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Friday, June 7, 2013

Still a NASCAR fan but with caveats

When people ask me if I am a NASCAR fan, I'm really not sure what to say. I often hesitate before saying yes, but with caveats.

nascar
nascar (Photo credit: rogerblake2)
The truth of the matter is that I have watched every NASCAR race since I became interested in auto racing in 2004. That is, I've watched every race but the recent Texas race sponsored by the NRA, (National Rifle Association). My disgust for NASCAR seemingly siding with the NRA at a time when the entire country was reeling over the escalation of gun violence in this country was like a slap in the face to caring, thinking individuals who recognize that something must be done to stem the rise in violent behavior.

Whatever NASCAR was thinking, and I assume it was profit-motivated, sent a chilling message to me and apparently many others that have apparently stopped filling the stands at various race venues. Since the death of Bill France, Jr. in 2007, the decisions that have been made in this sport have come at a high cost. I'm not sure he would approve. While Brian France has every right to carry on the family business, he apparently has his own ideas and his own agenda. He is clearly not motivated by the same passions of his father and grandfather before him, who is credited with starting the National Association for Stock Car Auto Racing.

There are still many good things that I like about NASCAR that keep me coming back every weekend, despite often finding myself aggravated or worse during and after a race. Usually, that annoyance stems from an out-of-left field decision, a ruling on issues never before considered, or a penalty levied against a driver or team for no good reason. Admittedly I also get aggravated when my favorite driver has an off-day. Since that is Ryan Newman, I haven't been a happy camper lately. I still have hope for Ryan's season though. And wasn't it awesome to watch Tony Stewart smoke 'em all last Sunday at Dover? There is nothing better than a surprise finish by someone that deserves it and works hard for it.

Like the rest of us, it is clear that NASCAR has favorite drivers that can do no wrong, while others can't do anything right. I'm of the belief that as the sanctioning body, NASCAR should not have favorite drivers. They should treat all drivers the same. I dare anyone to claim they do that.

It seems Brad Keselowski, who is ironically NASCAR's reigning 2012 champion is the one on the hot seat these days. Brad better not turn around too fast for fear he will be penalized for it.

The bottom line for me, is that I used to proudly proclaim to be a NASCAR fan. That isn't really the case anymore.

From political affiliation which continues to espouse non-secular leanings, biased announcers that call the race, favoritism for specific drivers, inconsistent to unfair rule interpretation, and its public relations policies based on only offering the 'good' stories, NASCAR does not really stand for anything I believe in.

If it wasn't for driver personalities and the dynamic of auto racing, that offers such an emotional connection, I would be gone too. When NASCAR controls what drivers can and cannot say, and they have come close, that's my line in the sand.


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