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Pedley: Black Friday’s Come

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, November 27 2009
Some people thought that Kyle Busch was a crashing boor in Nashville.  (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Some people thought that Kyle Busch was a crashing boor in Nashville. (Photo by Chris Graythen/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Black Friday. It’s not just for shoppers anymore.

Maybe it’s the perfect day to look back and remember things we hate to remember but can’t forget. Insane things that we wish never would have happened and now hope will never happen again.

So in the spirit of awards weeks in NASCAR, here goes.

The Black Friday Awards go to:

The Jeremy Mayfield Thing. Mayfield and his owner/driver operation started out the season as a major feel-good story. Popular driver can’t find ride, creates his own, qualifies for the Daytona 500. Then it all turned Shakespearian when he is suspended for meth use, starts spraying the world with, um, interesting accusations and excuses, files law suits and now gets sued himself by his attorney.

The Kyle Busch Guitar Thing. He wins a race in Nashville, is handed the hand-painted guitar which serves as the trophy and then starts – depending on your point of view – pummeling either the guitar or the asphalt surface in Victory Lane. The move, much like Busch himself, delights half the world and offends the other half. Busch says it was in the tribute to rock stars. Remember, KyBu, rock stars are often not pure of blood stream when they do their thing.

The Talladega Air Show. It was a pretty nice spring day in northeastern Alabama for the first race at big old ‘Dega this year. Great day to watch racing. Not so good to watch whatever it is they do at the 2.66 if you were in a certain section of the front stretch grandstands and happend not to like flying shards of metal. Repeated viewings of Carl Edwards sailing into the catch fence at 200 mph cause the coolness factor to drop and the horror of what might have been, to raise.

The Schedule Release Day. There it was again. The same place it has been since 1982. Graphic confirmation that once again excruciatingly boring Pocono Raceway would once have two Sprint Cup races in 2010. And, perhaps worse, both would be 500 miles in length. Next year, fellas, one or the other. One race or two at 250 miles. There ya go, get creative with the number of miles; 250, 127, run the race clockwise, something.

The Danica to NASCAR Affair. I do not know why this grates so much but it does. I guess it gets back to the antiquated notion of earning something by way of skill or hard work vs. getting it by being good looking. Real news and issues were shut down from time to time this year as Danica Patrick flirted with Dale Earnhardt Jr., Rick Hendrick, Tony Stewart and Michael Waltrip. Reports had her insisting on Jeff Gordon money even though she has a Kevin Lapage resume. Yep, it grates.

Carl Long Hung In Public Square Deal. OK, rules are rules are rules. Society operates that way, racing series operate that day. But there is also spirit of the law vs. letter of the law. And even in the court rooms, mercy has a place. When struggling team owner/driver Carl Long was sentence to death for violating engine displacement rules, the spirit of the law was exorcised with extreme prejudice. Other, wealthier teams get NASCAR’s index finger waved back and forth in their faces for similar offenses. Long is sent packing. This stunk to high heaven.

David Poole Departs. A lot of us on this side of racing (the side which gets free tickets and food and preferred parking) have had a lot to say about David, the newspaper beat writer and radio host who died suddenly during the season. And it is easy to see why most fans really did not understand that. But David meant more to them and their sport than they will ever know. The void he left in terms of fan advocacy has not been filled, and will be tough to be fill as newspapers show less and less concern about fans and more and more about profit, and that’s not good.

There you have it. Black Friday Awards. And remember what Steely Dan said: “When Black Friday falls you know it’s got to be; don’t let it fall on me.”

– Jim Pedley can be reached at jpedley@racintoday.com

| Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, November 27 2009
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