With enough crashes to cause H.B. Halicki, director of the original ‘Gone In 60 Seconds’, to do barrel rolls in his grave, this last Sunday’s Daytona 500 (Brought to you by AAA Roadside Assistance, because if you’re racing at Daytona, you’re gonna need a tow-truck) transcended heretofore unbelievable levels of stupidity, and was quite possibly the poster child for how not to run a racing series.
[media-credit name=”David Yeazell” align=”alignright” width=”225″][/media-credit]With a record-setting 146,890 cautions, 4 million lead changes, and the race running 87,053 laps over the scheduled 200 due to engines blowing up, drivers unable to grasp the simple concept of ‘try not to hit the wall’, alien invasion, Suicide Nerf-Batters attempting to bludgeon people to death in the stands, the Public Beer Hot Dog and Popcorn Vendor Employees Union (local 743) starting several riots in and around the track and up in Wisconsin, and the general foolishness of having the racing itself degrade to ‘Obamacare’ levels of morbidity. This event is a stellar example of showing what happens when you redesign the nose of an aging, overpriced turd of a race car (that nobody likes) and fail miserably when it can’t maintain race speeds unless another car is pushing it in a continuous state of bump-drafting….depending on who you talk to, the Super (toilet) Bowl of stock-car racing either crashed-and-burned like John Denver in an experimental airplane, or it was the greatest event in automotive history simply due to the amazing amount of highlight-reel-worthy crash footage it generated in the 4-freaking-hour-long-monument-to-how-people-who-think-they-are-smarter-than-everyone-else-can-truly-screw-things-up-in-an-almost-glorious-manner.
Add to that Molotov-cocktail-mix (no offense to V.M. Molotov, by the way) the inability of The France Cartel to leave the cars alone for the week preceding the Daytona 500, and their innate ability to indeed screw things up more than was thought logically possible, after being teased with some darn good racing during the Bud Shootout, apparently, the racing just wasn’t stupid enough for Those Who Rule in Daytona, no, we had to slow the cars down (as if an extra 5 miles an hour is going to kill anyone that much more) so they would stay together longer in gigantic, TV-worthy, crash-and-highlight-reel-producing packs, oh, and that simply didn’t lower the IQ level enough for the race fan at home, no, they also had to disable cooling equipment under the hood of those same vehicles so they wouldn’t be tempted to actually race their cars around the track for any prolonged length of time….which, in my opinion, attributed to the several engine failures experienced by teams who don’t typically have engine failures….
The horror, the horror.
We now have, due to the abundance of TV coverage that’s always present at the Daytona 500 (Remember, it’s THE stock car event of the season), there is a lot more scrutiny covering what goes on both off and on the track, and in addition, with it being live entertainment, they can’t really edit out any mistakes or disasters in the making….so we get to see everything, and watch those in the commentary booth try to gloss over just how bad this particular sport has gotten. In addition, NASCAR, Fox, and any other sports reporting agency covering this event publicly admits just how sad everything was when Dale Sr. bought it on the final lap of the 2001 Daytona 500, it’s a bit interesting that they sure do replay that horrific accident over and over, don’t they? And they’d gladly donate their children to science to be the first to cover another, gloriously-presented fatality on the track….the truth is, with the 500-mile-long, 240-minute demolition derby that posed as a superspeedway event on Sunday, It might be possible that this race revealed just how pointless professional stock car racing has truly become.
The bad part?
I’ve never been as excited about a NASCAR race as I was when Trevor Bayne crossed the finish line in first.…just like in a cheesy, overproduced, short-on-plot-but-long-on-special-effects Michael Bay movie, the unknown little twerp that everyone usually steps on somehow emerges victorious at the end….the only thing missing was a spectacular battle involving transforming robots who weigh several tons, but fight and move just as quickly as Kung-Fu warriors who only weigh a buck-five, and do somersaults and acrobatics like the tiniest of female gymnasts….
Whatever wasn’t included, Hell yeah. The kid won it.
In a Ford.
With a team that has been competing in NASCAR since the beginning.
And hasn’t won in ten years.
Now that my slap at Chevy, Dodge, and Toyota is out of the way, however, this last Sunday, I pissed away four hours of my life that I’m never going to get back, to see the most horrible race I’ve ever had the misfortune to view (and this is coming from someone who watched last-year’s pothole-marked event), in my lifetime….I’m considering reporting NASCAR to the United Nations for crimes-against-motorsport-humanity violations due to the Geneva Convention-level-torture that I endured watching that race, with the Daytona 500, somehow, mysteriously, on the last lap, developing into quite possibly the most tremendous finish I’ve seen in all my years of watching NASCAR races. Think of it as watching 3:59 hours of the worst-directed Three Stooges flick ever created (unseating ‘Ishtar’, ‘An Inconvenient Truth’, ‘The Fast and the Furious’ franchise, ‘Elizabethville’, and other similar bombs as the worst movies ever made), only to have the last minute be worthy of a lifetime Oscar award for the best ending ever in a movie.
Essentially, the Wood Brothers win was a positive glimpse into what NASCAR could be. This win could be the swift kick in the rear that NASCAR needs to get some of the older fan base back to the track, or at least back to the TV set, but with how expensive it has become to field a competitive entry, for 36 freaking races, all across the United States, and with the Brian Trust in charge and not doing a single thing to limit the costs to the teams, or punish those who spend bazillions of dollars on testing equipment that drives privateer teams out of the sport, the problem here is that it won’t happen again, until The France Cartel returns to Daytona later this year, as the ‘anyone could truly win’ mantra usually only applies at the Florida superspeedway, and occasionally at Talladega….
There Will Be Hype.
And then it will die.
We will then return to the same two or three mega-teams winning everything in sight, and have the same driver win his sixth Sprint Cup Championship at the end of the 2011 season.
And more fans will be lost.
Me, personally? I’ve had more disasters in my personal life over the last year than most people go through in twenty. Watching a race is supposed to be an escape from the train wrecks and carnage that occur in everyday life, not be a continuation of it. I see stupidity at least a dozen times a day simply on my drive to, and home from work, it’s amazing how many incompetent drivers are on the road these days, and how these intellectual troglodytes clog up our nation’s roadways, not to mention create emotional and physical pain and suffering (don’t forget the fatalities) when the nation’s vehicularly-retarded get behind the wheel and cause accidents….however, when you tune into the biggest, and most popular racing series in the United States, you don’t see polish, you don’t see excellence, no, NASCAR has devolved into resembling just how inept a large, governmental (key word being ‘mental’) body can be when it has no competition for the goods or services it provides….
Fortunately, there is another stock-car racing organization out there. It’s called the Australian V8 Supercar series, hopefully coming to an American racetrack near you. As it is now, it’s only available in the states via’ Speedtv….however, for some, strange reason, I can’t turn off the NASCAR train wreck….it provides too much comedic material to work with, and I’m hoping something eventually changes….
See you next time….And if at first you don’t succeed, call it the ‘Car of Tomorrow’.