Volume III, Issue 2, Page 15
With John Carollo

I’m one of you. Long before my first article or big name interview and for as long as I can remember, I’ve been a stock car fan. So for that reason, my name doesn’t matter and neither does my photo. It’s more like we’re just sitting here in the grandstand before the race, talking about Chevys and NASCAR. Hey, you want a cold one? --JC

From Zombie to Zowie!

Two days after this goes up, the 50th Anniversary Daytona 500 and new season will jump off. While most fans have been in zombie hibernation during the off-season, we kept diggin’ for y’all. About a month ago, we hit Charlotte for the first real event of the season, the NASCAR Sprint Cup Series Media Tour Hosted by Lowes Motor Speedway. This great tour celebrated its 25th anniversary this year and continues to give us media pukes a good look-see at the coming season. So, here’s the Chevy NASCAR news you need to know.

It seems like everybody wants to know about Dale Jr. so let’s start there. In a word, he is stoked. He’s relaxed, but also anxious to get busy. But the thing that shows the most is this boy is READY! All the fussing with DEI is over, and like all his Daddy ever wanted, he can finally just strap on his Chevy and get to racing. He’s been doing things like showing up at his teammate’s tests just to cut up and talk set-ups with his new teamies. He’s been hanging around sponsor deals longer that he has to…and then there’s the look. Some of y’all may know that look. I remember wearing it when I moved out from my ex and no longer had to mess with all the unpleasantness. It really looks like Jr. is more than happy to be away from the madness, but then again, who wouldn’t? With all that ‘forward bite’ you can expect Jr. to come out swinging at Daytona. And here’s where you can really watch him grow. Jr. never really got to shine on intermediate tracks and his new team builds a bitchin’ intermediate car. So he may get into them right quick with this team. Hey, I wonder if his #88 has that new car smell? 

Before we saw Jr., we stopped at his old stomping grounds, DEI. Sorry folks, but I’m afraid I can no longer rationalize what Teresa Earnhardt feels compelled to do with this team. In another controlling command, someone at DEI decided that the Media Tour would not have the usual one-on-one interviews with the drivers, crew chiefs and other team folk. DEI shoved this down our throats last year at just about the last minute and they did it again this year. Want a little more clarity? DEI is the only one EVER to stiff the Media Tour by not allowing one-on-ones. The first day of the tour, we got to talk to Brian France and Mike Helton, the TWO BIGGEST GUYS of NASCAR. But at DEI, we couldn’t talk with Mark Martin or Martin Truex. That keeps us from asking questions that ultimately end up as articles for you, the fans and the folks that buy the products on the cars. It’s like we’re stocking shelves at the Piggly Wiggly. If we can’t get product, we can’t stock the dang shelves, dig?

And speaking of sponsors, it looked like ‘sponsor suicide’ when DEI drivers and crew chiefs wore nice, clean white dress shirts embroidered with only the DEI logo. That’s right, DEI held a national media function with world-wide journalists and the only logos on shirts were DEI’s. Like I said, I can no longer defend a DEI that makes those kind of decisions. Another decision was made for the DEI gift shop where we couldn’t find ANY Dale Jr. goodies. Now, they can’t really sell the old Jr./Budweiser stuff. But they could sell the old Jr./DEI stuff. They could also, if they arranged it with Hendrick, sell the new Jr. stuff like other shops. But, no. So it kinda looks like they done “de-Junior-ized” the DEI gift shop. There were plenty of things that had us shaking our heads and thinkin’, “They just don’t get it.” We feel bad cuz there are some very good and very talented folks at DEI and we wish them the best. Bottom line: the powers to be at DEI can jerk around the media, they can play Russian roulette with their sponsors, but the BS will stop when the flag drops. We work in an industry where action speaks loudest. It’s time for DEI to put up. For the sake of those good people, let’s hope they do.

At Richard Childress Racing, Kevin Harvick, Clint Bowyer and Jeff Burton are ready to go a-hunting. Naw, it’s not one of RC’s globe-hopping big game expeditions. And their prey isn’t even the usual Ford, Dodge and Toyota teams. No, the RCR boys have fellow Chevy team Hendrick in their sights. “We’re at least gonna be a pain in the ass,” says Harvick while Burton got his back with, ‘We’re not coming this year to take an ass whipping.” It is any wonder I like these boys? I’m thinkin’ we’re all in for some big fun.

Remember, too, that RCR joined forces with DEI to combine their engine programs. Sprint Cup motors are built at a joint shop in Welcome, NC, while Nationwide (formerly Busch) engines are wrenched back at DEI. Ol’ RC says, “The last two years, our engine program won 44 races in NASCAR’s top three divisions. We’re going to take things one step at a time.” Sounds like they’re ready for the Hendrick boys.

So we’ve got a Chevy team drawing a bead on the Hendrick Champs. Ford, Dodge and Toyota (now with added Smoke!) spent their Media Tour time telling us how they done dropped the ball last year and are going to make up for it. Yep, sounds like the makin’s of another great year of racing. And if a Chevy wins this very special Daytona 500, we’ll all feel like shouting Zowie or some other pious, printable expression of pure joy. 

 

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