Monday, October 5, 2009

The More Things Change.....

I have been engaged with a member of my NASCAR discussion group and it has gotten pretty heated at times. He's a long time fan and he hates NASCAR, not the sport, but the sanctioning body itself. NASCAR may be the only sport that is privately owned and operated. It is a dictatorship. NASCAR makes its own rules and enforces them with whatever sanctions and penalties it pleases. At least half of all NASCAR fans believe it is corrupt and dishonest. To them, it does things like fixing drug tests so it can ban a driver it doesn't like or cheating on a speeding penalty or inspection to favor a particular team.

It is ironic that I left politics for essentially, these same reasons (the leadership manipulating elections to dictate the outcome, i.e. Obama versus Hillary) and now find myself embroiled in the same kinds of arguments I fled politics to NASCAR to escape.

This all started with my fellow discussion group member practically from the beginning but it has recently gotten more intense. Our latest round of debate was precipitated when NASCAR took Jimmie Johnson's and Mark Martin's cars back to the R&D Center for a post-race inspection after they finished one, two at Richmond. NASCAR said that it warned Hendrick Motorsports that while both cars were legal, the tolerances when the templates were used, was so small, they risked failing inspection if measurements varied by so much as a thousandth. They advised Hendrick it might be wise to back off rather than taking that risk. Which is where the story should have ended. But it didn't, because rumors became rampant that Jimmie (not Mark though, of course, because it isn't p.c. in NASCAR to say anything detrimental about Mark Martin) actually failed the inspection but NASCAR lied so as not to have to penalize him.

It all boils down to me preferring to take NASCAR's word and my friend (?) preferring to believe the sanctioning body is willing to risk it's multi-billion dollar industry to lie, cheat, steal and I don't know, probably commit murder as well. He gets off on his anti-NASCAR passion.

It is somewhat amusing to look back on our past posts. I am the classic Democrat, trying to use soft persuasion, walking softly so as not to hurt feelings, speaking in weasel phrases, like "I could be wrong, but...", never resorting to name calling or making the deads nuts claim that I couldn't possibly be wrong. Meanwhile, he's 100 percent Republican in his debating style. (I don't really know his political affiliation but I assume he'd consider this opinion on my part a compliment)

He accuses me of living in a fairy tale world and in a land of "Jimmie love" in which I refuse to accept that my driver is a cheater. He's got his 40+ wins and those 3 championships, not through skill and luck and strategy, but because NASCAR has the fix in for him. I am the soft-headed romantic while he is the tough-as-nails realist. I am obviously too stupid to know when I'm being conned. Occasionally, he apologizes if he "offended" me but then he goes ahead and offends me again, or he would if I offended easily, which I don't.

So, I left the bare-knuckle warfare of politics to find peace in NASCAR, only to discover that nothing much has changed.