Friday, November 10, 2006

I Beg The New York Times To Stay Out of NASCAR

Or, as they say, Nascar.

This article I found today seemed like about as much drivel as you would expect.  They're all too willing to kill the Drive for Diversity program instituted by NASCAR and the teams that are running drivers under it.  To start off, DfD is affirmative action at it's finest.  Let's look at this article's highlights:

Nascar officials have promoted their diversity efforts for years, hoping toerase a long-held image of stock-car racing as an all-white sport. Butthe Drive for Diversity program, which began in 2004 and was billed asan attempt to integrate drivers, has yet to produce a member of aminority group, or a woman, who has moved into the upper echelons ofthe sport.

Well I'll be damned no one has moved up.  Nevermind talent, we'll promote people for race or gender only.  I guess Aric Almirola in the Trucks and part-time Busch doesn't count.  Ditto for Erin Crocker.  Oh wait, when we talk about minority we're really only talking about one race.  What bugs me about this article is that we're assuming that there are bunches of talented race car drivers that are being kept out of the sport and that simply isn't the case.  There isn't a Negro League the way it was in baseball that was full of talented players so to expect a Jackie Robinson to come in year two of this program is extremely unreasonable. 

And now the father of an African-American stock-car driver oncecalled a top racing prospect said the highly publicizedNascar-supported program was a failure. Joe Henderson Jr. said his son,Joe III, was under contract to MB2 Motorsports from 2005 to 2006 andwas used for publicity but was given poor equipment in 2005 and noteven provided a racecar in 2006.

“It’s a sham,” Joe Henderson Jr.said in a telephone interview Friday. “The program is not designed tobe successful because, No. 1, it’s not properly funded.

“They claim that it’s a pipeline. Well, nobody came out the pipe.”

Again, umm, year two.  People today want to live in a microwave society where everything happens in a matter of minutes.  Life isn't like that.  Racing sure as hell isn't like that.  I'd love to know what "bad cars" were there because I would bet you he had one of the best cars on the track because how many Nextel Cup teams have a vested interest in late model programs?  Joe Henderson Jr., your soon needs EXPERIENCE.  On down in the article:

“MB2 is very committed to the Drive for Diversity program,” Jay Frye,the MB2 chief executive and general manager, said in a telephoneinterview yesterday. “Everything that we did last year was allbrand-new equipment and basically, when the season ended last year, wehad a meeting with the Hendersons. They wanted us to graduate him tothe next level. We didn’t feel he was ready for that. At that point, wesaid, ‘If you can find another deal, find another deal, and we’ll dothe same thing.’ ”

I can't say I'm surprised.  First year teams with brand-new cars don't typically perform well.  Ask Toyota next year what they think.  Again, sounds like the overbearing daddy wanted something before he was ready.  People don't realize how long drivers stay in late models before advancing to the touring and national series.  Go ask guys like Tony Stewart, Denny Hamlin, Matt Kenseth, etc. about their path to Nextel Cup.  It wasn't an overnight success.  Here is the kicker:

Jesus Hernandez, who replaced Joe Henderson III in the MB2 diversityprogram, had two victories in Late Model competition at Hickory usingwhat Frye said was the same equipment. Hernandez will move up to someCraftsman Truck races next year, Frye said.

Well now, isn't that interesting.

I'm not going to totally kill the article because it raises fair points in the rest.  Some fans of the sport still aren't willing to let others in and that's a shame.  NASCAR like any other business is about who does the best job.  Some guys are just better than others.  I'll all for giving equal opportunity but you need to prove your worth by running well.  Marc Davis has had a field day at Hickory this year because he has the talent.  Some guys do, some guys don't.

I'm out for the weekend.  All three divisions race at Phoenix and I hope you all will be watching.  Jaynelle Ramon will be at the track and she better tell us all about her trip or I'll have to tell more Jeff Gordon jokes.


dothechop71029 said...

The New York Times is nothing but a radical left-wing "news" paper.  They tell it how they want to tell it, and that is usually not the real story.  As for Drive for Diversity, the program has its plusses and minuses.  I just hope it doesn't turn into affirmative action, which will happen when they decide to put unqualified minorities in top rides (you could argue that Erin Crocker is unqualified, but that is another story).    If anything good has come out of the program, it has to be Aric Almirola.  He has a big upside once he gets a little more experience.    

dave426 said...

My idea?... First, I'd immediately stop reading what could be the second most liberal rag in the country, right behind the Washington Post. If the Drive for Diversity program was working, they would've never printed anything about it.

Second, move the diversity program down to the cart level. Take the big names with you and show kids and parents that this is a great thing. Show them the pictures of Tony in his cart. I call it "generation changing", and it's how we will develop the talent to diversify our sport.

dave426 said...

..And Dave426 is StewartFan