Eenie, meenie, minie, moe …
Thank you, NASCAR fans, for your guidance. You have greatly aided my quest to pick a favorite driver. After carefully studying a few essays e-mailed to me by the sport’s savvy followers, I’ve come to a decision.But we’ll get to that a little later. First, I want to touch on just how complex the process has been. Apparently, there are a whole mess of rules to follow when picking a favorite driver. Some people said I should consider backing a favorite team as opposed to just a driver. Another stressed the blasphemy of rooting for anyone manning a Toyota, or for mixing automobile makes when picking favorites. Wrote an anonymous e-mailer from a nearby town that rhymes with ipsum: “As a new NASCAR fan you simply cannot embrace Toyota period. Very controversial and definitely not PC to pick Toyota as your favorite car or driver. “If Toyota actually wins a Cup race, most of us in NASCAR Nation will need to be hospitalized for major depression watch. It will be far worse than, say, the Broncos losing a playoff game if Toyota becomes a contender. It is difficult enough as it is watching them dominate the Craftsman Truck Series. They did win one Busch Race this year in which I had to lie down for the rest of the afternoon (was having hard time breathing properly).”Another e-mail made clear cheering on a winner isn’t always a virtuous choice. That rules out Hendrick Motorsports, a team with a loose grip on the purse strings that has often been dubbed the New York Yankees of NASCAR.No problem there. I’m well accustomed to rooting for perennially championship-less teams – the San Francisco Giants and Golden State Warriors, to name two. Said Cindy from Glenwood: “My recommendation to you is to not pick a team who just wins all the time. Pick a driver and team with class (preferably one that doesn’t get caught cheating all time), and in turn you’ll learn a whole lot about the sport.”The not-picking-a-winner thing also rules out Hendrick stud Jeff Gordon, who spent his early childhood in the northern California city of Vallejo, which is maybe an hour from where I grew up. He strikes me as prickly and arrogant anyway. Allee from New Jersey (people read our paper in New Jersey?) urged me to adopt Jimmie Johnson, another Hendrick superstar.”Point blank, it’s current champ Jimmie Johnson,” she typed. “His haters tend to say he’s too PC and too vanilla, but as he admits on his XM radio show he takes his job very seriously. He’s worked too hard and come too far to just throw it a way by being a bad boy in public. That doesn’t mean he’s boring, if you’ve followed him since his Busch days like I have, you’d see he is a class act guy with a huge sense of humor and big heart.”Now I actually do like Jimmie Johnson. He seems like a down-to-earth, all-around cool guy. And he has a ton of talent.But I’m going a different direction. My choice is … Juan Pablo Montoya.Just kidding.Actually, I’m going with the Busch brothers, which violates a number of the above rules. These reckless and insanely talented siblings have caught my eye in recent races. They’re fiery and competitive to a fault. If they were baseball players, they’d be a lot like Eric Byrnes. Flying around the outfield for loose balls, sliding headfirst or spikes up to snag that extra base. The Busches may rub some people the wrong way from time to time, but it’s clear they want to win. Sure, they both race for different teams and drive different cars (Kyle a Chevy and Kurt a Dodge), but I think the sibling angle trumps the make rule.So there it is, my final decision. I have to say NASCAR fans are a diehard, dedicated lot. Thanks so much to those who wrote. You are true fans indeed. Something sports in general needs more of.Contact Jeff Caspersen at 384-923 or firstname.lastname@example.org.
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