Thursday, July 30, 2009

What Percentage of NASCAR Fans Are Crazy?

I have decided that about a third of NASCAR fans are certifiable. I've thought that for a while but their take on the Jeremy Mayfield case elevated those feelings. An unbelievable number of NASCAR fans seemed to consider it perfectly logical that NASCAR, a multi-billion dollar industry, would risk their credibility, indeed, their very existence to fix a drug test to get Jeremy Mayfield, a minor league driver at best, out of racing (for whatever nefarious reason they might have had for doing that).

Now, those same conspiracy theorists are at it again, being sincerely convinced that NASCAR deliberately "threw" the Brickyard 400 by lying about Juan Pablo Montoya speeding on pit lane. They attribute a number of different motivations to NASCAR. One is that the sanctioning body is inherently racist and didn't want a foreigner to win. Two is that they have a deal going to only let Hendrick's cars win because Rick Hendrick pumps so much money into NASCAR. Three is that, well, if there is a three, I forget what it is.

I personally believe that the leadership of the sanctioning body probably wrung their collective hands in anguish over having to give Montoya a pit road speeding penalty. What a terrific headline they have gotten out of it if he'd won. "JPM makes history - first to win both Indy 500 and Brickyard 400". That would have made news all over the world. It would have brought in new Hispanic fans in droves. Instead what they got was: "Jimmie wins Brickyard...again", which happened to be my preferred outcome but , let's face it, was a far more ho-hum result.

As for NASCAR favoring Rick Hendrick, if they were truly going to fix races for HMS, wouldn't they fix them for Dale Earnhardt, Junior to win? What would excite the fan base more than Junior winning races? That alone would probably fill the seats and up the television viewing audience to its pre-recession levels.

The most obvious argument against NASCAR cheating on either drug tests or race results is that it would be stupid and NASCAR hasn't got to be the second most popular sport in America (after the NFL) by being led by stupid people. All it would take would be one iota of proof that NASCAR manipulated a drug test or fixed a race and the entire entity would go down the tubes. Without faith in its credibility, the sanctioning body has nothing. I don't believe Brian France etal have the slightest desire to do this but even if they did, they wouldn't.

I don't why know so many "fans" seem to have such a seething hatred of NASCAR, finding it logical to believe there is no evil of which the sanctioning body is incapable. And why do they even stick around? If I thought NASCAR was so inherently corrupt, I'd go find something else to occupy my time. If I loved racing, I'd go hang out at my local short tracks and get away from NASCAR altogether. Instead, they come to the blogs and message boards, wearing their tinfoil hats, and force the rest of us to listen as they spew their lunatic opinions.