Rumor Mill

MONTE DUTTON: OF LEAKS AND TRIAL BALLOONS

 

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Brad Keselowski stole one. Kevin Harvick gave one away. Another week, another race. That’s a whole two of them, and it’s on to Las Vegas, where, contrary to commercial belief, what happens there won’t really stay.

More than a quarter of the Atlanta Motor Speedway starting field has a court date at the Hampton, Ga., police station. It’s a good example of public-private coordination. NASCAR is running a heck of a speed trap on the outskirts of town.

It seemed unusual, given the new rules, for the Daytona 500 to be decided by ethanol. As many a Texan has said ever since San Jacinto, “Hey, boy, that ain’t nothing.” In Hampton, Ga., a race was won by the driver who didn’t go too fast. On pit road, for chrissakes.

Somewhere down the road, probably about the fifth or sixth race, someone is going to win a race by the extraordinary simplicity of outrunning two or three others. As no less a NASCAR devotee than Petula Clark once sang, “It’s a sign of the times.”

This week’s speed palace is on the outskirts of another city, Las Vegas, and the word is that Sin City will get a second race in 2018. The idea is that the gaming (English word: gambling) capital will be able to sustain another visit of the MENCS (that’s Monster Energy NASCAR Cup Series) because of the steady stream of year-around visitors singing “Viva, Viva, Las Vegasssssss!” as they get off planes.

Kansas got a second race because God built a casino there. Makes sense.

The last time I frequented a race track, the definition of “word is” was operatives representing something (NASCAR, SMI, ISC, Goodyear, Hendrick Motorsports, etc.) or someone (a driver, an owner, a crew chief, a chief executive officer, a scurrilous huckster, etc.) scurrying around the room to whisper to various favored media representatives something like, “Psst. I hear it’s a done deal.”

In the past few days, I’ve noticed that the term “leaks” has fallen into disfavor, conveniently ignoring the fact that most leaks in government, sports and the garage uptown where people hang out occur intentionally.

Another figment of this week’s imaginative rumors is in the fitting realm of noise. “Word is” that NASCAR is considering measures to reduce the noise of the cars. Imagine! Race cars that are loud! Next thing you know, they’ll go fast!

Do I think this will happen? No, not unless the Prefect of Gaul is drawn away from the dancing girls and vintners to sign any decree placed in front of him by his ministers.

The central unwritten motto of NASCAR, “If you try something new, it better not work.” Next up in the constitution is a general framework of government by trial balloon. NASCAR sends a balloon aloft, and if the native archers puncture it with their arrows and it crashes, they go back to work an another balloon.

Quiet race cars can’t even get off the ground.

As I once heard a football player say about an opponent that refused to blitz, “Naw, man, that would be ludicrous.”

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