THE NASCAR JOKE
Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch – two of NASCAR’s perpetually spoiled child drivers – have been put on a six race “probation.”
Apparently, when called to the NASCAR trailer, Stewart took a swing at Busch.
Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s disciplinarian, explained that the penalties were equal because both had misbehaved.
(more after the jump)
They both get to drive in the Daytona 500.
Neither has been disqualified from the “Duals” tomorrow.
Neither has suffered in the least, though both managed to get some headlines for themselves and their sponsors.
NASCAR should figure out whether it actually wants to curb this kind of behavior.
If it doesn’t, fine.
If it does, that’s fine, too.
But, it should quit making the pretense.
NASCAR has a rich legend of misbehavior, largely fueled by the conflicts over the years between Curtis Turner and the first Bill France. Turner invented the Charlotte Motor Speedway, aka Lowes. The guy that has been NASCAR’s latest pain in the ass – the one who set up the phony anti-trust lawsuit – that’d be Bruton Smith – basically double-crossed Turner to end up owning the track. Turner, for once in his life, ended up on the greasy end of the stick because he was so desperate for money that he cut a deal with the Teamsters to finance the track, provided that he unionized the drivers. That didn’t sit very well with Mr. France. Mr. France, after all, had bulldozed the dirt that became the banking of Daytona.
He was, in other words, entitled.
But every show needs its stars, and Curtis Turner was one of the stars.
NASCAR needs to decide if the Turners are part of its real heritage.
He was a land speculator, as was his father. He specialized in North Carolina forest land and borrowed money.
But he took the concept of risk through his entire life, through his land deals and through his driving.
And, his flying.
You know that story about landing an airplane on the main street of a small Southern town because they were out of bourbon.
Well, it’s true.
Turner landed a Twin Comanche to visit the liquor store.
Barely cleared the telephone wires at the end of the street on take off.
But, someone got the tail number. His pilot’s license was suspended before he landed.
Bill France kicked Turner out of NASCAR over the effort to unionize the drivers. When France let Turner back in, Turner had lost some of the edge. He was a natural driver. But, engineers could beat him and he didn’t have the best rides. So, he had to overcome the advantage that others received from their factories.
He is still the heart and soul of NASCAR.
Busch and Mr. Home Depot are mere pale imitations.
That’s what it’s come down to.
Two children that can’t grow up.
Perhaps one of them could try to match the Turner record.
First driver to climb Pike’s Peak in less than 15 minutes: 14 minutes 37 seconds for the 14 mile course.)
The only driver to win 25 major NASCAR races in one season driving the same car in each of them.
The only NASCAR driver to win two Grand National races in a row from the pole by leading every lap (Rochester NY and Charlotte NC in July 1950.
It wasn’t easier back then.
Back then, when they wrecked, they died.
That’s why Hemmingway said there were only three real sports: mountain climbing, bull fighting, and auto racing.
Now there are only two.
And the wimps . . . just got probation.