MONTE DUTTON – IT’S UP TO THE KIDS
Oh, I reckon this latest hurricane will have cleared out by the time Sunday rolls around in eastern Alabama. It will have cleared out of here by then, too, based on all those models with capital letters and numbers.
As Randy Travis sang, “The storms of life are washin’ me away.”
The FV3-GHS – an “experimental model,” whatever that means -- offers the best hope for here. It says Michael will slow down and cross into the Atlantic in the low part of South Carolina. It’s an experimental model, but it predicts Michael will be, like Talladega, a plate race.
That was yesterday, when all my troubles seemed so far away. Now the best estimate seems to be that Michael will split my embattled home state in two, but the west side is supposed to be weaker, so, maybe, just maybe, there will still be electricity to watch the NASCAR race by.
I’ve still got a friend in town who regularly attends races. I saw him last week at the Touchdown Club. He was back from “the roval” and said he was leaving for Talladega Thursday. He camps out in the infield. Back when I wrote about most of the races on-site, I used to take my guitar to his campsite when I paid a visit.
My friend still loves NASCAR. There is no getting around the reality that many others have stopped loving it. I think most of them still like it. The difference between love and like is the difference between going and staying at home.
Some miss Dale Earnhardt. Some miss Dale Jr. Some miss Wilkesboro. Some miss Jeff, Rusty, Bill and Carl. Chase, Bill’s son, won again in Dover. That helps a little. The young drivers – Elliott the Younger, Ryan Blaney, Erik Jones, Kyle Larson, Alex Bowman, William Byron, et al. – are starting to stir. Chevrolets are running better. The same four drivers who have won most of the races this year haven’t won as many lately.
I’m feeling reasonably excited about recent results.
Meanwhile, as the feeder system for drivers starts to work, the feeder system for fans is still broken. While older fans commiserate the passing of their heroes, there is no considerable younger generation to replace them.
I see the cardboard turning into flesh and blood with young drivers gradually learning to unveil their personalities. I remember a time when Jeff Gordon seemed made of cardboard, too.
Kids have to have kids to emulate. Old people don’t have the energy to put this sport on their backs anymore.
This is where NASCAR is. It has to rebuild its following slowly and patiently because that’s the only way it could possibly work.