Greg Engle, Sporting News
NASCAR by any other name is still NASCAR
So what happens when reporters gets bored at a race?
Well on a weekend when not much news is happening around the
track and instant messages aren’t flying around computer
screens, sometimes hard-nosed motorsports journalists try and
find a story, dig real hard…look in garbage cans for
old receipts that sort of thing.
And so it went last weekend at Martinsville when a seasoned
and highly respected journalist ‘found’ out that
there would be a major shakeup in the top executive levels
at Sprint/Nextel soon. So he surmised that this shakeup could
affect the sponsorship of NASCAR by Sprint/Nextel and, gasp,
force yet another name change for the Series.
So he wrote a story, published his report and sat back, no
doubt wondering where on his already cluttered desk back at
his newspaper office he was going to put his Pulitzer trophy.
When the executives at the company got wind of his report,
they put together a ‘hastily called’ news conference.
Now to clue you in on something, executives of Fortune 500
companies don’t ‘hastily call’ anything.
When they want to call a news conference they task their underlings,
also known as public relations people, to put together facts
and figures and pie charts and order doughnuts. And since
the news conference had to be put together quickly the tasks
that would normally take a few days or weeks were accomplished
in a matter of hours, except for the doughnuts because the
Krispy Kreme store didn’t open until 7.
Next the lawyers get involved. They have to review what the
executives are going to say and how they’re going to
say it, because if the stockholders hear the wrong thing, all
of them will sell their precious shares causing the stock market
to crumble sending our economy into a tailspin.
All because there will be shuffle at the top of Sprint/Nextel
managerial ladder and this one guy is leaving to be replaced
by another guy (as soon as he gets out of the shower) and because
some lady will be leaving to ‘explore other opportunities’,
which for all we know (or care) could mean that she had a better
offer to be the drive through manager at a McDonalds.
So suddenly this reporter decided that because of this NASCAR
would have undergo another name change and that is a big deal.
Well I think I can speak for all the citizens of the NASCAR
Nation when I say this:
I don’t care if I smoke too many cigarettes or talk on
my cell phone too much, racing is racing and it doesn’t
matter to me if you call it the Merida Bread company ‘loaf
of fame’, or the NASCAR Sprint ‘because we have
more money than the other cell phone people’ Series.
One thing that has remained constant through the years is 43
drivers going head to head at near 200 miles per hour on a
As long as they don’t mess with that, I don’t care
what you call it.
Even with NASCAR’s ‘Car of Tomorrow’, which
actually sounds like a cool new ride at Disney’s Epcot
center and comes equipped with everything but drivers side
air bags, the basic element that keeps us on the edge of our
seats each week isn’t going to change (although I hear
that the new cars will have neat 8 disc CD changer as an available
43 drivers, high-speed door-to-door inches apart racing; give
me that on a regular basis and you can call it whatever you
want. To me its paradise.
NASCAR by any other name is still NASCAR.
Oh, by the way one thing that will change now is our cell phone
bill…because them doughnuts ain’t cheap.
NASCAR causes an international incident
The international incident surrounding the NASCAR race in Mexico
City this past weekend continues to escalate.
It began last Thursday when Busch Series crew chief and Canadian-born
citizen Pierre Kuttel attempted to sneak across the border
into Mexico. Kuttel, with help from the US Border Patrol, whose
motto is: “They can’t come in, but they sure can
go out,” tried to walk into Mexico via the gate at Juarez
across the border in El Paso Texas.
Mexican Immigration officials, whose motto is “They can
go out, but they sure can’t come in,” immediately
denied Kuttel entrance because unbeknownst to most people outside
Mexico, Canadian citizens are forbidden from coming into Mexico.
A little known law in Mexico states, “We are the better
country than those other guys who border America…and
tacos taste better than Canadian bacon and since Canadians
are just a bunch of do-do heads anyway, they can’t come
One Mexican immigration official, speaking on the condition
of anonymity, because he lost his name badge and couldn’t
remember his name because “I likes to drink a bit,” said, “What
did Canada ever give you guys in America anyway? We gave you
tequila, Maria Conchita Alonso and Taco Bell…what did
Canada ever give you? Hockey? That’s such a stupid game
In Toronto, the Canadian prime minister, outraged at the denial
of his citizens into Mexico tried to declare war on the country, “Starting
Tuesday,” it was then pointed out that the Kanucks were
playing the Maple Leafs and he quickly added, “We’ll
get back to you after hockey season.”
The Mexican government, incensed that those ‘hose heads
from the great white north would even think about trying to
invade us’, launched operation ‘Chihuahua’.
All over Canada, employees at every Taco Bell tore off their
shirts to reveal Mexican Army uniforms. Unfortunately upon
hitting the streets, the soldiers saw they were empty due to
another re-run of “Austin Powers” starring home
grown boy Mike Meyers on the Canadian Broadcasting Network
“Besides, ‘ees’ really cold out here,” one commander
When it was pointed out that two of the drivers in Sunday’s
race, Paul Tracy and Ron Fellows were of Canadian descent;
Mexican authorities were quoted as saying “Ay, nuestro
malo”. Since the translator hired by NASCAR had
gone home, no one could actually figure out what they said.
Meanwhile, Kuttel who had snuck into Juarez when after saying
to a Mexican immigration official “Look over there, is
that Pele?” then running into the city, was found Sunday
night in a local jail passed out and smiling with a group of
young female college students after a night of partying.
One of the young female students, who would only give her name
as ‘Heather’, said, “When we found out he
was with NASCAR…well he may not be Kasey Kahne, but
after a lot of beer and if you turn the lights down real low,
he’s kind of dreamy.”
She then looked down at the sleeping smiling figure of Kuttel
bathed in the fluorescent lighting of the jail and added, “Dear
god my head hurts,” and threw up.
HALL UPDATE: Brian France stunned the
NASCAR Nation today at a news conference held
at the Charlotte Civic Center when he announced
forgotten his notes and ‘couldn’t remember where we were going
to put that little museum ‘thingy’ anyway’. He then pointed
out that it was 4PM, “That’s happy hour where I’m
Meanwhile in Daytona Beach, retired NASCAR CEO Bill France
Junior was found standing in the parking lot of the old Streamline
Hotel, the place where NASCAR had been formed in 1947. France.
Looking somewhat confused according to witnesses, was holding
a shovel and saying “Let’s get this groundbreaking
thing the hell over with, I got a bingo game to go to.”
Grading out the top 43 for 2006
Here's our final grading out of the 2006 season - the top 43
- Jimmie Johnson, 6,475 points; A+. Daytona, Indy and the
Cup. It doesn't get much better than that ... until next
- Matt Kenseth, 6,419; A. A little short of the prize,
but not a season to be ashamed of.
- Denny Hamlin, 6,407; A+.
If his future were any brighter he would need SPF 100 sunscreen.
Harvick, 6,397; B. His focus on the Busch Series may have
been a distraction.
- Dale Earnhardt Jr., 6,328; B. More wins
in a season will help in the future.
- Jeff Gordon, 6,256;
B. Marry a model, lose the championship.
- Jeff Burton, 6,228;
B. Led a turnaround for Childress Racing but fell flat when
- Kasey Kahne, 6,183; B. DNFs took him out of contention.
- Mark Martin, 6,168; C. He has joined the Army reserve for
2007 but will never win the Cup battle.
- Kyle Busch, 6,027;
D. His young man's aggressiveness was his undoing.
- Tony Stewart,
4,727; C. Coming to life toward the end does not a championship
- Carl Edwards, 4,428; C. With his old crew chief
back, better days may lie ahead.
- Greg Biffle, 4,075; A. A
win in the final race of the season may help carry him back
to the top next year.
- Casey Mears, 3,914; B. Several strong
runs in '06. A new team may mean new hope for his first Cup
win in 2007.
- Brian Vickers, 3,906; B. One win this year.
Move to a new stable may just set this pony loose.
- Kurt Busch,
3,900; F. At least he could become a deputy if this NASCAR
thing doesn't work out.
- Clint Bowyer, 3,833; A. Hamlin may
have been the focus of the rookie spotlight, but Bowyer stood
at the edge of its shadow.
- Ryan Newman, 3,748; F. Needs a
complete overhaul to get back in the mix.
- Martin Truex Jr.,
3,673; B. Not a rookie season for the ages, but a career-high
second place in the last race may bode well for his future.
- Scott Riggs, 3,619; A. It's only a matter of time before
he finds victory lane in a points-paying race.
- Bobby Labonte,
3,567; B. If he doesn't win in '07, it will be a crime.
Sadler, 3,469; A. His move to Evernham may have put him back
in winning form.
- Dale Jarrett, 3,438; F. A new car make will
not remake what can't be fixed. Perhaps it's time to spend
his Sunday's on a golf course.
- Reed Sorenson, 3,434; B. Decent
rookie season may be the start to a better sophomore year.
McMurray, 3,405; F. There's a great deal of work to be done
for this team in the offseason.
- Dave Blaney, 3,259; A. Several
top-10 finishes in 2006. Now he needs to build on that.
Nemechek, 3,255; C. Heading to the No. 13 in 2007. Hopefully
it will bring better luck.
- Jeff Green, 3,253; C. He has his
old crew chief back and hope for the future.
- J.J. Yeley,
3,220; C. With the backing of Joe Gibbs Racing, he has every
reason to improve.
- Robby Gordon, 3,113; D. New car make in
'07. Let's hope the roll bar padding is more secure.
Schrader, 3,049; D. Part-timer next year. Hopefully that's
what it will take to get him better finishes.
- Kyle Petty,
2,928; D. Another subpar season. Perhaps it's time to step
aside and focus on what he does best - making the world a
- David Stremme, 2,865; F. Never a consistent
performer, he needs to find his groove on or get out.
Marlin, 2,854; F. Hasn't been a front-runner for years. Marlin
needs to demonstrate his worth or hang up his helmet.
Raines, 2,609; C. A few strong runs proved the team has potential.
- Travis Kvapil, 2,451; F. He's going trucking in 2007, and
his old team may not even be around for the start of the
- Michael Waltrip, 2,350; F. As a driver, he has proved
to be a fine TV analyst.
- Scott Wimmer, 1,812; C. Full-time
Busch ride next year may allow him to show his talent.
Mayfield, 1,684; C. When he gets to victory lane with Bill
Davis Racing in 2007, he won't thank Ray Evernham.
Lepage, 1,346; F. Kevin who?
- Terry Labonte, 1,278; A+. Retired
at Texas and drove off into the sunset leaving us with great
memories of a true gentleman and champion.
- David Gilliland,
1,178; B. He learned and earned the respect of many along
- Kenny Wallace, 984; D. At least his beloved St.
Louis Cardinals won something.