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Woody: No ‘Quiet Please” Signs In NASCAR

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, April 12 2010

NASCAR fans tend to be a bit different from those who were at the Masters over the weekend. (Photo by Jerry Markland/Getty Images for NASCAR)

Larry Woody | Senior Writer
RacinToday.com

During the final round of the Masters Sunday, some golfer (don’t ask me who; they all look alike to me) was in the midst of thinking about perhaps hitting his ball after meditating over it for what seemed like ten minutes when a theater usher in a fancy blazer hissed at the crowd: “Quite please!”

Apparently a mockingbird had hiccupped in the magnolias and completely shattered the golfer’s concentration.

The poor guy was so rattled that I thought he might have to go lie down and put a wet rag on his forehead.

It was a good reminder about why I don’t watch pro golf. I didn’t care much for it even before Tiger’s tawdry transgressions and Nike’s equally shameless attempt to cash in on it.

It also made me think about the sound & fury race drivers have to endure while doing their jobs.

There are no “Quiet Please” signs at racetracks, telling 100,000 crazed fans to put a plug in it when the field rumbles past.

Nobody yells “Fore!” when Juan Pablo Montoya comes through the field, although it might not be a bad idea.

Of course the drivers can’t hear the crowd anyway; have you ever been inside one of those cars? You can’t hear yourself think, which might explain some of the moves certain drivers sometimes make.

We’re told that golfers require absolute silence in order to concentrate on the task at hand: whacking a little ball lying on a manicured lawn. Oh, the pressure!

So how come race drivers don’t require similar silence to concentrate on THEIR task at hand: keeping a 3,500-pound stock car from slamming into the wall at 200 mph as they hurtle through a snarling pack of fellow crazies?

When a golfer settles in over a putt everyone holds their breath. The announcers whisper. Watching a golfer line up a putt is like watching a bomb squad try to choose between the red wire and the green wire.

And heaven forbid if, off in the distance, a baby sighs on Biff’s backswing.

Meanwhile back at the track, engines scream, tires screech and manifolds – well, I’m not sure what they do, but it’s noisy.

I once did, or attempted to do, live a radio show from the Bristol infield during a race. It went something like this:

Me: “Huh?”

Host: “What?”

Me: “What?”

Host: “Huh?

We went on like that for about five minutes. Turned out to be one of our better shows. But that’s beside the point. The point is, when you consider the din that race drivers have to endure, it’s amusing to think that golfers require total silence to do THEIR jobs. And remember: their out-of-bounds aren’t made of concrete.

Guess they’d better keep their tender tassels away from Talladega.

– Larry Woody can be reached at lwoody@racintoday.com

Larry Woody | Senior Writer, RacinToday.com Monday, April 12 2010
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