Media Hype: Not the Second Time Around?

Bill Lester qualified for the Golden Corral 500 in Atlanta back in March and the media went crazy over it. Why? Because of how well he did? Nope. He qualified 19th and finished 38th. It was because he was the first black man to qualify for a Cup Series race since 1986.

2 months later, when he qualified 34th for the 3M Performance 400 in Michigan, it was practically a side note. Why wasn't the media circus kicked back into gear? Afterall, if it was such a big deal for a black man to qualify for the first time in 20 years, then why wasn't it an even BIGGER deal for him to do it twice in one year?

Maybe it's because the Media Hype Circus only comes to town once for each unique event.

Indy Racing witnessed the same phenomenon. Last year, the Media went crazy over Danica Patrick racing in the Indy 500. She actually ran the entire series, and was named rookie of the year. All season long, the IRL Media Hype Circus surrounded her.

She's now in her second year, and where is the Media Hype? It doesn't seem to be following her around like it did last year. Hey, she's still the only woman in the sport, isn't she? Apparently that's not enough the second time to get the same media attention.

That would also explain why there hasn't been lots of coverage for Mark Martin and his "final" season. He is retiring after this season, right? Or has he changed his mind again?

Last season, it was announced early that both Martin and Rusty Wallace would retire at season's end, and every week we were treated to at least one or two mentions that this would be the last time Rusty and Mark would race that particular race. In some instances, there were even photo ops, gifts to the drivers from the track, or other presentations made before the race.

Then Martin decided to run one more season. How many times has the media mentioned that now this is Martin's last race at Darlington, or Las Vegas. Or that this is the last time he'll run the Aarons 499 or the Coca Cola 600. Those things have been only a side note this season.

Does this fall into the category of not Media Hyping something the second time around?

Or is it because Martin seems to be moving toward a Truck series career, and therefore isn't quite retiring?

Maybe the media think there will be more farewell touors to come from Martin, sort of like the never ending farewell tours of Barbra Streisand, Cher, and Crosby Stills and Nash.

Maybe it's simply because most of the tracks host two races each season, and the media hype will begin when Martin starts actually running the tracks in a Cup car for the final time. Afterall, of the 15 tracks where they've raced, the drivers will be returning to 13 of them this season. Only Darlington and Las Vegas are officially behind Mark Martin at this point. So that would mean the "final race..." media hype should officially begin this weekend at Infineon.

Then again, maybe the media feels that they've already done the hype over Martin's final season, although it was last season, and they don't want to be forced to repeat themselves.

If the media does decide to do another round of the Media Hype Circus for Mark Martin, I wonder if Bill Lester and Danica Patrick will feel cheated out of their second time around spotlight.

Published on June 15, 2006 in