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Voices From the Cheap Seats

Voices From The Cheap Seats: Daytona Just A Faster Version Of Rush Hour

In this year’s Daytona 500, even the wrecks were boring, says Jeff Meyer.

As I stated last week, my apathy for the sport has grown to the point that it is getting hard to write about, even to complain. I mean, what’s the point? While most of my readers would generally agree with what I say, unfortunately NASCAR does not, all the while …

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Voices From the Cheap Seats: Gibbs Redemption Shows NASCAR is Out of Touch

With all the hubbub over the last two weeks about a connecting rod that was found to be a mere three grams underweight in the engine of Joe Gibbs Racing star, Matt Kenseth, and the resulting penalties levied by NASCAR, the main question in my mind is: did we really need to go through all this stupid drama? Are the powers that be, _that_ out of touch with common sense? Ok, that’s two questions. But really, is there any one among us that didn’t think NASCAR was way off base? Make that three questions … or maybe it’s all one, I don’t know.

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Voices From the Cheap Seats: Dropping Appeal And Getting Paid What You’re Worth

Much the same as fans who have dropping appeal for NASCAR, Denny Hamlin announced Thursday that he plans to drop the appeal of the fine that NASCAR levied against him for saying the new car was a piece of crap. As wishy washy as his decision may sound, make no mistake about it, he still doesn’t plan to pay the fine. \"After a lot of thought I have decided not to appeal the fine NASCAR has issued. Dragging myself, my team and NASCAR through the mud for the next 2 weeks would not be good for anyone,” Hamlin tweeted Thursday afternoon. “I firmly believe I am in the right on this issue and will stand behind my decision not to pay. I understand NASCAR will do what they feel is necessary based on my decision. Thanks to all of my fans and peers who have supported me in this decision. I look forward to putting it to rest.\" <div style=\"float:right; width:250px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14928.jpg\" width=\"250\" height=\"367\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Denny Hamlin won't appeal his senseless fine from NASCAR, but he won't pay it either. NASCAR will just have to come and get it.</p></div> I know, the original announcement that he was ‘dropping his appeal’ scared me too! After all, I have yet to hear anyone or read one response to an article that did not support Denny and felt NASCAR execs were, in essence, so dumb that it takes them 2 hours to watch “60 Minutes”. After reading the full text however, I had to smile and applaud Denny for coming up with an even more creative and subtle way to show his utter disdain at the whole situation. Knowing that he has is boss and basically all of the NASCAR fan base, whether an actual fan of Denny or not, in his corner, Denny has basically said that not only is he not going to pay the fine, he’s not even going through with the process to ‘officially’ say he’s not going to! NASCAR’s response was typical in it’s transparency as well as this official release indicates: NASCAR announced today that the $25,000 fine assessed to driver Denny Hamlin on March 7 will be settled per Section 12-3 of the 2013 NASCAR rule book after being informed by Hamlin that he will not appeal the penalty. Hamlin was fined after the sanctioning body determined he had violated Section 12-1 (actions detrimental to stock car racing). NASCAR considers this matter closed. Section 12-3 of the NASCAR rule book allows NASCAR to collect fines from the driver points fund and/or race purse winnings.(3-14-2013) So there you have it. Denny isn’t even interested in jumping through the hoops to officially not pay and NASCAR just basically will deduct it from the #11’s paycheck. I wonder if they can get the deductions strung out over the course of the year so it doesn’t hurt so much? (That is ‘sarcasm’ for those of you who do not recognize it or are named Sheldon.) Once, just once I wish that NASCAR would simply do the right thing and admit that they over re-acted in this case. Are they so obtuse that they do not see how such an admission would do more than money can buy to win back fans? It boggles the mind, I tell you! As for getting paid what you are worth, it is amazing what an (arguably) pretty face and a set of ta-tas can get you in NASCAR. I speak of non other than Danica Patrick. Forbes has just announced, in its annual rating of driver’s salaries, that Patrick ranks a whopping 7th, with earnings of 12.9 million dollars in 2012. Earnhardt Jr. was of course first, with 25.9 million. Those figures include off track earnings, but still, 7th? Give me a break! What has the woman done in her career? I’m not trying to sound sexist here but seriously, as a race car driver she is middle of the pack at best, whether it be in open wheel or stock cars. Maybe if I invest in some silicone and a good plastic surgeon….nah, too hard to find nice women’s shoes in my size! Stay off the wall (unlike Danica last week) Jeff Meyer \"Contact Jeff Meyer\":http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14350/

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Voices From The Cheap Seats: NASCAR Told To Kiss Hamlin’s Posterior

Yeah, yeah, I know he didn’t quite put it in those words but he might as well have! In case you have no idea what I am talking about, and unfortunately there are some out there who fall into that category, the big story this week, besides the not unsurprising whining by Jimmie Johnson over a restart, is that NASCAR is fining Denny Hamlin 25 grand for providing firsthand feedback on Brian France’s latest toy, the “Gen-6” car. Hamlin has said that he refuses to pay the fine. It’s hard to know for sure just what it is that pissed NASCAR off because they are acting exactly like your wife… I mean, significant other… when you ask her, I mean them, what is wrong and she… dang! … I mean, they won’t tell you! Anyway, as far as _we_ can tell, Hamlin’s offending comment on NASCAR's new chassis read as follows… \"We learned a lot. I don't want to be the pessimist, but it did not race as good as our generation five cars. This is more like what the generation five was at the beginning. The teams hadn't figured out how to get the aero balance right. Right now, you just run single-file and you cannot get around the guy in front of you. You would have placed me in 20th with 30 to go, I would have stayed there – I wouldn't have moved up. It's just one of those things where track position is everything.” <div style=\"float:right; width:250px; margin: 20px; border: black solid 1px; padding: 3px;\"><img src=\"http://www.frontstretch.com/images/14673.jpg\" width=\"250\" height=\"361\"/><p style=\"margin: 3px; text-align: left; font-weight:bold;\">Jeff Meyer is willing to pitch in if Denny Hamlin is eventually forced to pay his fine, but he completely agrees with Hamlin that the whole thing is ridiculous.</p></div> Personally, I think someone was walking by his motorcoach, heard him tell his significant other that the reason he didn’t win is because “the new car is a piece of s*#t and it sucks out loud!” then promptly reported him to the nearest NASCAR Nazi, who in turn ran straight to Adolf France, who in turn ran sobbing to Robin Pemberton and ordered him to have Hamlin immediately arrested, interrogated (painfully) and then shot. No, no, I mean arrested, interrogated (painfully), fined, and then shot. NASCAR, of course, is not admitting to the arrest, interrogation and execution part. But here's what they did say. _“Following the Sprint Cup Series event last Sunday at Phoenix International Raceway, Denny Hamlin made some disparaging remarks about the on-track racing that had taken place that afternoon. While NASCAR gives its competitors ample leeway in voicing their opinions when it comes to a wide range of aspects about the sport, the sanctioning body will not tolerate publicly made comments by its drivers that denigrate the racing product.\"_ In defense of NASCAR, they have already made clear this year that free speech is not to be tolerated when they indefinitely suspended Nationwide Series driver, Jeremy Clements, for supposedly using the dreaded “N” word during an off the record conversation with a supposed media member. _(Side bar and passing thought) Is it racist of me to use a capital \"N\" when referring to it or is it a sign of respect? I would think it would be offensive to use a lower case \"n,\" seeing as how it is about the most heinous thing a white person could possibly utter, so it seems these days. Just something to think about. (End of side bar!)_ It is amazing to me how stupid the leadership of NASCAR is and/or can be. Just when you think things might be getting better and we are finally getting back to the \"roots\" of this sport, what with the new “look like the street version car” and all, plus the \"winning the core fan back\" initiative, they go and make a decision like this one. When it comes to the Gen Six car, which as I predicted and Denny seems to agree is more aptly the \"Gen Sux\" car, NASCAR has said all along that it is a work in progress. So what better feedback can you get then from the men who race it? They sure aren’t going to listen to the fans. NASCAR should take the time to listen to Denny and others who actually _drive_ the machine they have created. You can bet your (insert body part of your choice here) France, Helton or Pemberton aren’t going to risk their (again, the body part bit here) trying it out! I know that I have been hard on Hamlin in the past for seeing a \"sports psychologist\" about his inability to win enough. But in this case, I firmly stand behind him and his decision to not pay this stupid fine. \"Ultimately, I'm not OK with it,\" Hamlin said of the penalty. \"This is the most upset and angry I've been about anything in a really, really long time, anything that relates to NASCAR … the truth is what the truth is and I don't believe in this, I'm never going to believe in it. As far as I'm concerned, I'm not going to pay the fine. If they suspend me, they suspend me. I don't care at this point.\" Hamlin followed up those comments with a Thursday evening series of \"Tweets\":http://www.twitter.com/dennyhamlin/ which said the following… <div style=\"float:right; width:200px; margin:20px; padding-left:20px;\"> <object classid=\"clsid:d27cdb6e-ae6d-11cf-96b8-444553540000\" codebase=\"http://fpdownload.macromedia.com/pub/shockwave/cabs/flash/swflash.cab#version=7,0,0,0\" width=\"160\" height=\"350\" align=\"middle\"> <param name=\"allowScriptAccess\" value=\"sameDomain\" /> <param name=\"movie\" value=\"/poll/poll.swf?pollid=2133&owner=phpjabbers.com&phpurl=/poll/\" /> <param name=\"quality\" value=\"high\" /> <param name=\"bgcolor\" value=\"#ffffff\" /> <embed src=\"/poll/poll.swf?pollid=2133&owner=phpjabbers.com&phpurl=/poll/\" quality=\"high\" bgcolor=\"#ffffff\" width=\"160\" height=\"350\" align=\"middle\" allowScriptAccess=\"sameDomain\" type=\"application/x-shockwave-flash\" pluginspage=\"http://www.macromedia.com/go/getflashplayer\" /> </object> </div> _The short of the long of it is I believe I was severely disrespected by NASCAR by getting fined. I believe that the simple fact of us not even having a conversation about this issue before I was hit with a fine has something to say about our relationship. What I said was 1 sentence taken completely out of context. Most drivers will tell you that we constantly have our AND NASCAR's best interest in mind when speaking. On the other hand, I am a person that worked very hard from the BOTTOM to get where I am today and someone telling me that I can['t] give my 100 percent honest opinion really bothers me. Since being fined in 2010, I have been a lot more careful about what I say to media and I felt this past weekend felt completely in my rights to give an assessment of the question asked. I feel as if today, NASCAR lost one of its biggest supporters vocally of where our sport is headed. So in the end, there are no winners. I said today I would not pay the fine. I stand by that and will go through the process of appealing. Trust me, this is not about the money.. It's much deeper. I will now shift my focus on giving FedEx and my team what they deserve this weekend, a win._ In the end, if Denny is forced to pay the fine, I, for one, would be glad to pitch in to defray the cost, as long as I get to tell NASCAR exactly where they can stick it… in their end! Stay off the wall (but maybe peek over it to see if anyone is eavesdropping on you!), Jeff Meyer P.S. - On a side note, just to get it off my chest and let my readers know exactly where I stand on the brewing storm of the NRA sponsoring the upcoming Texas race and then say no more about it. I own guns, I reload my own ammo and I 99% of the time support the NRA! If you don’t like it, that’s your choice. I don’t care if you do or not. At least I’m honest. \"Contact Jeff Meyer\":http://www.frontstretch.com/contact/14350/

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Voices From The Cheap Seats: Fans That Sue Are No Fans At All!

Here it is, not even a week after the first race of the season and already it looks as if NASCAR is going to have at least three lawsuits to contend with. We’re off to a great start! Now normally, when it comes to suing NASCAR, I am usually on the "non-NASCAR" side of the aisle. This time however, I find myself firmly entrenched in the sanctioning body’s camp.

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Voices From The Cheap Seats: Reality Of The Risk

_Author’s Note: This article may tick you off. I am not a monster; I am simply a man that lives in reality._ The reality of what happened on the final lap of the Nationwide race… not on the track, but in the stands is a tragedy. It is a tragedy because people got hurt. The latest stats that I have from reliable sources, as of this writing is a total of 33 injured in all; two are in critical condition and one of them has life-threatening injuries. (As of this morning, both patients have been upgraded to stable). My sincerest thoughts and prayers are going out to all those involved.

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Voices From the Cheap Seats: Sex, Lies and Video Tape in NASCAR

Danica Patrick’s historic capture of this year’s Daytona 500 pole position couldn’t have come at a better time for NASCAR. After all, we all know that when it comes to the marketplace, sex certainly sells. I mean, who among the male fan base doesn’t like a fast woman? Congratulations, Danica! Here’s to hoping you don’t become fast and loose… a seemingly recurring theme with these new Gen-6 cars. Not to be outdone in the "selling sex" department, Michael Waltrip Racing has hired Christmas Abbot (I know, my first thought was of Holiday Monks, too…) as a full-time pit crew member for their Sprint Cup operation. Abbot stands five foot, three inches tall and tips the scales at 115 fat-free pounds.

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Voices From the Cheap Seats: NASCAR Thoughts Of Optimism and Pessimism

As I start my 10th year of writing about NASCAR for Frontstretch.com, I find it even harder than in years past to get “really excited” about it just yet. Once the last race is run in November, I tend to totally shut out, or try to, anyway. That's hard to do when your significant other is a racing nut! But I do, avoiding all things that have anything to do with NASCAR until I actually see the pretty-colored cars going around in circles again the week before the Daytona 500. Unfortunately for me, my editors seem to think I should get excited a whole week earlier than that so in order to keep them happy, here goes… I recently read about a child who, having been told to drink his milk, said something to the effect that an “optimist saw the glass as half empty.” When his father corrected him that it was actually a pessimist, the kid replied… "Not when the glass is full of something you don’t like!”

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Voices from the Cheapseats: Finer Points to Bring Back Fans

As I promised in my last article, I will continue to expound upon some of the finer points that NASCAR could change that would help bring back some of the fans that have lost their zeal for the sport they once loved. As fate would have it, the race at Phoenix proved to be a perfect example of some of the things that have gone wrong with the sport. Not only was the race a good example but some of the comments left by faithful readers have pretty much written this one for me. Here are a few excerpts that I agree with.

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