Down here in the South, we have a special way of saying things sometimes. The same is probably true for the rest of the country, as well as the rest of the world, but here in the South, we seem to really do things differently sometimes.
I used to play, and still have friends who hit a little white ball with a stick called “goff” or “gawf”, depending upon how many beers the player has had. I think the real word is “golf”, but it seems that if you pronounce it that way, you’re either from the North or totally sober.
I used to have a boss in North Carolina who once said that he was basically a “farfarter, I put out fars all day.” I think he meant “firefighter”, but with bosses, who knows what the heck they’re talking about sometimes?
NASCAR certainly has it’s share of Southern residents involved in the sport, though not in many of the driver’s seats anymore. Many of the crew chiefs, and even some of the owners are as Southern as they can get. Many of them have managed to lose the Southern accent, but often you will hear some things that must be almost incomprehensible to people, say, from the great state of Minnesota.
“This dang ole back end keeps tryin to tarn on me!” “Just keep ‘er up thar, bud. Keep a hittin yore marks!” “OK, guys. Four tars and a half round a wedge in the rot rear.” “Keep a gittin it!”
I’m certainly not being critical of these folks. Heck, I’m about as Southern as I can be. I particular love hearing Bill Elliot talk. Now folks, when you hear Awesome Bill talk, you know exactly what a North Georgia mountain boy sounds like. I really miss Ward Burton, because he exemplifies the sound of Southern Virginia. “Mah name is Wah Button.” I miss that so much.
No, folks, I’m the last person to be critical. People have complained over the years that Dale Earnhardt and Dale Jr. were pretty much speaking a foreign language, or so it sounded. I understand that accent perfectly, because I’ve got the same one. I’ve lived most of my life within 100 miles of Mooresville, North Carolina, so to me, it’s the way most people talk around here.
“I’ll be dad gummed” is one you hear often during NASCAR races. I can forgive Larry McReynolds for saying it, because he’s from Alabama. But Ole DW? Darrell is from Owensboro, Kentucky, which is right across the river from Indiana. Tony Stewart and Ryan Newman are both from Indiana, and I’ve never them “dad gum” anything.
I enjoy how some drivers seem to be becoming “Southernized.” Kevin Harvick, who is from Bakersfield, California, does not have a Southern accent, but occasionally he will pronounce a word or two with a distinct Southern flavor to it. Part of that is from living in North Carolina for quite a few years, but I give most of the credit to his wife, Delana, who is a pedigreed Southerner. Way to go, Delana!
Sometimes I wonder how driver Jimmie Johnson and his crew chief Chad Knaus can even understand what anyone says in their transplanted home state. To me their not hard to understand, but in the NASCAR of the 1970’s, I doubt that they would have had the success that they’ve had.
Most of the crew wouldn’t have been able to understand most of what they said!