Stock-car racing built its fiercely loyal following on the backs of its drivers' domineering personalities: the raw grit and rough-hewn wiles of Junior Johnson; the dignity and determination of Richard Petty; and the heart and stubbornness of the late Dale Earnhardt. Now that the sport wants to reach a mass audience, longtime fans fear it's racing too fast to lose its vernacular -- shedding its past as if it were an embarrassing family secret.
Yeah, like Junior Johnson never said "shit"! He plows barefoot behind a mule, fer chrissakes! Well, he used to. These days he wears shoes.
Asked during his post-race news conference about the prospect of being sanctioned for his remark, Earnhardt said, "If anybody was offended by the four-letter word I said . . . I can't imagine why they would have tuned into the race in the first place."
Hey, lookie here NASCAR, this ain't a gentleman's sport, and trying to make it so is like putting lipstick on a pig. A lot of fans are country folks who learned "shit" as their second word, right after "shovel". It IS barnyard language, and that's all it is. City guys like me an' Fixer musta learned it somewhere else, but we know what it means and how and where to use it. A racetrack is an appropriate venue given the context of Jr.'s use of it.
Hell, I wouldn't wanta blurt out "shit" at the croquet play-offs, but I bet the players do it sometimes.
Given the acts some of the stick-and-ball guys commit, Dale's utterance ain't (you should pardon the expression) shit, and those guys don't lose championship points. For rape and murder. Hell, they don't even have to WIN to get their money like racers do.
Fining Dale and taking his points away for this dinky crap is turning a (unisexual) manly sport into a prissy TV game fit only for girlie-men. If that's the demographic you're after, you're on the right track, NASCAR.