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As these words are written, NASCAR is about to celebrate the season recently completed. Realizing that there would be an awards show – I take the absence of the word “banquet” to mean “no pretty food” – I looked into it and discovered it’s still on actual live TV, though on a Thursday, a night normally reserved for the Mid-American Conference and the apparently never-ending World Series of Poker.

ESPN has the Timbers vs. SKC: “The Western Conference championship series shifts to Kansas as SKC and the Timbers meet in leg two.”

Leg two, huh? It’s not the Dakar Rally. I’m guessing soccer and surmising that SKC means “Soccer Kansas City” and not Salish Kootenai College, which my browser says is in Pablo, Montana.

What I’m trying to convey here is that the NASCAR show or banquet or ceremony or soiree ain’t what it used to be.

I haven’t actually attended it since it was in New York City that country came to town. It used to be a great boon to the rented tuxedo industry. Then, over time, discipline broke down, regular suits like the ones folks wear to funerals were allowed, and everyone got the opportunity to show America on TV how they can’t tie a tie.

The truth is that nowadays, everyone can tie a tie, or, or at least, have someone on the payroll who can. That’s part of the reason it isn’t worth watching. There used to be amusement in watching two worlds collide.

I’ll watch it tonight if nothing else real good is on TV. Oops. I probably won’t see the end. Twelve Angry MenIn the mid-1990s, I was crossing the street near the Waldorf Astoria, and Gotham was alive with folks Christmas shopping. The red and gold Winston Show Car was parked outside the famous hotel, which I had learned wasn’t named for an apple salad and a laxative. The salad was invented by the hotel, and the laxative was Castoria, not Astoria.

See, I was then part of the country that came to town. I thought it was the city folk who were dumb, especially when I heard one woman say to another.

“Winston Cup. What is this Winston Cup?”

“Oh, you know what, Bernice? I think that’s tennis, isn’t it?”

“Either that or golf.”

Now it’s the Monster Energy Cup Series, and it’s in Las Vegas where the welcome has worn out. Bernice is now named Tootsie or Babs. She likes feather boas, or, for that matter, feathers in general, and she thinks Monster Energy burns “clean coal.”

I hope I’m wrong. I hope tonight I’m so entertained that Henry Fonda and Lee J. Cobb will just have to wait. I hope there’s a reason to watch it other than to discuss what might have caused Brian France’s bizarre behavior. Was it animal, mineral or vegetable?

Last year I voted “absinthe” in the online poll.

Drat the luck. BZF is still figuratively vacationing with Marion Wermer, the dean’s wife in Animal House. I’m not that out of touch. Animal House is only 40 years old.

Whatever happened to Curtis Turner filling up the bathtub with gin? Poker in the media hospitality room? Finding someone with enough clout to intercede with the cops? Buxom beauty queens such as Winkie Louise, Miss Firebird?

To paraphrase the Statler Brothers, who were singing about Randolph Scott, whatever happened to Winkie Louise has happened to the industry. And the hell of it is that Las Vegas has hundreds, maybe thousands, of budding Winkie Louises and Linda Vaughns, the greatest beauty queen of them all.

It could be that all NASCAR really needs is another Miss Hurst Golden Shifter.