Sports In Paradise By Dale Jones
Race fans are, well, fanatical. There’s no doubt about it.
Last year, I received more comments from an article I wrote about NASCAR than from all of my football, baseball or basketball columns combined. The theme of the column was that NASCAR (Non Athletic Sport Centered Around Rednecks) really wasn’t, well, a sport. Basically a man (or a woman) straps their body into a Ford or Chevy, puts the pedal to the metal, driving fast and turning left. Who couldn’t do that?
Regardless of how you feel about it personally, there is still an argument to be made.
But after listening to all of the jarring going on between teammates Jeff Gordon and Jimmie Johnson following the race at Talladega on Sunday, an idea hit me that will end the “is racing a sport” question once and for all.
With just a few laps left in Sunday’s race, Gordon attempted to pass his teammate, but Johnson turned down in front of the No. 24, causing him to crash. Gordon was angry, and Johnson accepted the blame.
Although Gordon led the race with as few as 30 laps to go, the crash caused him to finish 22nd, dropping him back to 10th in the points standings.
Unfortunately, all we have heard from the two are words of frustration and anger.
Ah, but what if…
What IF they could have pulled into the pit area, climbed out of their racecars, slung off their gloves and helmets, and gone at it right there?
Would that be a ratings generator or what? It would be a cross between NASCAR and Ultimate Fighting. Heck, they could even set up a cage. How awesome.
Race fans are worse than Tide and Tiger fans when it comes to “hating” the other team. I have never seen anything like it in my life.
Go up to a Gordon fan and ask him how he feels about Jimmie Johnson. Ask a Johnson fan how he feels about “Junior”, Ask an Earnhardt fan how he feels about Harvick. You really want fireworks? Ask the fans of any driver how they feel about Tony Stewart.
These people will go off on you.
Wearing the wrong NASCAR t-shirt in certain parts of the South is like wearing the wrong color sneakers in certain LA neighborhoods. It could be deadly.
In the same way that NASCAR has been questioned as being truly a sport, so has wrestling and ultimate fighting, so let’s just combine them all. If one driver crashes into another, pull those guys out of the cars and let them fight it out right then and there. Get the crew chiefs involved and it could be a tag team match.
Don’t tell me this wouldn’t fly. Especially here in Alabama.
At some point in history, George Mikan decided to “dunk” the basketball. It revolutionized the game. In 1876, Yale’s Walter Camp passed the football to Oliver Thompson. Where would football be without the forward pass?
Come on folks, grab hold of this idea – Ultimate NASCAR.
I think it will catch on quickly!
Hit ‘em straight.
—Dale Jones covers sports and news in Baldwin County.