Tuesday , October 21 2014
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Voices from the Cheap Seats: Social Media Exposes the Loyal and the Fickle
(Credit: CIA Stock Photography)

Voices from the Cheap Seats: Social Media Exposes the Loyal and the Fickle

Now that the announcement has been made, a war has begun among some that are loyal, some misguided and some just plain fickle.

While it has not been made public as to just who Carl Edwards will be driving for next year, it has been revealed that it will not be for Roush Fenway Racing or Ford. The announcement has ignited a firestorm that really, really ticks me off.

Longtime readers will know, as I have made it public many times in the past, that I am an Edwards fan. How can this be, you may ask? After all, I am a journalist and we are not supposed to have favorites. Well, let me clue you in on a couple of things: first, I am not a journalist, I am a writer.  I do not sit here and report news to you; I write commentary. I was a race fan before I was a writer and if I quit being a fan, well, there is no sense in writing about something you don’t like. Even if I were a journalist, I would still have a favorite. All journalists have them and if any one tries to tell you different, they are lying. Having a favorite isn’t a problem, even for a journalist, as long as no bias is included in his or her articles. It is even less of a problem for a writer such as myself, but even with a bit more latitude, I rarely, if ever, go on a cheerleading rant for Edwards.

Carl Edwards in the garage of New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. (Credit: CIA)

Carl Edwards in the garage of New Hampshire Motor Speedway in July. (Credit: CIA)

Having said that, I assure you that even though Edwards is my man in NASCAR, this is not a pro-Edwards rant. What this is is a rant about people on social media that mis-align or misrepresent their allegiances and then bash a guy just because he changes teams.

For instance; there is a page on Facebook known entitled Carl Edwards Diehards, of which I am a longstanding member and through which have met many good friends. Now, don’t get me wrong, there are any number of Facebook pages dedicated to just about any driver or organization with a similar name, but due to recent developments, the Carl Edwards Diehards page is the one that is lit up with a sudden influx of divisiveness.

My age-old question to the masses is simple: why? Why would someone or anyone suddenly dislike — or in some cases, even hate — a man that they have been following for years just because he is going to be driving another make of car?

What about the name of the group do you not understand? The name is not Ford Diehards. The name is not RFR Diehards. It is Carl Edwards Diehards.

Unless you follow Jeff Gordon or Jimmie Johnson, are you so naive to think that perhaps someday, the man or woman for whom you cheer might not join another team? And what if he or she does? What has changed about the driver? Is he or she suddenly going to go out and start throwing gunny sacks of kittens (and rocks) in a river? Is he or she now suddenly the type that is going to spit on your grandma? No! Just because Carl Edwards will be driving a different make of car next year that does not suddenly make him a prick. (Well, maybe if he was driving a Lexus.) Carl Edwards will be the same old generous and kind soul that will take the time to not only sign a autograph, but also actually try and talk a bit to you too. It is in his nature and he loves his fans.

Before you all start throwing rocks at me, or try to find a gunny sack big enough to fit me in (along with a few rocks), I do understand that there are thousands upon thousands of people out there that are brand loyal, and I do not have a problem with that. That is your prerogative and there are Facebook pages especially for you, of which I’m sure you are a member. That is all fine and dandy.

do have a problem with people who claim to be a certain driver’s “diehard” fan but suddenly hate the guy just because he isn’t going to drive a Ford or whatever. Keep you hatred on your Team Diehard or Manufacturer Diehard page because if you are that fickle you were never a fan of the driver in the first place. At the very least, just go quietly into cyberspace.

I laugh at people who suddenly have to sell all their driver’s gear, stuff that cost them probably into a few thousand bucks over time, now that their once-beloved hero is a “sell out” or a “traitor.” To those that must leave I say, “good riddance!” (Note spelling of ‘riddance’, one sudden Edwards hater who shall remain nameless!)  I have no sympathy for you.

I do have the opportunity to pick up some really good stuff for cheap, though!

Stay off the wall (and off the Facebook page that doesn’t reflect your true alliance!),

Jeff Meyer

About Jeff Meyer

Jeff Meyer
Jeff is one of the longest-tenured staffers at Frontstretch, starting his second decade as the resident humorist and pain-in-the-butt that keeps NASCAR (and his fellow co-workers) honest. Writing Voices From The Cheap Seats, every Tuesday, his BSNews! Segments along with alter ego “Stu Padasso” have developed a large following. Jeff makes his home in Tennessee and is a Bristol groupie, camping out for the August night race every year since he can remember.

12 comments

  1. Well I’ve cheered for the same guy for years, I don’t plan to change but then again, I’m not expecting him to suddenly go drive for another team either.

    But certainly you do see it in other sports, guys get traded, people boo them the next time they come into town – or not – depending on how you happen to feel.

    I see a lot of trash talk on lots of the fan sites and that includes NASCAR.com which is why I don’t do much on them.

    One of the great fallacies that NASCAR has missed in its quest for all those Game 7 moments, ala the chase, is that most of the time NASCAR fans don’t change who they root for on the track. Whether that driver is in the chase or not, they most likely follow that driver through the season. In football, I may still watch a game if I don’t care about who is playing because it doesn’t matter that much to me, it will still be entertaining AND TV will still cover the game and the players. This is not how TV covers races once they get into the chase, they go to this narrow focus and miss the whole point of why people are wataching the race on TV.

  2. Carl who? Oh yeah, that guy that I used to respect because he was a die hard racer (someone who would never lose a championship by hanging in the back at a restrictor plate track) a guy who came from almost nothing. The guy who once he got “famous” went on to come within millimeters of physically attacking Matt K and bounced his car off of the wall trying to pass someone and said that he thought it would work because it did in video games. The same brainless guy who went on and tried to kill Brad K…
    I suppose that is a good name for his fan site.
    die hard alright…

  3. I’ve been a Matt Kenseth fan since the 2003 season when my DeWalt buddies got tickets and invited me to go with them to California Speedway. At the time he was driving for Ford and Roush, but that didnt stop me as a Chevy guy from rooting for him anyway. I rooted for Matt, not for Ford. And when Matt left Roush and went to Gibbs and Toyota, yes it was like going from the frying pan to the fire for me, but I still root for Matt to do well each week. My second favorite driver is Tony Stewart so I do still pull for the Bowties as well.

  4. Isn’t this pretty much the nature of other sports? I may have a player X football jersey and cheer him every week. Then he leaves the team for a more lucrative contract. The shirt gets burned and he gets booed the next time he comes to town. I’m not sure I’d call that a lack of loyalty or fickleness, it’s just the way sports allegiances work.
    Move along. Nothing to see here.

  5. Guy who drives a Lexus

    I agree with everything you said except one thing.

  6. Jeff ,I thank you soooo very much !!! I agree with every thing you said today .Last night I decided I had had it with all the nasty things I was reading about MY CARL onCarls Diehards , so I bailed !!!! It use to be great group and I had learned a lot on there over the years !
    Lately there has just been to many making it be Ford Diehards ! I will miss my friends on there but not all the Nasty people that have arrived !! Tho – they are every place on here I am sorry to say !! I get so tired of telling friends etc ! That ” yes ,I love my Nascar , no, they are not all red- necks ” !!!!!!! The 99 on my shirt ( my necklace ,my bracelet etc .) is for Carl Edwards ,my driver , not my Ford driver !!!! Thanks for letting me rant ( guess I should have asked first )!!!!! Keep up the great work ! Always look foreword to seeing what you have to say !!!

  7. When Ernie Irvan was pushed aside by Yates, I got tired of hearing “whoze yawl gunnuh cheer fore nayow, Teeyum?” I was an Ernie fan first. It’s the people who cheer for a driver, give no indication of being only a fan of a particular marque, and then throw a fit when he switches, that make me scratch my head. I’d rather have all that, though, then the Hendrick Hero bandwagoners who all claim that they saw Gordon win the Hut Hundred and that they worked on Johnson’s SODA team.

  8. Me thinks you’re feigning ignorance. Many, many, many fans have a manufacturer loyalty. And they pick their favourite driver from amongst those driving their favourite brand. Saying “I’m a huge Carl Edwards fan” is often also saying that “I’m a huge Ford fan”.

    NASCAR (Brian France) doesn’t get how many people are very tied to a brand (the common template called COT is evidence of that). People like to brag that “there is no brand loyalty anymore”. It’s nothing to see a driveway with 2 or 3 brands represented. Certainly, there has been quite a change from when your buying choices were mainly going to be one of the Big Three. Still, many folks are quite enamored with a particular manufacturer and that’s how they pick their drivers. So, when a driver leaves for another brand it feels like disloyalty. Did they really mean what they said about loving Ford’s fuel economy or were they just schilling all along (don’t answer that).

    This is just another installment of that soap opera we love and hate called NASCAR. Be good and we’ll see you all at Pocono.

  9. Get a grip man! It isn’t cancer research, it is racing. Entertainment, nothing more. If people want to take a few shots at Tokyo Carl what does it matter. It lets them blow off a little steam and escape from the important things that they are powerless to change. I remember back when people watched NASCAR we would have those Monday morning “Your driver sucks” arguments. It was fun then to wind each other up and it still is now . Lighten up. PS: Your driver sucks!

    • Amen. For us its entertainment, for the participants its a business.Its kind of like a kaleidoscope, the view is the only thing that canges.

  10. oh Jeff, feel the pain of a true Nascar fan. I used to scoff at the accepted thougth, that Nascar fans are the dumbest. Sadly, after all these years I am siding with that observation. I have seen for years flat love for a driver the second they go to another manufacturer, the hate and pitchforks ensue. I don’t get it, I never will, I find it embarassing, fickle, shallow..the list goes on. I have been watching for years and the car the driver drove never bothered me, my criteria was different. Now I do know one thing, I cannot stand most of the “Bowtie” crowd..they are beyond reason. Again, I never used to pay attention, now I do big time! My two cents, after years and years. These cars are no longer “stock”. Silly.