Woody: NASCAR Presses The Pants Issue
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
With fans yawning, attendance sagging, ratings slumping and teams struggling, it’s good to see that NASCAR is on top of such a pressing problem:
Altering its dress code.
According reports, NASCAR next season will relax its restrictions on garage-wear to allow shorts, short-sleeve/sleeveless shirts, and open-toed shoes.
In the past, everyone in the garage was required to wear long pants, close-toed shoes and shirts that covered the shoulders.
That clothing policy created an awkward moment prior to a race at Nashville Superspeedway a couple of years ago. A newspaper photographer, unaware of the dress code, showed up wearing shorts and was denied admission to the garage to shoot an assignment.
The short-pants shutterbug asked the lead writer what he should do. The lead writer – a grizzled garage veteran who had worn long pants to the track – offered to swap trousers with the photographer. (Shorts are OK in the press box, where most writers spend their time standing in the chow line.)
The two newspapermen went into the men’s room and were in the process of trading pants when a visitor walked in on them. He averted his eyes, said “’Cuse me,” and quickly departed.
Now, thanks to the finger-on-the-pulse wisdom of the founding body, such embarrassing fashion faux-pas are in the past.
NASCAR used to say that it implemented its strict dress code in the interest of safety – that there are many sharp, hot, heavy objects in the garage, making skimpy clothing and open-toed shoes unsafe.
I’m sure that was part of it. But also in the old days, scantily-clad young women frequented racetracks and it was not a good idea for them to be over-exposed in the garage area. Halter tops and short-shorts could create a distraction and cause a fellow to bump into something hot or drop something heavy on his toe.
Also garage tempers were notably shorter back then, and someone might take exception to a rival ogling his, uh, niece.
So in the interest of harmony/safety, limits were placed on how much sun nubile Garage Bunnies were allowed to soak up. Exposed skin, like pit-road speeds, was restricted.
Now reportedly some of those restrictions will be eased. I wouldn’t rank it up there with the innovation of the Championship Chase or the development of the Car of Tomorrow, but the more lax dress code could make future sight-seeing more interesting in the garage.
I’m anxious, for example, to see NASCAR’s new tank-top template being applied.
And keep in mind: a lot of sharp, hot, dangerous objects aren’t necessarily made of metal.
– Larry Woody can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org Comments