Race Weekend Central

Voices From the Cheap Seats: A Waltrip Makes Sense While France… Not So Much

In what could be the grandest lie since a presidential campaign that won with the promise of “Change,” NASCAR CEO Brian France claims his views to be “crystal clear” when it comes to where the line in the sand is drawn concerning driver’s rights to speak their minds and more specifically, the decision to fine Denny Hamlin a couple of weeks ago.

“There’s always going to be, when we make decisions that are not black and white per se, we’re always going to have people all over the organization that may not have made that call,” France said. “But I did. I’m crystal clear with everybody about where the line is, what we can accept, and about how the sport is going today. And that is we give more latitude than any professional sport to criticize, speak their mind and say whatever they want. We encourage it, actually, including criticism that gets directed at us. But when the driver . . . begins to call out the quality of the racing or the rules packages, we have to make that call or opinions will shape what may not be reality.”

Brian France defended his decision to fine Denny Hamlin in remarks this week that were, well, typical Brian France.

Are we clear? I said, are we clear!? Crystal! Actually, as far as “Francespeke” goes, this one is only about 75 percent non-sensible compared to his usual ramblings. Obviously the interview was conducted before noon.

As usual, whenever Brian graces us with his wonderful soliloquies, there are a couple of things I’d like to point out.

“…I’m crystal clear with everybody about where the line is, what we can accept, and about how the sport is going today.”

Seriously? For years this cat has been telling us what a great state that the sport is in while all around him, revenue, ratings, attendance and over all general interest in NASCAR has been in the toilet! Not to mention the confusion that abounds when one driver is fined for “this” while another driver is not fined for “that” and the rest of the world sits back, scratches its collective self and wonders, WTF? Crystal clear? Yeah right. Probably the only time France is ‘crystal clear’ about anything is when he is letting the bartender know his drink needs a refill.

Another thing I find rather telling is how Brian, at first asserts that it is him and him alone, that has to make these ethical calls but then suddenly switches it to “we have to make that call…”. Apparently, as the old adage/question alludes to, one can only assume that Brian must have a turd in his pocket.

The final kicker in all this is France’s use of the word ‘reality’. As anyone who is associated with, has been a fan of or has even just heard Brian speak knows, this man has no idea of what the ‘reality’ of life and especially his own sport, is.

Unfortunately, the loss of reality seems to be trickling down through the ranks in Daytona’s Ivory Towers as this next bit will indicate.

During a recent media conference concerning the wall at Auto Club Speedway that Denny Hamlin smashed into, these brilliant and insightful comments were made by NASCAR’s Sprint Cup Series director, John Darby.

“If the folks make a recommendation that they think will help ensure the safety there, then I’m sure the speedway follows it,” Darby said. “We receive the same (safety) reports (as tracks), but they actually come from the folks that are the best suited to make those recommendations and understand what they are recommending. Nobody’s reluctant to do the things that need to be done. But with the same token, it needs to be reviewed by the expert people who know what the heck they are talking about, and the proper directives and follow-ups (are) made.”

Well gee whiz! Just how freaking smart do you gotta be? Here’s one guy who seems to have figured it out…

“There is no excuse for not having SAFER barriers all the way around every track. It would have made all the difference in the world for Hamlin at Fontana. That boy wouldn’t have a hurt back now if there were SAFER barriers in place there,” said Darrell Waltrip. “We need a SAFER barrier anywhere a car can hit a wall because at 200 mph, cars can go places you never dreamed of, so why take that chance? With Jeff Gordon hitting the wall at Las Vegas, who would have thought a car could hit there? But cars can and will go anywhere, and we keep learning that lesson the hard way.”

As Brian France would have you believe, that is of course, just his opinion. After all, what the hell would Darrell Waltrip know about the ‘reality’ of NASCAR?

Before I go, let me share another bit of ‘reality’ with you; it is estimated by NASCAR’s “experts” that additions of SAFER barriers run about 500 dollars per foot. That price varies, they point out, according to market prices for labor and materials.

Auto Club Speedway is of course owned by NASCAR’s shill company, ISC (or is it the other way around?). I’m sure all these factors figure in, in some way, in Brian France’s version of ‘reality’

Hey, here’s a thought…why not have last Sunday’s official race starter, Kate del Castillo, the Mexican television star or super model or whatever she was, put out the word that labor and materials are needed at the speedway?

Jobs would be provided, labor and materials would be drastically cheaper (if paid strictly in ‘cash’) and the statistic for NASCAR’s Drive for Diversity would go nowhere but up!

How’s that for reality!

Stay off the wall (you see what can happen if you don’t!)

Jeff Meyer

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