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“You were wrong, Dad!”

Wednesday, March 22nd, 2006

Katie loves it when the NASCAR guys on Fox do the “Crank it up!” thing. She was pestering me about it when I was watching qualifying last week. (That’s on Speed Channel and they don’t do “Crank it up!”)

On Saturday, I was watching the Busch race and she asked me about it. I said, “No, Honey. This still isn’t Fox. This is FX.”

A few minutes later, they made a fool out of me. They did “Crank it up!” Being a good, loving daddy, I called Katie in from the other room and rewound it so she could “crank it up!”

I practically leaped off the couch. I have a 600 watt receiver and Bose speakers powering the surround. The volume knob is electronic and gauged to the speed with which you turn it. The right rear surround speaker was about 10 inches from my head when she spun the big knob hard and blasted 600 watts right into my ear.

The worst part is that it was so loud she couldn’t even hear me yelling at her to turn it down.

I wonder what the neighbors thought.

Then Emily said, “You were wrong, Dad. You said they didn’t do this.”

Perfect.

“Revenuer man wanted Granddaddy bad. Headed up the mountain with everything he had. He never came back from Copperhead Road.”

NASCAR lyrics

Tuesday, March 7th, 2006

Me and my brother-in-law, J.D.
Drove to Bristol, Tennessee.
To watch that Goody’s race,
Beneath the lights.

Sky was dark.
It looked like rain.
Left over from that hurricane.
J.D. said, “Lay back. It’s wet tonight.”

Now ol’ J.D., he’s a real nice man.
Even though he’s a Rusty Wallace fan.
And won’t drink nothing
But Miller Genuine Draft.

He said, “Number two’s goin’ all the way!”
“Ya won’t beat Rusty.”
“Not today.”
“He’s the short track King.”
I just had to laugh.

I’m an Earnhardt man, ya see.
I live and die by number three.
And any fool knows,
Ya always bet on black.

Me and J.D., we argue some.
I say he’s crazy,
He says I’m dumb.
But just like Rusty and Dale,
We always take it back.

Mother nature
Give us the shaft.
We sat in the rain,
For a hour and a half.

It was just too doggone wet to race.

When they dried the track
And dropped the flag,
Me and J.D.’s
About half in the bag.
He was hollerin’, “Rusty!”
And gettin’ all in my face.

Long about lap 32,
Car three caught up with number two.
They touched and
Rusty went up in the wall.

J.D. hollered,
“There, now see?”
“That no-good, cheatin’ SOB!”
“I hate his guts!”
“I can’t believe his gall.”

I said, “That’s just racin’.”
“He got tagged.”
Then the man in black got black flagged.
They stuck him at the tail end of the pack.

J.D. said, “Now whatcha gonna do?”
“Just sit back and watch number two.”
I said, “We’re down but,
We’re comin’ back.”

Sure enough,
Ol’ ironhead
Came through the pack
Like a needle and thread.

(Though he might have bumped a few on the way.)

Meanwhile, Rusty’s efforts came to nil.
He got tangled up with Awesome Bill.
Forty-six laps down.
It wasn’t much to see.

Terry Labonte was in the lead,
When that three car poured on a burst of speed,
And knocked him in the wall at the checkered flag.

Terry come up smilin’
Just the same.
Said, “No hard feelin’s!”
Down in victory lane.

It was just another game of NASCAR tag.

All of a sudden,
Minutes later,
Rusty walked up to the Intimidator
And said, “Darlington’s next week! I’ll see ya there!”

He looked about as mad as Schwarzenegger.
And said, “I ain’t forgot about Talledegar!”
Then he throwed his water bottle through the air.

You could see it there,
In Rusty’s face.
The boy had had him a real tough race.
That explains his anger,
I suppose.

He got so mad,
That things got scary.
But I don’t think it was necessary,
To bounce a bottle off Earnhardt’s nose.

Me and J.D looked down in the pits.
J.D. said, “That’s what he gets!”
“Go on, Rusty! Break him right in half!”

I said, “J.D., you must be bent.”
“That thing was all a accident.”
Then he hit me in the head
With his Miller Genuine Draft.

I turned around and looked at him,
And he looked back,
And I looked back,
And we just stood there lookin’ at one another.

I felt my face gettin’ red.
And then I went upside his head.
And said a few choice words
About his mother.

We was whalin’ on each other hard.
And this big, ol’ fat security guard
Come whacked us both
With his big, old wooden club.

He put an end
To our debate.
Throwed us both out,
Through the back gate.
And said, “Don’t y’all never come back in here, Bub!”

Well, Rusty and Dale’s
Longtime friends.
I reckon that they’ll
Both make amends,
And do the right thing.
If ya give ‘em half a chance.

Ol’ Earnhardt’s a real tough mother.
But him and Rusty
Like one another.
And besides,
They’re both scared o’ ol’ Bill Frantz.

Me and J.D.’s friends again.
This weekend we’re gonna take a spin,
Down to Darlington
And watch ‘em go real fast.

My brother-in-law’s
Still my best friend.
But if he ever hits me with a bottle again….

I swear I’m gonna kick his ever-lovin’ ass!

I still miss Dale and that black number three.

Jeff Gordon grows up

Sunday, September 11th, 2005

I don’t post much here about NASCAR. I’m not sure why that is. I love it almost as much as poker and I’ve been a hardcore fan for a very long time.

The Chase to The Championship is now set and Jeff Gordon’s not in it. That makes me happy. As my father-in-law says every time Jeff Gordon wrecks, “It couldn’t happen to a nicer guy.” Why am I happy about it? Do I hate Jeff Gordon?

No. I don’t hate Jeff Gordon. I hate media hype and we’ve endured about 15 years of it concerning Jeff Gordon. He’s a very good race car driver but there are many thousands with that skill. He has no heart and now that’s being revealed. He’s not a “racer.” Dale Earnhardt was a racer. Richard Petty was a racer. Tony Stewart’s a racer. Kyle Petty is not. Jeff Gordon’s not and the jury’s still out on Dale Earnhardt, Jr. I suspect he is, but we shall see.

Jeff Gordon’s problem is that his life has always been so easy that he doesn’t have a hunger. He expects to win and he doesn’t expect to have to really compete. Everything, including four NASCAR championships, has been handed to him for just being Jeff. The fact is, he’s good at what he does and when he first stepped up to the top level of NASCAR racing, he was given a crew chief that is one of the best that’s ever done the job. Ray Evernham’s a freakin’ genius. Ray Evernham carried Jeff Gordon and then moved on.

For the last few years, Jeff Gordon’s been carrying Robbie Loomis. When you’re being carried by Jeff Gordon, you have problems. Especially if you’re Jeff Gordon because he has no heart to deal with adversity.

I will predict right now that Jeff Gordon will never win another NASCAR championship. I’ll put fifty dollars on it (but only to the first person that takes the bet). The differences between Jeff Gordon and Rusty Wallace are these:

  1. Rusty Wallace won only one championship because he didn’t have Ray Evernham
  2. Rusty Wallace actually earned what little success he found in NASCAR
  3. Jeff Gordon is not completely and totally in love with Jeff Gordon. In fact, I don’t think Jeff even thinks he’s God.

I think the comparison is apt because Rusty won one championship 16 years ago and has been an icon ever since, despite the fact that he’s not very good and never really was. Jeff Gordon’s the new generation’s Rusty Wallace. As I mentioned, Jeff was more successful than he deserved because of Evernham, but just like Rusty, he’s peaked and that’s because neither of them have a racer’s heart.

Petty and Earnhardt each have seven championships. Both of them achieved that driving for more than one team, more than one crew chief, more than one car owner. That’s a racer. Rusty only managed the championship once and, though Jeff has four, he’s done all of them with the same car owner and team and all but one with the same crew chief.

But back to Rusty’s narcissism. Have you ever seen a man so in love with himself? I haven’t and I can’t even seem to find the reason for it. I mean, sure he’s rich, but he’s not pretty and has never really done anything of note. He’s a race car driver and that’s cool to me… except… if you listen to him speak (EVER!) you would think he is the King of All That is Racing. He’s not close. There are many behind him in the sport that have already, and will continue to, eclipse everything he’s ever done (Jeff Gordon is one). And that’s not to mention the fact that he doesn’t even measure up to many who came before him.

Any other NASCAR fans noticed that both Mark Martin and Rusty Wallace are retiring after this year, but all we ever hear about is “Rusty’s last race at this track?” It’s because Mark Martin has class. He doesn’t self promote. He doesn’t need to. He’s not insecure about his accomplishments and, though he doesn’t have a Cup yet, they’re far greater than Rusty’s.

I’d like to see Mark Martin win the Cup this year. He deserves it. If he can’t have it, I just hope that no other Roush or Penske driver gets it. That covers 7 of the top 10. I’m pullin’ for (in this order):

  1. Mark Martin
  2. Tony Stewart
  3. Jeremy Mayfield

I’m not a big Mayfield fan, but I’m an Evernham fan. Also, I don’t like Jack Roush and I don’t like most of his drivers. Mark Martin is the exception. I do like Joe Gibbs and his whole team.

My prediction is that Tony Stewart’s going to win it. That team’s got it together and they’re going to be very hard to beat. He’s one of my favorite drivers but I really am pulling for Mark Martin.

I’ll miss Mark Martin a bit next year, I think. As for Rusty? I say, “FINALLY! Good riddance!”

American culture comes to me

Saturday, June 18th, 2005

I’ve felt out of place most of my life. I still do and I’ve learned that it’s a good thing. Whenever I start to fit in I start to become concerned. I’m sure that’s played a strong part in my fierce individualist philosophy. One of my life philosophies is, “When you find yourself in agreement with the majority it’s time to examine your premises again.”

But…

It seems that maybe I’m just a bit ahead of the curve. Since I was a young boy I’ve loved (in no particular order) God, NASCAR, poker, rodeo and boxing.

In case you haven’t noticed, all but the last is rising in popularity these days. God’s working a revival in this country like we’ve never seen in human history. Churches are springing up everywhere and growing fast. NASCAR is the most popular spectator sport in America, eclipsing even MLB, NBA and NFL by large margins.

Poker, in the last couple of years, has exploded in popularity.

I can now find NASCAR and poker on TV nearly every day. In some cases I have to make decisions about which NASCAR or poker show I want to watch because they are playing on multiple channels at once. I sometimes have to choose between poker on 3 different channels.

As for God, I have multiple 24/7 Christian stations on my satellite service and for 12 bucks a month I can get Sky Angel (again) and have 36 more channels of 24/7 ministry.

America’s a Christian, NASCAR, poker playing nation. The “blue staters” are the freaks here and they’re going to continue to fade into irrelevance if they continue their condescending, pseudo-intellectual path of imagined superiority.

This is a redneck country. It was birthed that way and it won’t be overthrown by a bunch of pansies that wear patches on their elbows and spend their whole lives in school.

Earnhardt

Saturday, April 2nd, 2005

I finally got around to watching the ESPN original movie “3″ last night. It’s a movie about the life of Dale Earnhardt. I’ve had it on the PVR ever since it premiered in, I think, December. I have no problem confessing that I cried when Dale was killed. (When I watched it live in reality – not in the movie.) It was like losing another part of my father. Not that I thought that much of Dale, but it was something my daddy and I shared. I experienced the same thing when Johnny Carson died recently. (I lost my daddy almost 23 years ago at 12 and I sometimes wonder if I’m ever going to “finish” losing him.)

The movie was pretty lame. It was typical TV movie of the week fare. I was pretty disappointed, really. It explored nothing and glossed over a lot that was important. I kept waiting for it to get good and then realized there was only fifteen minutes left and we had only just gotten to the ’98 Daytona 500 win.

His tragic death and the amazing circumstances around it were almost an afterthought. I guess they were making a movie about his life, but still, his death had significance in a number of ways that they chose to ignore. I’m not so sure it was such an accurate portrayal of his life, either.

Oh, well. Thanks to modern tech in the form of the PVR, it didn’t cost me two hours because I skipped through all the commercials.

I’m glad I got to see Dale and his son racing together in person. The first time that happened was also the only Cup race that Adam Petty ever ran before he was tragically killed. It was at Texas Motor Speedway. Somewhere around here I still have a qualifying day ticket for that weekend with Adam’s picture on it, celebrating his entrance into Cup racing. He was killed just a few weeks later at Hew Hampshire.

I’m not a fanatical NASCAR fan in relative terms, but I’ve been privileged.