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Is NASCAR fixed?


Paulie Mississippi

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Tony Kornheiser, on his ESPN show "Pardon the Interruption" stated that he is 60% certain that NASCAR is fixed... and as the Daytona 500 is this Sunday, it's an interesting time to discuss this...

He claims and "unnamed source"... but referred to the sourse as "her" and "she"... told him that insiders had told her that the car that Dale Earnhardt, Jr. used to secure the pole position for Sunday's race was not a standard car.

The folks at NASCAR would love for Jr. to not only be on the pole for this race, but for the sports most popular driver to win it... as it is the 10th anniversary of his fathers tragic death at this same track... And with NASCAR sinking in both television ratings and at-track attendance, how could they not hope to capitalize on Dale Jr's popularity?

Before any of you NASCAR faithful "poo-poo" the notion, let me tell you a little story... I was at the track the day that "3" hit the wall and died... in a freak accident that was in no way the worst crash of that day... And I was also in attendance at that July's "400"... the night race that is run in Daytona on the 4th of July weekend. In THAT race; Jr's first time back to Daytona since his fathers death, he was an also ran in the race... until near the end, when a questionable "caution" was called for supposed "debris" on the track... and after the accompanying pit-stop, suddenly Dale Jr's car was literally running laps around the others... Johnny Benson had been leading the race and looked to score the win, but after that pit-stop, Earnardt Jr. chased him down and passed him like he was standing still... Benson irked NASCAR officials after the race by suggesting what Kornheiser (and me) are saying... that NASCAR WANTED Jr. to win that day and made sure it happened... and I think they have the same agenda for Sunday...

If you think it's all about the drivers, it's not. Only a certain percentage of racing is about drivers, the rest is about equipment... and luck. And when your sanctioning body is also the people who oversee and inspect the equipment, it's easy to see how NASCAR could stack the deck in a drivers favor... add some octane to that teams fuel... give their "restrictor plate" just a bit more of an opening to allow for more horse-power in the vehicle... allow the spoiler to be angled a fraction off... There are hundreds of ways to cheat the system... Fact is, it is conceivable that NASCAR could help a driver without the driver even knowing it... Such was the case a decade ago (come July)... and so it could be again on Sunday...

Thoughts?

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The only way to make time at this years Daytona 500 will be to pair up with another driver nose to tail...no single car will be able to keep up with the 'pairs'. That would seem to make a 'fixed' race a little harder to pull off, as the pairs can change as the race progresses. Should be interesting...

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Paulie - Don't know enough about NASCAR to comment, but.....at the risk of venturing into Cartoon World territory.....the longer I work in my current job, and the more I deal with Congressional, White House & OMB staffers, the more convinced I become by the minute that national politics and professional wrestling are one and the same!

Followers of each truly seem to believe that there really are principled good guys and bad/evil guys living in a black & white world, who really hate each other....but sadly, the reality is - behind the curtain, everybody's working together to make it look good and put on a realistic-looking, entertaining show, which will keep the marks coming back, so they can be fleeced of as much of their hard-earned cash as possible.

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I had not thought of Pro-Wrestling and the political scene in the same terms for a while, but it makes perfect sense... some of them wear "masks" to obscure who they really are, some of the "bad-guys" do the "baby-face" turn to try to fool us...

Yeah, it's a wonder Mrs. McMahon could not get elected... though Jesse Ventura did... laugh

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Fixed or not really doesn't seem to matter to the rabidly addicted. Members of my family load up in a massive motorhome and trek to Fontana Speedway. There, wedged shoulder to shoulder and mirror to mirror, with hundreds of other single-minded minded and similarly equipped fans, they break out the massive BBQ, comfy chairs, giant flat screen TV, and the essential and all-encompassing sun shade. Sure, they could go up to the viewing area on the top of the motorhome and actually watch the race, but where would be the fun in that? Better to view the whole spectacle in comfort and in a front row seat facing the TV, while the drivers and cars go at it, hammer and tong, unseen by the naked eye, just a few feet away. Yes, there is nothing like the raw, primal, unfiltered appeal of oval track racing. Rule bending, subtle cheating, and the occasional fisticuffs between drivers are all just icing on the cake!

Not interested, but give me a call if they put a break in the traditional circle jerk and direct them down off the banking and make them run a road course between motorhomes through the infield. Then I might be inclined to watch. Just as long as NASCAR scheduling doesn't conflict with a good Roller Derby on another channel! grin

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As a kid back in the '60's, I took in many Daytona 500's... always in the "infield" where my Dad would drive us in in his pickup-camper and then, the last year, we had upgraded to a Winnebago... that was the last year because the infield was starting to really be party-central and during the race some drunken fans decided it was a good time for a football game... and an errant pass hit the motor home. My mom was so incensed over the lack of respect, both to her property and to the racing that they never went back...

It was many years before I made it back... in fact it was 2001... I took my Dad to the Nationwide Truck Race there at DIS... afterward they had the IROC series... ironically, it was the last race that Dale Earnhardt senior would actually complete as he was killed on the final lap of the "500" just two days later...

Of course now, being 2500 miles away, I'll be watching on the tube... It's funny, I always look forward to the Daytona 500... and stay interested for another few races... but by then, it's time for baseball to be in full swing, and I give up my late-winter fling to return to my first love... year after year... season after season... laugh

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Have a lot of respect for the IROC series, Paulie. Pitting topnotch drivers in identical cars on a rotating basis really brought out who was the best. Always a treat to see who would be better, the oval guys, the roadracers, or the rally champs. Fun stuff. My first love was the Unlimited Sports Cars of the sixties (Chaparral, Ford GT, Lotus, etc.) or it's later evolution, the Can-Am series. Four hundred plus cubic inches, wings, flippers, and a thunder that drowned out all else. And Jim Hall's sucker car! What a time of innovation and nary a computer to be seen. That was real racing! cool

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Wow...

So, Dale Jr. didn't win... though a couple of times he looked like he was on the verge of dominant... he finally got caught up in a wreck near the end of the race... His story was sort of a non-factor...

20 year old Trevor Bayne... making only his second Sprint Cup start... and his first start in a Daytona 500... turned 20 JUST YESTERDAY in fact... holds off Carl Edwards on a "Green-White-Checker" finish to become the youngest winner of the Daytona 500 ever... beating Jeff Gordon by over 5 years... and puts his car owner, the legendary Wood Brothers, in victory circle in Daytona for the first time since '76!

Imagine... the kid doesn't even have sponsorship or a ride for the full year... well; make that he DIDN'T... I gotta think there are a lot of sponsors ready to stroke checks to make sure this budding superstar is on the track every race this year!

Yeah, this years Daytona 500 was indeed the kind of shot in the arm that NASCAR has needed... just not in the way we all suspected! laugh

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