Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Heartland: Getting NASCAR “Cheerleading” Out of My Journalistic System

Just because I am an upstanding member of the media, that doesn’t mean I don’t have a favorite NASCAR driver. Yeah, I know that I am not supposed to be biased but since, A) I write commentary and can say almost any darn thing I want and, B) it just so happens that my favorite driver actually won the last two races of the 2010 season, I am going to unashamedly share a fun little poem about Carl Edwards that a good friend of mine wrote. Besides, I don’t feel like getting too “heavy” on y’all until the season actually starts.

This particular poem was written by Gene B. of the Columbia, Mo. area. Not only is Gene a man of many outstanding talents, he also happens to be married to the most beautiful woman (and the best cook) in ALL of Missouri, quite possibly the entire Midwest! (C’mon MK! I’m really trying here. That “hole” has got to be at least a little shallower by now!?) At any rate, without further adieu, the poem.

The Night Before Daytona

By Gene Baumann
(With thanks and apology to W. Clement Moore)

‘Twas the night before Daytona, when all through the land, not an Edhead was worried, a win was at hand;
The stock cars were tuned by the car chief with care, in hopes that a victory soon would be theirs;
The Edheads were nestled all snug in their beds, while visions of backflips danced in their heads;
And MK in her crew shirt, and me in my cap, getting all primed to watch every lap,
When down in the garage there arose such a clatter, I sprang to the TV to see what was the matter.
In front of the screen I flew like a flash, plopped in my chair to watch a big bash.
The man on the screen of the SPEED Channel show, gave the play-by-play, every blow after blow,
When, what to my wondering eyes should appear, but the man from Missouri, smiling ear to ear,
This superstar driver, so lively and fine, I knew in a moment it must be the 99.
More rapid than eagles his comments they came, and he whistled, and shouted, and called them by name;
“Now, Harvick! Now, Stewart! Now, Brad K. and Hamlin! Oh, Kyle! Oh Jeffie! Oh, Junior and Newman!
To the hauler of NASCAR! Your back to the wall! Now dash away! Dash away! Dash away all!”
The drivers grow tense before the green flag will fly, when they meet on the first turn and try to get by,
Before the first pit stop they ready the crew, with the stands full of noise, and even an Edhead or two.
And then, in a twinkling, I heard on the roof, the revving and roaring of no little hoof.
As I threw back my head, and was turning around, down the chimney Carl Edwards came with a bound.
He was dressed in his firesuit, from his head to his foot, and his clothes were all tarnished with ashes and soot;
A bundle of NASCAR toys on his back, he looked like a peddler just opening his pack.
His eyes – how they twinkled! His dimples how merry! His cheeks were like roses, his nose like a cherry!
His cute little smile was drawn up like a bow, and the teeth all shone as white as the snow;
The stump of a carrot he held tight in his teeth, and bright light encircled his head like a wreath;
He smiled a broad smile and my little round belly, shook, when he laughed, like a bowlful of jelly.
He was tall and strong, a right jolly old elf, and I laughed when I saw him, in spite of myself;
A wink of his eye and a twist of his head, soon gave me to know I had nothing to dread;
He spoke not a word, but went straight to his work, and filled all the snack bowls; then turned with a jerk,
And laying his finger aside of his nose, and giving a nod, up the chimney he rose;
He sprang to his racecar, each fan he would visit, no surprise from our man now, is it?
But I heard him exclaim, at least so it seems, “Whatever you do, don’t give up on your dreams.”

To sum this all up, there are a few things that I would like to review, more so for my newer readers. Yes, I am a member of the media, but like you, I too am allowed my secret favorites. Dale Jarrett was my man until he retired, but I would like to state for the record” when I was picking a replacement for Dale, I did so with the criteria that the man have the same level of class. I picked Carl long before he ever made it to the Cup Series on a hunch that he met that criteria; once he did, he has not let me down from the moment he stepped behind the wheel of the No. 99.

Since that time, mostly due to my position here at Frontstretch (and my wonderful girlfriend, Lisa), I have come to know Carl on a more personal level. That “aw shucks, cousin Carl” image that many naysayers think is reserved for the cameras… it’s not, it’s real. You may, quite possibly, never meet a nicer guy (unless maybe it’s me, but I’m a lot poorer!).

So there you have it folks, my little pep rally for MY favorite driver. No matter who your favorite may be, and no matter how messed up we all may think this sport is right now, I pray that the good Lord will give us a safe and exciting 2011 NASCAR season, and may they all…

Stay off the wall!

Jeff Meyer

About the author

The Frontstretch Staff is made up of a group of talented men and women spread out all over the United States and Canada. Residing in 15 states throughout the country, plus Ontario, and widely ranging in age, the staff showcases a wide variety of diverse opinions that will keep you coming back for more week in and week out.

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