Woody: Here’s Hoping The Big Meeting Was A Big Success
By Larry Woody | Senior Writer
I’ve seen it happen in every organization of which I’ve been a part: the U.S. Army, a major metropolitan newspaper, a football team. Now I suspect it’s happened in NASCAR:
When all else fails, when the general/boss/coach is at wit’s end and has absolutely no idea what to do next, he (or she) calls a meeting.
On Tuesday NASCAR head coach Brian France told the team to huddle up.
NASCAR officials, drivers and team owners put their heads together in a lengthy behind-closed-doors session “to discuss various issues” and came up with – well, we’re not sure.
No media was allowed in, so we have to take Brian’s word for it when he said the meeting was “a really good exchange.”
Exactly what was exchanged remains unclear.
One thing that is on everybody’s mind is the ongoing Mayfield Mystery. Jeremy Mayfield has been suspended indefinitely as an owner/driver for flunking a NASCAR drug test, leaving his career and reputation in shambles.
Mayfield vows he is innocent and wants NASCAR to put its cards – its drug test results – on the table.
Look for this one to end up in court in a precedent-setting challenge to NASCAR’s authority.
Meanwhile other drivers are nervous, as well they should be. If Mayfield is indeed an innocent victim of a botched test (and a test for what, exactly?) who might be next?
They’d also better be nervous about the Carl Long Fiasco. The journeyman driver was suspended for 12 races, docked points and his crew chief fined $200,000 for using an “illegal engine” in the recent all-star qualifier race.
The engine was a beat-up old used ARCA motor that lasted three laps before it blew.
But since NASCAR gave Long the death penalty for splitting on the sidewalk, in the future it will be forced to be equally hard on serious cheaters instead of issuing wrist-slaps to the superstars.
Trust me: had Jeff Gordon or Dale Earnhardt Jr. been caught with a similar engine they wouldn’t have been kicked out for 12 races. (Just as Richard Petty didn’t miss a race after winning a race with an illegal motor. In fact, Petty even got to keep the victory.)
I assume this was brought up during the meeting.
The Car of Tomorrow which is now the Car of Today, continues to be blamed for bad racing. The last time I looked, the COT didn’t drive itself around the track. Maybe it’s not the Car of Tomorrow but a lack of Drivers of Yesterday that’s the problem.
I’ll bet Cale Yarborough could still make passes in the COT.
And that brings us to attendance and TV ratings, or lack thereof. What’s caused the decline? I think it’s a combination of factors, including the economy (in the case of live attendance), over-saturation of races on TV (in the case of ratings), erratic schedules and – ultimately – a dearth of action.
There have been some dramatic moments this season but overall the racing hasn’t been very exciting. My buddy Bubba said he got so bored during one recent race that he flipped over to the Nature Channel and watched flowers pollinate. He said the daffodils put on a better show than the drivers.
Let’s hope that all of this was discussed during the meeting, and that it wasn’t just idle chatter. Hopefully some fresh ideas will set in motion solutions to the sport’s problems.
It’s been my experience that if Holding A Meeting fails to fix things, there’s not much more that can be done.One Comment