Wednesday, April 09, 2014

Follies Abound

I’m trying to decide which outfit is sillier at the moment, the United States government, or NASCAR. The former certainly has more profound implications, but the latter is somewhat more entertaining.

Pro-Russian demonstrators have lit fires, torn down barricades, occupied buildings and generally created havoc in eastern Ukraine; pretty much the same thing that anti-Russian demonstrators did in western Ukraine. John Kerry is appalled, even though he cheered for and applauded the anti-Russians, and is accusing the Russians of instigating the riots and violence, even though he angrily denied accusations that we were behind the earlier anti-Russians violence.

There were actually some tape recordings of American officials discussing how we had spent $5 billion doing precisely what we were accused of doing regarding the anti-Russian riots, but John Kerry simply pretends those tape recordings don’t exist, or that he doesn’t know anyone by the name of Victoria Nuland, or something. The only evidence of Russian complicity in the recent riots is in John Kerry’s feverish imagination, but that doesn’t prevent him from threatening “harsh sanctions” against Russia if they don’t stop doing what there is no evidence, let alone proof, that they are doing.

If it weren’t fraught with such serious consequences it would be hilarious.

Since NASCAR has pretty much no consequence whatever, one can simply sit back and laugh one’s ass off at the antics that it engages in.

Sunday’s race was rained out, and considerable mystery surrounded the rescheduling of it because they waited for more than four hours to decide that it was not going to be run in a Texas swamp. It had been raining in Fort Worth for five days and was still raining at race time, but NASCAR for some reason still harbored the delusion that they could dry the track in time to race. The fact that water was coming up through the pavement from the ground under the race track should have given them a clue that wasn’t going to happen, but apparently they didn’t notice that and failed to check the records which noted that the track had a long history of that happening quite often.

By the time they called the race all of the television networks had decided they had better things to do that looking at a rain-soaked empty race track, so there was no one around to announce when the rescheduled race would be run. There were eight diehard fans left in the grandstand, so those eight people knew when to come back, but no one else did.

The Internet saved their collective ass, and so a decent crowd was on hand Monday morning to watch the rescheduled race. They track was still a little damp, so they started the race under a “green-yellow,” throwing both flags to start the race, meaning, “go but go slow,” which is nobody's idea of a race. Other than NASCAR, that is. The idea was that they would parade behind the pace car while NASCAR consulted with the drivers as to when the track would be dry enough to race on, because of course you always let the inmates run the fucking asylum.

As if they could ever get a consensus anyway. Tony Stewart is a dirt track racer, so the track could have water an inch deep and he would be saying, "Oh hell yes, let’s go racing.” Jeff Gordon came from open wheel, so even high humidity would have him whining, “Oh hell no, we can’t race, we’re swimming out here.”

Not only did they start the race on a wet track under caution instead of waiting until the track was ready to race on, they started it while the jet dryers were still on the track. These are trucks with jet engines mounted sideways, blowing hot air across the track to dry it. So as the parade of cars is passing the dryers the jet blast is blowing body panels off of the race cars. Holy shit, who could have predicted that? The pole sitter has to go into the pits to get the hood of his car taped back into position using duck tape.

They finally throw the green flag, and four laps later Dale Earnhardt Jr. drives his left side wheels into the infield grass on the frontstretch. The grass is so soft that the middle of his car bottoms on the edge of the pavement, disastrously so, and when he returns to the track the pavement edge rips the left front tire off, sending him hard into the wall. The accident throws a couple hundred pounds of mud into the front of his teammate, Jimmy Johnson, who was running right behind him.

The announcers were going crazy making up reasons why Junior drove into the grass. “At this track you can run in the grass.” Not at over 200mph you can’t, even when it's dry. “He was trying to pass the 43 car.” Not in the grass, no. “You can’t see very well out of these cars.” The view isn’t that bad; he could see that what was to the left of the 43 was grass, not track. When interviewed shortly afterward, Junior said simply, “I made a mistake.”

Jimmy Johnson made repairs, but finished in 25th, two laps down.

1 comment:

bruce said...

It's the NASCAR comedy show, 2 for the price of 1

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