Sunday, June 1, 2008

Shut Up and Race!

What happened to the kind, gentle, Jimmy C. who has filled these many pages with kind and gentle thoughts? Oh he's still here. He'll be back shortly. But the alter ego Jimmy C. is here now, and he's irritated.

About what? At supposed 'veterans' in Nascar, guys that were not even a twinkle in their dad's eyes back when other drivers were already racing hard and making names for themselves.

There seems to be a new class of Nascar driver, the class that has been driving Cup for a couple or 3 years, and egged on by their lackeys at ESPN, are now considered seasoned veterans, even though I've got air in the tires in my truck that was around before anyone even heard of these supposed 'veterans.'

Rain delays, as happened at Dover yesterday, keep broadcasting networks scrambling to find newsworthy events to talk about. Controversy is always newsworthy. ESPN basically tried to keep the controversy between Denny Hamlin and Brad Keselowski burning yesterday, just to have something to talk about. Both Brad and Denny are young drivers, though Denny has actually raced in the Cup series, and has won races. Denny seems to think that Nationwide full time drivers such as Brad should not race a 'veteran' driver such as Denny. It's a mark of disrespect, and as Denny said last Saturday, "If you throw a rock, I'm throwing a concrete block back." Classy, Denny. Someday, Brad will be a Cup driver, and at some track such as Bristol, or Martinsville, or Richmond, or Darlington, Brad is going to remember that little prima dona attitude you had way back in 2008 at Charlotte and carried into Dover the following week. One day, you're going to get dumped by a rookie, and you're going to be upset and mad about it. But you will deserve every bit of it, because in 2008, you thought rookies were beneath contempt. You thought rookies were a lower form of life that you need not take notice of.

Folks, we are all racing fans here. Every single driver in every single field was once a rookie. We as fans were once rookies too. In Nascar, they put yellow stripes on the rear bumpers of rookies to denote their status. I notice that Brad's 88 Navy Chevrolet does not have those tell tale yellow stripes. He's been at this a while. Not as long as Denny, but Brad didn't get into the Nationwide series because he's never raced.

All of these drivers had to endure short track feature events, such as Late Model, B Class, Midgets, etc. All drivers that get even to the Nationwide level have won races. All of them have also lost races. All of them have endured their time in purgatory by putting up with bullies on the tracks at which they've raced. Controversy is nothing new to the drivers.

On the network level, the shameless plugs for continuing the controversy are idiotic at best, and for a veteran racer such as Rusty Wallace to show his true colors on the air, that just takes a total lack of class to achieve. How Rusty totally lacks in class, while his brothers show so much of it is hard to explain. Younger brother Kenny Wallace exudes class, all the while pumping up the fans in the pre race and post race shows. Younger brother Mike Wallace shows a lot of class, just by giving honest opinions. Neither younger brother has ever achieved the success on the race track as Rusty did, but both younger brothers show me something that Rusty never has, and that is class and tact.

Rusty Wallace's attitude is probably the reason why a few young drivers with relatively little experience say some of the stupid things that they say. I am a fan of Discovery's Deadliest Catch, a series about one of the worlds most dangerous jobs, crab fishing in Alaska. One of the fishing vessels featured on the show is the fishing vessel Northwestern, owned and operated by the Hansen brothers, who are the sons of Norwegian fisherman. The Hansen brothers spoke Norwegian before they ever spoke English, and fishing is truly in their blood. In one episode, a crew member asks captain Sig Hansen when they will be done with the work on deck. Sig is amazed that the crew member would even ask such a question, and posts a message on the pilot house window which states "Shut up and fish." My friends, this is exactly the sentiment I would like to send to all the young 'veteran' drivers out there in Nascar. Shut up and race! If you don't have the intelligence to put two words together in a pre race or post race interview, just don't say anything.

Prove your worth on the track. Prove that you have the stones to be in the position that you're in. Don't tell me about it, prove it to me. Prove to me why you are worthy of having me as a fan of yours. Prove to me why anyone is indeed a fan of yours. Don't tell me about how good a racer you are, show it to me! Prove it to me! In other words:

Shut up, and race!

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