Heroes from Fans to Tire Makers

NASCAR Fans only show Anti-Redneck Tendencies

Martinsville wasn't just the site of a NASCAR event this week. It was also the setting of an NBC "Reality" show. Unfortunately for NBC, they got nothing useful out of it, because NASCAR fans showed that they aren't the bigoted, insensitive group that people seem to think they are.

Yes, there is a "stereotype"of NASCAR fans being back-woods hicks and rednecks. The way some folks here in the north talk, you'd think the stands were filled with Klan members, and the infield was used for lynching's before each race. But real NASCAR fans know that couldn't be further from the truth. And thanks to NBC, the world found out just how far from the truth that is at Martinsville.

Hoping to catch a bevy of anti-Muslim and anti-Arab remarks, NBC secretly sent two "Muslim-looking" men to the race, equipped with hidden mics and a "stealth" film crew from Dateline to catch the expected unrest on film. It was supposedly designed to be part of an investigative piece into the negative way Muslims and Arabs are being treated in the U.S. But NASCAR security detected the Dateline crew almost immediately, and kept them under surveillance the entire time. Either they weren't as "stealth" as they thought, or NASCAR's security is far better than anyone expected. That should make people feel much better about attending races in the future.

And what about the "Muslim" plants? "No one bothered them," reported Ramsey Poston, NASCAR's managing director of corporate communications. So, instead of filming a bunch of material for their groundbreaking story, NBC spent all that time, money, and effort to show that NASCAR fans, in fact, do NOT fit the stereotype.

Maybe instead of criticizing NBC for their borderline-ethical attempt to create news instead of just reporting it, NASCAR fans should be thanking them for proving to the world, once and for all, that the redneck image of race fans is a completely false one.

Lowe's Gets a Restrictor Reprieve

Marvel Comics has the Fantastic Four. DC Comics has Batman and Robin. Disney has their "Incredibles". But the superheros at Lowe's Motor Speedway this week were the folks at Goodyear.

After disastrous tire problems at last year's races, repeated testing revealed that the current tire compound simply couldn't handle the high speeds at the newly paved LMS track. But just when it looked like NASCAR officials were going to be forced to step in and come up with a way to lower speeds, the folks at Goodyear put their heads together, put on their superhero spandex outfits, and saved the day by coming up with a new tire that looks like it can stand up to the higher speeds, saving the Coca Cola 600 and the All-Star race from restrictor plate doom.

This week Goodyear ran yet another batch of tests at the track, this time using a new tire developed with a harder compound. The tires seemed to wear much better than those used in last year's caution-filled races and tests held only a week earlier. Jerry Gappens, the senior VP for events at LMS, said the new tire slowed the cars of Dale Jarrett and Kevin Harvick by only about one second per lap -- or approximately 6 miles per hour. So the speeds should only be minimally affected, keeping the drivers and fans happy.

Of course, NASCAR isn't ruling out the need for them to step in. There will be more testing before the May events at LMS, and NASCAR will be "ready for anything that's thrown at us" according to Robin Pemberton, NASCAR's VP of competition. So be looking for more testing of the new compound in tires from Goodyear.

Published on April 8, 2006 in