true about Nascar, there would be no Nascar because the competitors wouldn’t want to compete in such a crooked and fixed environment. (Let’s be real honest about the racing this year, it has really never been more competitive in recent memory.)

I mean, come on … this year the Hendrick teams seem to have a definite advantage over the rest at the moment, but last year it was Roush and Gibbs, (at least in appearance), and who knows what’s going to happen during the last ten Chase races for the championship.

So why is such a big deal being made about someone getting penalized for speeding when it is done by speed testing equipment? Is it because some think that the equipment can be right for everyone else and still be wrong for the person caught by it or the one they thought should win?

All one really has to do is check the previous races and find all of the cars that were penalized for speeding in the pits. It’s not like it’s never happened before and it will happen again. I think the reason people may have thought it appeared the way it did was because Montoya had such a dominate car on Sunday. Still, (once again using that common sense thing), he was caught speeding and Nascar had no choice but to penalize him as they would anyone else on the track. It was only fair and it happened the way it should have happened. If he wouldn’t have been speeding, he very likely would have won the race going away.

While I’m spending a little time ranting, let me just mention my thoughts on the way several in the media look at Nascar. Sometimes I wonder just who they think they are and what they think they can do better than Nascar. It is very frustrating to listen to some of them give us their assessment of the year and all of the things they think is wrong with Nascar and why Tv ratings are down and why the stands aren’ full every week, etc, etc.

If what they have to say was worth much, maybe I would say they should keep it up, but all I see them doing is looking for a headline to get people to read their articles and hardly anything more. I have my own opinion of what is going on this year with the Tv ratings and the lack of people in the stands.

Since this is a rant, I guess I will have to share some of my thoughts. You see, I think the biggest reason for the attendance being down has to do with the economy. (Well, DUH!, I wonder how I came up with that idea?) If the economy is down over one third, wouldn’t someone expect the attendance to be down at least that much? In case no one noticed, people are struggling for every dollar they make right now. I know I am and I know many of my friends locally and across the nation are having a rough go of it, too. We just don’t have the extra money to spend. (I assume many are in the same boat.)

When it comes down to the Tv ratings, I think there are several reasons and none of them have to do with the COT or the lack of drama in the races. I don’t buy the opinion that Nascar must be dong something wrong. Like anything else, the popularity fluctuates with the attention span of the audience and not everyone loves to sit in front of the Tv and watch a 400-500 mile race every weekend.  It’s not that they don’t follow the races, it’s just that they have other things to do, too.

Personally, as a fan, I don’t watch every lap of every race every week. (I may listen to part of it on my Sirius/XM radio while doing other things and if something happens that would be interesting to see, I may check my DVR of it later.) In fact, I don’t remember ever watching every lap of every race on Tv. Even when I was racing my own car at the local speedway, I didn’t watch all of the races of every class every Saturday night. I talked with people and friends and kinda paid attention to what was going on. If something happened I felt was important to me I paid closer attention at that point.

One other opinion about Tv ratings. When Nascar started moving things around to several different outlets for coverage during the year is when I began to lose a little bit of interest in watching. When Nascar was on the local broadcast networks, I think I liked it better and it was easier to find. I guess I’m just not the normal adult American male in that I wouldn’t even watch ESPN if it weren’t for Nascar being on it. (Heck, I don’t even watch that much football since Dan Mariano retired.) When it comes to TNT, well it kinda goes the same way except I do watch it more than I do ESPN by long shot.

You see, I do like some of the different coverages but mostly what I want to see is the race and then listen to the talk of the drivers after it’s over. That’s when the adrenaline is still flowing, the drivers are tired and they tell you more what they actually think about the race and those in it. The one to two hour coverages before the race isn’t what piques my interest. I would much rather see the after race stuff. (Hmmm, maybe that would make a difference in the  ratings; what do you think?)

Okay, well enough of this looking at the “darker side” of Nascar. The facts are, Jimmy Johnson beat Mark Martin in the Allstate 400 at the Brickyard and showed he is still a force to be reckoned with for the Chase and the Championship. Dale Jr ran good until his motor blew and Kyle Bush just isn’t finishing the way he did in Cup last year. The top ten finishers turned out to be pretty much the way I called it before the race and, just in case nobody noticed, Tony Stewart is still leading the points, the Fords are still not winning, Hendrick teams and equipment are still finishing strong and the Dodges are inconsistent with the way they’re running. Does any of this really matter that much? Probably not and, barring the unforeseen, Nascar will be at Pocono again this weekend…

See ya next time…


(all views expressed are strictly the opinion of the writer)

© July 2009 – all rights reserved

Just A Fan’s View and Rusty Norman

By Rusty Norman

Amateur writer, NASCAR Fan, musician and former local Stock Car racer.