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Pedley: Things Could Have Been Worse, Road-Race Haters

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, June 19 2009
Some hate NASCAR road races, some love them.  (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images )

Some hate NASCAR road races, some love them, all discuss them. (Photo by Jonathan Ferrey/Getty Images )

By Jim Pedley | Managing Editor
RacinToday.com

Currently there are 34 oval-track races on the Sprint Cup schedule and just two road-course races.

Have you ever hit your head so hard, or eaten a sandwich made with mayo that was left out in the sun too long, that your mind began to ponder the question of: What if that ratio were reversed? What if there were 34 road races on the schedule today and only two oval races?

Have you ever wondered in true “It’s A Wonderful Life”-style, what the world would be like if Bill France Sr. had been a road-racing fan?

Or if a young Bernie Ecclestone would have wondered into the Stream Hotel that day in 1947 – OK, he would have gotten the crap kicked out of him, so, how about a young Enzo Ferrari _ and the others in attendance would have listened to him and said, ‘hmmm, racing on roads, sounds good”?

What would the NASCAR record books look like? Who would be in that first class in the NASCAR Hall of Fame? Would Richard Petty still be able to walk the garages wearing a cowboy hat with feathers on it without having insults and Old Milwaukee cans thrown at him?

With the first of the two road races coming up this weekend at Infineon Raceway in Sonoma, Calif., it might be kind of sick to think about such things.

So, on the heels of spilling a large quantity of gasoline while filling my lawn mower within the confines of a closed and virtually air-tight garage, here are some thoughts:

* Jeff Gordon would still have a championship ring or two. For Gordon, having to use the brakes and clutch is only a minor inconvenience.

* Ricky Rudd would be called “The King”. Rudd brought beauty and grace to muscling 3,400 pound stock cars around tracks with more than just four corners.

 * Junior Johnson would have went back to jail.

 * The NASCAR Hall of Fame would be being built in Elkhart Lake, Wisconsin. The track through the rolling hills and forests is the best of its kind.

* Fans would toss boxed wine onto the track when Earnhardt Jr. loses. Presumably, the containers would still be drained before launch.

* Dale Earnhardt Sr. would still be a racing legend. It wasn’t the cars or tracks or the mustache that made the man a hero of the masses.

* RacinToday.com collegue Larry Woody would not email me and ask if Le Mans was a child-birthing procedure and compare it to watching cars on the freeway, and I would not have to answer back and remind him that he does not stand in a museum and wait for one wonderful piece of art to blow past another and hope they bang frames doing it.

* One of the favorite Earnhardt Sr. moves would have been known as “the overtake in the grass”.

*Drivers would make a lot of money off of embroidered polo-shirt sales.

* Matt Kenseth would get work twice a year as an oval-course ringer, subbing for Ron Fellows at DEI.

* Media wags would be debating ad nauseum whether or or not an oval race should be part of the Chase.

* “Hi, I’m Dale Earnhardt Jr. and I’m as comfortable in my Hugo Boss jeans as I am in my race car.”

* Harold Brasington would have put some right-turns in Darlington would the track would now be notoriously referred to as “The Lady In Mauve”.

* The Fine Living Channel would be bidding for a portion of the Sprint Cup broadcast package.

* Boris Said would be doing monthly guest shots on “Regis and Kelly”.

* Writers on deadline would be bitching to NASCAR officials that race-winners were taking too long doing the beret dance after races.

* Presumably, Juan Pablo Montoya would not have moved over to NASCAR and Michael Schumacher would.

* Rain delay? What’s a rain delay?

* Spotter? What’s a spotter?

* We would all be citizens of NARRAR Nation.

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

Jim Pedley | Managing Editor, RacinToday.com Friday, June 19 2009
4 Comments

4 Comments »

  • Kurt Templeton says:

    I think you and Woody ought to go head to head (pen to pen?) on this. Would love to read the pro / con debate…. Maybe let us readers vote on the winner!

  • Richard in N.C. says:

    Absolutely super – except I suspect Junior J. would have still figured out a way to win, some.

    • Jim Pedley says:

      Richard, got to give you that. Junior always figured out a way to win. Saw him at Daytona, still wearing bib overalls, still sly as a woods full of foxes.