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NASCAR claims to be returning to its roots…are they really?
Posted by tas
NASCAR claims to be returning to its roots…are they really?

There was a real, live, actual, authentic dust-up during practice for Saturday night’s Bud Shootout, and you would have thought a hidden vault had been discovered containing the secret scrolls of NASCAR’s rebirth.

When two of NASCAR’s most volatile drivers — Tony Stewart and Kurt Busch — rammed into each other on the track during Friday evening’s practice session, then rammed into each other again in the pits and began yelling and gesturing at each other from their cars, NASCAR officials couldn’t wait to hail this as proof positive that the sport is returning to its rural, rowdy roots.

“This is the NASCAR everybody fell in love with,” declared Jim Hunter, NASCAR’s vice president of corporate communications.

If we didn’t know better, we’d say the run-in was as scripted as a WWE Smackdown. Then again, with NASCAR we don’t really know better, do we?

After all, NASCAR’s head honcho, Brian France, declared a month ago that his sport would get “back to basics . . . minimize change . . . embrace the past.” It has become NASCAR’s throwback theme as we prepare for next Sunday’s milestone 50th running of the Daytona 500.

And, really, a theme is all it is. Let’s face it, this “back to basics” rhetoric is a ruse, probably dreamed up by a Madison Avenue advertising exec to win back some old-school fans who have felt abandoned by new-age NASCAR. Come on, NASCAR has as much chance of getting back to basics as college football has of recruiting legitimate student-athletes. It’s all a facade to make grass-roots fans feel better about a sport they say has left them choking in its corporate dust.

As far as we could deduce from watching Saturday night’s Bud Shootout, there is no noticeable retro movement in NASCAR. None of the cars was sporting a tail fin, none of the wives was wearing a beehive hairdo and none of the tickets was selling for $5.

And, to top it all, the Hendrick motor monopoly is still winning everything.

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