February 16, 2009 |

Let’s be brutally honest – I’m usually the guy who supports NASCAR with a clearly biased measuring stick.  It’s easy to do ….. they tend to get just about everything right.  They’re accountable, available, gracious and honest. 


But, to their own detriment NASCAR exists under the guise of some very old, antiquated rules.  One of the rules came to the forefront in determining the end result of yesterday’s Daytona 500.  By now, even Non-NASCAR fans know the race ended early, due to rain.


Trust me, this had to piss-off just about every soul in the seats, around the 2 ½ mile oval.  I know it ….. I’ve been there.  In 2003, I made the trek to Daytona to treat my mom, who was terminally ill, in her battle with cancer.


We sat through a couple rain delays, before Michael Waltrip was crowned the eventual winner.  As a sports fan, I’ve never felt so cheated for the product I purchased.  I know the standing NASCAR rule – if a race reaches its halfway point, it’s official if the rains begin.


That said, it just seems wrong to let the biggest race of the year – the SUPER BOWL – end in any term less than regulation time.  Bring ‘em back Monday, if it’s necessary.  But, you can’t let the Daytona 500 end in 499 miles or less …..


Drew Forrester KNOWS Golf.  Nestor KNOWS the Orioles.  Casey Willett KNOWS the Ravens.  And, I absolutely KNOW NASCAR.  So, here’s the deal on yesterday’s debacle, in Daytona Beach …..


NASCAR wants nothing to do with carrying an event into the following day.  While they know the 100,000+ common-joes seated around the track are the lifeblood of the sport, they’re more concerned with entertaining the CEO’s of sponsors and celebrities who hawk their wares for the day.


Forget the guy from Arkansas, who has made the faithful pilgrimage to Daytona, every February, for the last 40 years.  And, you can forget about the family gets together for a “Daytona 500 Party,” like it’s Christmas.


And, while you’re at it, forget about my friend, Harvey, who attends nearly 20 NASCAR events (including Daytona) every year.  Why?  They know Harv’ will be back, next year.  And, he’ll be in Atlanta in 3 weeks, followed by Charlotte, Martinsville, Bristol, Indy, Dover, Pocono, Talladega, Michigan, Homestead and a few others.


NASCAR fans are loyal – to a fault.  And, Brian France (NASCAR CEO) knows it.  Thus, he can ensure Matt Kenseth’s sponsors (DeWalt) were in attendance to celebrate a shortened, soggy victory, on Sunday ….. rather than possibly missing a legitimate win, on Monday.


NASCAR also needs to ensure Tom Cruise gets his mugg in the victory celebrations, rather than losing his presence, a mere half-day later.  You doubt it?  Hmmm ….. is Tom still in Daytona, this morning?  I’ll betcha he’s on the other side of the North American continent, as this blog is posted.


NASCAR absolutely knows the same FANS who showed up yesterday were there years prior.  And, they know those same fans will be back next year.  So, they’re determined to please the people who have nothing more than a financial interest.  Racing is not in the CEO’s heart and it’s certainly not in Tom Cruise’s heart.


Trust me, NASCAR gets pressure for the inner-core, as well.  Dale Earnhardt, Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson have no desire to hang around an extra day – and that’s the blunt truth.  They have commitments to sponsors, employers and families, throughout the week.  And, they’ve gotta be in Los Angeles, by Thursday.


Was there another way to avoid this?  Maybe …..


How about starting the race a little earlier in the day – especially, since there is no logical plan for addressing inclement impacting situations.  NASCAR President, Mike Helton, reasoned the race had to be halted, because it would’ve been 11pm when the track was finally dried.


Well, CHUCKLEHEAD, you’re the one who chose to start the race at 3:30 in the afternoon !!!!  If something so probable as a burst of rain will ruin the event, in its entirety – do something about it.


You don’t wanna come back on Monday?  Fine ….. start the race at 1pm.  And, if it rains, you’ll have a decent window to restart everything.  However, calling a race after a short delay is absolutely bunk.


Whenever possible, we pile on Bud Selig and his dimwitted decisions – or non-decisions, regarding the game of baseball.  Yet, even Bud got it RIGHT when the World Series stared inclement weather in the eye.


Baseball rules call for a complete game after 5 ½ innings.  However, Bud Selig and his cronies ensured the most important game of the year wasn’t decided in abbreviated fashion.  Indeed, NASCAR could learn something from baseball.


Admittedly, it’s usually the other way around.  But, not this time.  NASCAR needs to get their act together – or the fringe observers (insert your name HERE ______) will never take it seriously.