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Tuesday, June 17, 2008

'Big Brother' NASCAR should let drivers speak their minds

Do you remember earlier this year when NASCAR let the fans know they were going to allow drivers to speak their minds more this season, and not police their words as much?

Well, that didn’t last very long.

‘Big Brother’ NASCAR is at it again, having called all the drivers to a special meeting last Friday morning at Michigan Speedway to tell them to stop criticizing the so-called ’Car of Tomorrow’ so much. They want drivers to focus on more positive thoughts, and not constantly bash the car.

To make the matter even more silly, NASCAR made up some lame cover story about how the meeting was really about telling the drivers that they need to do more to connect with the fans. As Jim Hunter, NASCAR's vice president of corporate communications, put it: “We want them to remember the fans and to remember why we're here, and that's to race.”

In other words, shut up and drive. Check your personality and opinions at the speedway entrance gate, and just do your job.

This is a terrible attitude for a sport to take. Part of the reason we love sports goes beyond what happens on the field or the track. Competitors with interesting personalities and opinions are part of the reason we are drawn to sports … Tony Stewart is a great example of this.

His response to this meeting was typical Tony. “Ask Mike Helton. I don’t know what we’re allowed to say and what we’re not,” was his comment after Sunday’s race.

Trust me when I tell you that no matter how many warnings the France empire wants to impose on its subjects, Tony Stewart, Kyle Busch and a lot of other drivers will not allow themselves to be censored. There may be some drivers who are willing to be drones, but the majority will continue to let the public know if they think the car they’re driving is a piece of junk.

I’m not driving the thing, so I can’t tell you if they’re on point with their criticisms. But as someone who believes free speech is as important as any right in America, the very idea of this ‘Shut up and be positive’ meeting pretty much makes me sick.

I thank God for drivers like Stewart, who refuse to let NASCAR suck all the personality out of the sport and continue to speak their mind.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Free speech is important in every situation. The drivers are very hard on Nascar 75% of the time or more even.

It's where the best racing is and maybe the drivers could appreciate that a bit more.

June 17, 2008 at 5:48 PM 

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