Needling NASCAR

Published 9:51 pm Saturday, April 4, 2009

Let’s see a show of hands, who fell for the April 1 story in Car and Driver magazine?

The fake story, posted on the car review publication’s website, said that President Obama had ordered Dodge and General Motors to exit NASCAR.

The move was expected to save the two troubled automakers $250 million.

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And Hyundai was the manufacturer suggested to replace the two domestic brands. I must say that I was a little concerned reading the article, until I came to this portion of the story. No way we will ever see a Hyundai racing around Darlington. A Honda maybe, but that another story for another time.

Evidently, many more people fell for the story than the editors at Car and Driver anticipated. Not only did some people not appreciate the article, it made them downright angry. Come on, get a sense of humor. Since when does the upper crust at Car and Driver care about the goings on of NASCAR.

The PR guy for Dodge said he had never seen a story more irresponsible in 30 years. It was joke. Get it? It was April Fools’ Day. Yeah, the timing of the story might have been a little concerning, but the timing it what made it such a great April Fools’ hoax. These type stories were around every corner on the Internet that day.

I have written many times in this space about my admiration for the ultimate promoter, Bruton Smith. Smith is the Chairman and CEO of Speedway Motorsports, Inc, owner of seven tracks that host NASCAR events. Among those tracks is Las Vegas Motor Speedway.

My admiration for Smith, who is liked so much by many other people, stems from that he sets his sights on a project and he makes it happen. He gets what he wants the majority of the time. For several years, Smith has lobbied to move the annual NASCAR banquet from the Waldorf Astoria in New York City, where the event has been held for the last 27 years, to Las Vegas.

Well, guess what? According the Las Vegas Review Journal, NASCAR has reached a tentative agreement with the Las Vegas Convention and Visitors Authority to hold the 2009 banquet in Las Vegas. Bruton usually says what he wants to do then goes out and does it. Gotta like that.

Jimmie Johnson broke the Busch brothers win streak at Martinsville last week. Johnson has now won five of the last six races at “The Giant Paperclip,” a simply amazing feat. It was also Chevrolet’s first win on the young season.

Speaking of Speedway Motorsports, Inc, the next race on the schedule is at one of racing’s crown jewel tracks, The Great American Speedway in Texas. The winner of Texas gets a cowboy hat and a set of six shooters, that’s cool.

A certain superstar racer who recently switched teams and is taking tons of heat for not winning consistently won his first career race at Texas Motor Speedway in 2000. I am picking that driver, Dale Earnhardt, Jr. to win the race on Sunday.