Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Heartland: NASCAR 2011 Shaping Up to Be Real Feel-Good Season

As we head into only the third race of the 2011 Sprint Cup season, (notice I even mentioned Sprint? Something I rarely do… I hope that makes them feel good) many things have already transpired that could quite possibly make this the best feel-good season since… well, since the last time Brian France told us how good things were.

First off, NASCAR gave us a present that almost everyone had not even thought about in the form of a new, easier for the fan to understand points format. This system is so new and forward thinking that no one seems to mind the fact that all the winners of the Truck and Nationwide races to date, have no points. At least the fans won’t have to deal with those triple-digit numbers every race anymore.

Then there was the new surface of Daytona. This new surface, which made its debut with the Bud Shootout, gave us all a glimpse of racing in the future at NASCAR’s signature track. No longer did we get the tired old “pack” or “parade” racing, instead we were treated to “two pack” racing! Even though no one seems to be able to decide if they like it or not, most everyone agrees that it certainly was different.

That, of course brings us to perhaps the most feel-good moment in all of sports for a very long time, the winning of the Daytona 500 by the youngest guy ever, Trevor Bayne. While it was a historic event, and one that this sport certainly needed, it did however, spawn a scandalous situation amongst the press corps. Seems a few journalists, deemed “unethical” by their apparently superior peers, had the audacity to actually clap for the young Bayne as it became apparent that he was actually going to pull off his historic feat!

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Oh, the horror! Oh, the humanity! Perhaps those without passion of witnessing such an event shouldn’t be writing about the sport! The youngest winner ever, of NASCAR’s biggest race? Nah, nothing to get excited about. But to hell with that story… this is a feel-good article and far be it from me to be responsible for bringing anyone down, so on with the sugar!!

This past week, we go from rookie to veteran in the form of Jeff Gordon. Yeah, I know half the people hate Gordon but the other half doesn’t, so they at least will see his win on Sunday (Feb. 27) as a feel good moment and agree with me. Oh, crap! No, I’m not cheering Gordon on; that would be allegedly unethical. All I am saying is it was nice to see Gordon in victory lane again… sort of makes us all feel that NASCAR is somehow slipping back to a normalcy we once knew and expected. Why, this victory even made old people and hungry people very happy, not to mention some that are probably both.

As we head into Las Vegas, there are lots of things to feel good about!

First and foremost, racing legend Morgan Shepherd, who many may consider old at 69, was heading into a Las Vegas Wal-Mart (he may have been hungry too, no word on what he was shopping for) when suddenly, three alleged shoplifters came high-tailing it out of the store with security hot on their heels. Shepherd, who is very fit and obviously knows about speed, instantly gave chase and actually caught a 19-year-old perp as he attempted to escape over a wall, as this bit from Shepherd’s Faith Motorsports PR department explains:

“I just got out and took off after them,” Shepherd said. “I caught one of them just as they were getting ready to hop a little wall at the end of the parking lot. I yanked him down and got on top of him.”

Shepherd said in a matter of seconds a Las Vegas police officer pitched the ageless NASCAR driver a pair of handcuffs and continued pursuit of the other two suspects, along with the store’s security force.

“I cuffed him and sat on top of him,” Shepherd said. “The police department officers showed up and asked if I could hold him a while longer while they ran down the others. I told them he wasn’t going anywhere.”

Shepherd said while the young shoplifter pleaded with him to let him go and about the possibility of going to jail, Shepherd used the time to lecture the youth about his poor choices.

Now if that don’t make you feel good, I don’t know what will! I’ve met Morgan on a number of occasions and you know what? This news does not surprise me one bit. Go get ’em, Morg!!!

If that doesn’t do it for you and you want to feel even better, perhaps you could go see Michael Waltrip do stand-up! This little bit from the press folks at MWR should make you feel… well, you decide:

It seems like Michael Waltrip reaches a new milestone every week. Doing stand-up comedy at the Mirage Hotel and Casino on the Las Vegas Strip this week is just the latest. The only driver to ever win races in four separate decades in one of NASCAR’s top series becomes the first driver to perform consecutive nights of stand-up comedy when he brings Michael Waltrip’s Comedy Garage to one of the world’s premier destinations.

“I’ve got a big weekend in Vegas where I have to intentionally be funny. I’m normally funny unintentionally. Now it’s time to do it on purpose.”

Yeah… good luck with that!

Stay off the wall, (lest Morgan Shepherd pull you down!)

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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