OK, as I jump right out of the gate for the 2014 NASCAR season, let’s get a few things straight.
As the title suggests, I will be addressing the use of the number three again in Sprint Cup competition. However, before I get there, I will address a couple of other issues relating to my continuance of this column.
There was a time, back when this sport had some true, diehard fans, and this site was rocketing to the top with exponential “hit” growth, far outdistancing other “independent” sites, that I filled a niche with my common-sense commentary. You think me a “journalist,” a member of “the media.” You are wrong. Read my bio!
Over the 10-plus years I have been doing this, I have always been a fan first and writer second. How do I get away with that? Simple: I write commentary! Always have (with a few exceptions that I was forced to do before the then-eds, much to their chagrin, realized how many hits I got!). In fact, I was the last person (that I know of) that the founder of Frontstretch hired personally. (Granted, the contract was, “Yeah, you’re OK! Write what ya feel and you’ll do fine!” but that was all I needed in 2002!)
When Internet writing starting becoming a big thing, back in the early to mid-2000s, writers on sites such as ours had to pretend to be “journalists.” We pretended really well! Eventually, as history shows, we earned the outright status of journalists, and we can get official press credentials at any race we please. 95 percent of internet sites, if they have any integrity at all, enjoy this credibility. The Frontstretch, through professionalism, has risen to the top of the Internet crowd.
As we have risen over the years, the popularity of my column, (Voices from the Heartland, while I lived in Iowa, and Voices from the Cheap Seats, once I moved to Tennessee) has kept me writing. No, I do not make a living just writing this column, as much of a shock as that may seem. I drive a fork truck in a warehouse. That’s what pays my bills.
Now, there are many on this site that do make a living on these things called media and NASCAR, and it is those kids who add the professionalism that has made this site excel over many others.
In short, this site was started by amateurs, invaded by popular, common-sense tag-alongs, and now run by professional journalists a hell of a lot younger than me! Yet somehow, after all these years an award-winning motorsports journalistic site still lets an old, beer drinkin’, pompous, always-right guy write a column! In short, I’m tired of it!
I can only preach common sense so long. Truth be told, most of my readers that did possess common sense, quit watching/reading/caring long ago. Like myself, when once my Sunday was planned around NASCAR, they could no longer care less, I’m tired of preaching to the choir and this season will be my last year — which brings me to the title of this article, the number three.
I can’t speak for everyone, but WTF!? I’ll be 49 years old in a couple of weeks. In my lifetime, there are two numbers connected with NASCAR that stand out in my mind — OK, three. They are the 43, 3 and 24, in that order. (The 48 will never count due to a made-for-TV system. Jimmie Johnson, without the genius of Chad Knaus as a crew chief would probably have one, maybe two championships at most, although we will never know.)
Those three numbers, and the names associated with them, are the ones that encompass the last 45-plus years in NASCAR.
Was the 43 ever retired? Will the 24 ever be retired? No!
Was the 3 ever promised to be retired after that fateful day in February 2001? NO!
“What’s all the hubbub over the No. 3?” asks Jeff Meyer.
Look people, it’s been 13 years. Dale Earnhardt was the best. He was my guy. He was my generation. He was the last of the common guy. He was our hero.
Does Earnhardt give a damn that Austin Dillon is now in the No. 3? Does Dale Earnhardt, Jr. give a damn that Dillon is in the No. 3? Does Earnhardt’s mother give a damn? NO, NO and NO! (Well, to be fair, Dale’s mom relented as long as it wasn’t the same black No. 3.)
So I ask you this question: If the No. 3 returning to Sprint Cup does not bother those that have the most stake in it, why in God’s name should it bother you?
Dale doesn’t care. Dale is dead. Why should the living have a problem with it?
Ain’t you pretentious!
Stay off the wall,
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