Monday, June 30, 2008

Casey Mears and What's Next?

Pity Casey Mears. Thirty years old and he’s a failure. Kicked out on his tush by the dream team owner, a friend of his family’s for years. Santa-faced Rick Hendrick, he who acts like a father to Junior, uncle to JJ and Jeff, found Casey lacking. One win isn’t enough. Santa isn’t bringing any toys for the black sheep child this year.

Other factors probably come into play as well. Kellogs may not want to sponsor a father who isn’t marrying his baby’s mama. Sure Jeff and Ingrid had Ella in the oven when they said their vows, but they did the traditional thing and got married. JJ’s lovely wife exudes class. Casey’s situation just isn’t the image a powerhouse team wants to project. So Casey had to go. Family cuts ties with loser youngest son. Boy, it’s tough being Casey Mears this year.

The good news is, he still has the Mears name. He's a decent driver. Life will even out after this year's turmoil. I'm still hoping he does the right thing to give his baby a father who stepped up to the plate and manned up.

Wednesday, June 25, 2008

I adore gardenias. And this year, they've been blooming in an embarrassment of abundance. Don't know if it's the wet spring or the current heat wave causing the gardenias to bloom like there's no tomorrow, but I've been able to fill every room in the house with a bowl full. How can anything be wrong with the world when there's a scent like that?

I continue to be surprised that the press hasn't gone after the Mauricia Grant story. Bloggers are doing most of the talking, and as this blog goes to show, most of them (moi included) are talking out of their hats. Where's Nate Ryan's in depth reporting? Why hasn't Jenna Fryer done some heavy digging? As someone else said, maybe this lawsuit is seen as "so what do you expect from Southern rednecks?" The corollary to that is: who cares? I care, and so do many other people who love Nascar.

I'm reading Phillip K. Dick's stories, one after the other, and can't believe I didn't discover him before now. What a clever, clever writer.

Monday, June 16, 2008

In a Stew

Watching Rick Hendrick glow and Jr get all gushy after winning in Michigan helped calm me down just a hair. Glad he won a points race this year. Happy for Tony Jr. Feel-good moment. But. . . you knew there was a 'but' coming, didn't you?

Having watched Brian France on Nascar Now pontificate that the Nationwide track official who has filed a discrimination law suit against the juggernaut known as Nascar NEVER complained about her treatment had me ready to rip into the TV screen. Come on, people, do you think we're stupid? Of course she took a lot of flack. She's a woman, she's black, and she was in a position out front where she'd be a target for that sort of idiocy. And yes, I believe she complained to her superior, who made sure she was fired. What's worse is, I have a feeling if she'd been a little older, wiser, and able to put those nitwits who hassled her in their places, she'd have taught them a lesson or two. Just maybe. I remember my days in law school when we five women out of a class of a hundred men took our hits. But we shot back. The guys spread Playboy all over the student lounge to embarrass us, we bought Playgirl magazines and added them to the pile. Oh, and did a lot of pointing and giggling. When the men started in on the really dirty talk, trying to get a rise out of us, one of us would say "Your mama know you're talking like that? 'cause if she doesn't, I'll be happy to let her know." We persevered because we weren't going to let them run us out of law school. My bet is, Mauricia Grant did the same thing - thought she could tough it out, until they fired her and all bets were off. I repeat, how stupid does Brian France think we are? Pay the woman, make the settlement confidential, then start cleaning house of the worst offenders.

I adore good ole boys - know quite a few. Their hearts are golden, their language less than proper, and they'll do anything for anyone in need. Shirt off the back time. The coneheads who hassled the Nationwide official aren't good ole boys. They thought they could get away with talkin' ugly and being mean to a young woman who deserved better. No proper Southern mama taught her son to behave like that. Shame. And shame on those who covered it up.

Monday, June 02, 2008

My (Fairly Recent) Conversion, or How I Lost All Intellectual Pretensions

My husband asked if I’d like to see the new Indiana Jones movie tonight. Thought a sec, then replied that I considered the first ones dumb, so I’d pass. He cocked an eyebrow. Okay, I admitted, maybe I’d reconsider. After all, I gave up all pretensions to intellectual superiority when I dove headfirst into NASCAR and its attendant circus. When did I choose to hide my Phi Beta Kappa key to wear a Kevin Harvick T-shirt and Ward Burton earrings? What possessed me to put down my Tom Friedman book for NASCAR Scene?

The tale is not an old one in terms of time. Sometime in the fall of 2005, I think it was, my agent asked if I’d be interested in writing NASCAR books for Harlequin. Easy, she said. Knock 'em out with your eyes closed. Never one to turn down the option to make money, I figured I’d watch some races on TV and get the lingo down pat. My husband, a racing fan but not of NASCAR, suggested a fall race at a small track, Richmond. He’d heard it was a good show. Pick up on the atmosphere. Get authentic. Okay, I said. Richard Petty, when I checked online, was appearing at the Fanzone. I’d heard of Petty. Funky hat and dark glasses. Bone-thin with a real drawl. Cowboy boots. Maybe I could ask him a few racing questions. (Remember my intellectual pretensions. . . )

Little did we know tickets were scarcer than diamonds in the disposal. But my husband, working his magic, scored a couple. We showed up. Not long before the race. Mistake number ONE. Engines crank up. My hearing exits track right. Nothing to protect our ears. Mistake number TWO. Then it happens. Magic strikes. The bleachers shake as the cars circle the track behind the pace car. Vibrations work from my soles to the top of my head. Good heavens, I'm getting excited. Crash number one and I’m hooked. On my feet screaming with everyone around me. So much for my doctorate degree. I can’t wait to hit the fan trailers and snap up all the gear I can. Mistake number THREE. Wait until you pick a favorite driver, THEN shop.

We buy good ear protectors, a scanner, spread our fan purchases out over several tracks, learn to get there early and set up our tailgating goodies. We are NASCAR junkies. Order premium TV to get the SPEED channel. Go to the Daytona 500. Ask for tickets to Martinsville for Mother’s Day. Season tickets to Richmond. Oh yeah. Big bucks.

And I never did write those NASCAR romances. Too much NASCAR, not enough romance, LOL, for Harlequin. Still, I’ve used some race lore in a couple of books, most recently in a futuristic where the Racer Clan figures prominently. It’s called LEGAL KILL. And there’s not a romance in sight. Well, maybe a hint. What does that say about my take on NASCAR? Hmmm. Gotta think about that one.

Maybe we’ll go see Indiana Jones tonight, after the long-delayed Nationwide race in Dover. No one cares about a Phi Beta Kappa key or a doctorate at either one. Thank goodness.