There have been a few issues arising recently in the world of NASCAR about which I have been loquaciously silent.
Loquacious is sort of like deafening silence, for those of you still wondering what it means (or maybe the opposite… look it up!). However, as anyone who knows me personally will tell you, I don’t usually practice the “silent” part for too long and get right on to the loquacious side of things.
So with the Sprint Cup Series silent this past week, now is my time.
First off: Morgan Shepherd vs. Joey Logano, the great age vs. kid debate. The bottom line here is NASCAR’s rules. I don’t care if a driver is 102; if he meets the qualifications set forth by the sanctioning body, and is maintaining the minimum speed set forth by said sanctioning body, let the man race.
Slower cars are part of the game. Let’s forget the fact that Shepherd was driving the car. Who among any of the current drivers out there, be it Jimmie Johnson, Jeff Gordon or even Logano hasn’t had one of those days when they were driving around out there with early damage or, for whatever reason, just riding as a general moving chicane?
Sometimes, bad handling cars just happen, leading to mistakes from just about anyone. It could have just as easily been John Wes Townley or another young gun in the car and Logano would have been just as likely to have been wrecked, ending with the same result but without the convenient age factor to blame it on.
So, Logano et al need to shut up and suck it up, buttercup! Slower cars will always be in the way as long as there is racing. At least, at age 70-plus, Shepherd has the balls to be out there driving 150-plus mph. Let’s wait and see how fast Logano is going at that age.
The next topic of deep thought has been this Race Team Alliance, or RTA as the hipper crowd is calling it.
My first reaction to the whole concept was simple: so what? On the one hand, you have the RTA and a handful of drivers adamantly claiming that it will be good for the sport as a whole. On the other hand, you have suits in the Ivory Daytona Tower saying that it’s all OK, alliances are fine and that they harbor no ill will against anyone who joins it.
To be brutally honest, I don’t see what the RTA hopes to accomplish. So you teams are more organized now? Big deal. To a layman’s eyes, all you have done is give some people a fancy title and a self-righteous reason to get up in the morning — oh, and let’s not forget giving a bunch of already rich people another paycheck.
Does the RTA really, honestly believe that the France family is going to run their little show any differently than exactly how they want to just because you are organized? Sounds to me like someone has been making and drinking their own brand of Kool-Aid.
There has been one recent development, however that has swayed my thinking into the “oh, crap, this ain’t gonna end good for anybody” camp, no matter what the big shots at RTA are claiming. That development was the simple statement released on July 17, for which the title read: “Race Team Alliance will talk to NASCAR through attorneys.”
So, here we are, just starting out in this relationship and the parties involved will only talk to each other through their respective lawyers. Yeah, this “partnership” is gonna end really well. I gotta hand it to NASCAR President Mike Helton, though for his statement that reveals exactly how seriously NASCAR and ISC are taking the RTA.
“I wanted to dispel the perception of animosity to start with and then back that up with saying we’re going to do business as usual,” Helton said earlier this month. “I think everybody in the garage area knows how we do our business, the role they play in it, and so we’ll continue to do it that way.”
In a very, very, very — no, let’s go with extremely — rare instance, I side with NASCAR on this one. The RTA is not going to do one damn good thing for the sport as we know it now. Nothing can come out of this collaboration but misery and heartache, both sides assuring that by getting the attorneys involved before even talking to one another about anything. What a bunch of idiots.
In other bits and pieces, the following is from an article from The Hill on taxes and tax breaks, written by Bernie Becker:
Racetrack owners are revving up their efforts to protect the “NASCAR tax break” from critics who portray it as pure corporate pork. The provision, which allows motorsports tracks to use a shorter depreciation schedule, is among the more than 50 tax preferences that expired at the end of 2013 after Congress failed to pass a so-called “extenders” bill. Fiscal watchdogs say the motorsports tax break, enacted in 2004, is the kind of narrow giveaway that gives the U.S. tax code a bad name, and lump it in with other extenders provisions that support the Puerto Rican rum industry and thoroughbred horses. With that in mind, motorsports officials have accelerated their own lobbying efforts on Capitol Hill to battle back against a shorthand – “NASCAR tax break” – they say is misleading. John Saunders, the president of the International Speedway Corporation (ISC), acknowledged that motorsports advocates have a tough fight against “a sexy sound bite.” “It’s an asterisk in the extenders, yet it gets all this attention, mischaracterized,” said Saunders, whose company owns the Daytona International Speedway in Florida, the Talladega Superspeedway in Alabama and about a dozen other NASCAR tracks. Congress is expected to restore at least some of the expired tax provisions by the end of the year, and motorsports companies are employing high-priced K Street talent to help them land in the winner’s circle. There are roughly 1,200 auto racetracks in the U.S., according to industry advocates, the vast majority of which are small, local operations that aren’t affiliated with the big leagues of NASCAR. Allowing those tracks to write off costs over a seven-year span lets them pour money back into their businesses, racetrack advocates say, spurring economic growth in individual communities around the country.
OK, I read that and my first thought was the first name of the lauded BSNews! If you read through it, the majority of the article is about rich track owners upset about losing a lucrative tax break. The last two sentences contain the solution to this problem.
Only the small, local operations should get the tax break. To hell with ISC or SMI. They are the big kids with all the money anyway. They do not need (nor deserve) a tax break. But this approach, or line of thinking if you will, requires common sense, which means of course it will never happen. Hearing large corporations spew their BS and tears about not getting a tax break would really get my goat if I had a goat to be gotten. We need to help the little guy, in this sport these days if you are so keen to help at all.
On a lighter, not so goat-getting note, I saw a blurb where Kevin Harvick has been the most-mentioned NASCAR driver for the first half of the season. This “changing of the guard” has to piss off Jimmie Johnson, who is usually in that spot, and he is probably just as incredulous about it all as I was. Kevin Harvick? Really? Harvick is the guy who usually is not seen or heard of until the end of the race. The “Closer” closing the deal as NASCAR’s most well-known name? I never would have thunk it.
What good does it do to be the supposed most-mentioned, anyway if no one listening or watching realizes it? I’m sure there is some overpaid stooge out there that is more than willing to explain it all to me.
Stay off the wall (and off the phone with the RTA!),