Power Shift on XM 144
By now, I’m sure many fans and listeners of the Power Shift show, 8 – 10 PM on XM 144, have realized the show is no longer being carried on the Sirius XM platform. While I’m disappointed by the fact, I do not intend to allow this to be the end of my commentary on motor sports. Racing is a passion of mine and I believe that now more than ever, racing needs people who are willing to speak their minds regarding the sport. While I continue to pursue other broadcasting opportunities, I am entering the blogosphere. Thanks to the internet, which I still believe is one of the greatest inventions of all time, I will be blogging my thoughts regarding NASCAR, NHRA, Formula 1, Indy Car, the ALMS as well as whatever issues of the day are important to me. I invite you to bookmark my new, fancy blog page and check back often. I have found that if I don’t have two hours a night to vent about the issues that are important me it becomes a lot easier to get motivated to write things down.
I admit, I was not watching NASCAR’s Sprint Cup series awards banquet Friday night. It was the night of my final Power Shift show on XM and I was far more concerned with making sure my listeners had an outstanding final show to remember. While I was “on the air” I received an instant message that Kevin Costner had called Dale Earnhardt Sr. “The Terminator” by mistake. On the fly, Costner got ripped for his mistake and I moved on to wrapping up the show. Days later, this HUGE mistake is still bothering me. How could this happen? Sure, everyone makes mistakes, even the star of the best golf movie ever, Tin Cup (They should make part II, by the way) and the worst movie ever, Water World. This, however, is truly unforgivable. How can someone come into the inner circle of NASCAR and not know that Dale Earnhardt was “The Intimidator?” While Costner is to blame for not doing research or simply being unprepared, the real responsibility lies with NASCAR.
This is the ultimate example of how NASCAR has tried to sell its soul to the mainstream while forgetting its roots. Why was Costner there, anyway? Is he really that big of a fan? Obviously, not! He doesn’t know “The Intimidator” is not “The Terminator.” He was there to prove to the mainstream establishment that NASCAR draws “star power.” But instead of star power NASCAR got a kick in the teeth. Imagine if the NFL hired someone that was unaware that Vince Lombardi was the Packers head coach. You can’t, because it wouldn’t happen. The NFL is far too protective of their product. It appeared that Costner was reading from a teleprompter. If true, that means that there were multiple opportunities to catch and fix the mistake. And yet, thousands of fans and NASCAR insiders heard the sport’s ultimate hero’s name spoken in error at the sport’s own awards ceremony. Is it too much to ask that the people within the sport actually be fans of the sport? NASCAR is on the wrong path and this mistake is clearest example of it. To make good, Kevin Costner owes us a kick ass NASCAR movie, more along the lines of “Field of Dreams” but I’m afraid we may get another Water World.
There has been an ongoing battle among fans regarding Jeff Gordon. Many fans love, respect and appreciate the four time champ while haters try in everyway to downplay his accomplishments and discredit his ability. Some have questioned his character over his 16 years in the sport. This week, Gordon, once again, has proven that he is NASCAR’s most valuable diplomat to the mainstream sports world. During an economic crisis that is, say it together, the worst since The Great Depression, Gordon has offered to take a cut in salary to help keep valuable team members employed. While he certainly won’t be missing any meals anytime soon, Gordon’s gesture is what stands out. Have you heard anyone else make that offer, yet? Once again, Jeff Gordon is showing those of us who support him as a driver and a person that our support is justified.
Backing the Wrong Horse
As the Big Three are in search of a “bridge loan” to help keep them afloat during this economic crisis, I find it interesting to see who is siding with whom on the subject. It is widely understood that NASCAR personalities and fans consider themselves Republicans more often than they do Democrats. We could examine the donations to each of the parties in order to prove this, but I believe it is unnecessary because unless you live on Mars you probably agree. The question is, where has that support gotten them? The facts are, that if the Big Three don’t get this “bridge loan” they will have to file for bankruptcy. Many top economists believe that this alone will throw our country into a deep depression with the loss of nearly 3 million jobs, many of whom are NASCAR and racing fans. These jobs have little chance of being replaced anytime soon. The millions of dollars the Big Three spend in NASCAR will go away, too. So what benefits NASCAR more: a bail out (bridge loan!) or bankruptcy? The answer is obvious, bailout. If they do get the loan there may be strings attached that effect various forms of spending. We have already heard that the Big Three will have to get rid of private jets. Perhaps support of NASCAR racing will not be part of the loan anyway, but right now, this is all about survival.
The Big Three automakers have helped our country in many ways, from employment of middle class workers nationwide to winning World War II. They have also helped promote and sponsor the sport of NASCAR for years. Chevy, Ford, baseball, apple pie and NASCAR are as American as anything out there and yet many politicians that have benefited from the support of NASCAR dads, fans and driver’s are the ones who would let the Big Three fail. If this does in fact happen, history will show that the sport of NASCAR chose its own executioner.