Thursday, April 27, 2006

More Hot Air From The Autoextremists

Well, it looks like we've ticked another one off.

Regular listeners to “Sirius Speedway” will recall last week’s interview with Peter DeLorenzo of autoextremist.com, who claimed to have insider knowledge of a plan by one of Detroit’s “big three” automakers to pull out of NASCAR. I lobbed a few questions at Mr. DeLorenzo – most of which went thoroughly unanswered – and pointed out a few gaping holes in his reasoning, in what I thought was a mutually respectful dialogue between two people with radically divergent views.

Apparently, Mr. DeLorenzo disagreed.

Rather than call me out in person, however, he had his buddy (and fellow autoextremist.com writer) Dr. Bud E. Bryan do it for him. In a column posted today under the heading, “NASCAR Nation? No Thanks,” the self-described “bit of a loose cannon” tells how his hero and mentor “acquiesced to an interview on NASCAR's official radio network -- on MRN Radio's Sirius Speedway show -- in which the `host’ treated him in a condescending tone, like he was guilty of blasphemy or even high treason, his crimes against the NASCAR Empire were so blatant and unforgivable.”

For the record, Doctor, Mr. DeLorenzo didn’t “acquiesce.” He literally jumped at the chance to talk about himself, and his website. And the host never condescended. He merely pointed out a few of the flaws in your pal’s ridiculously flawed logic.

The Good Doctor writes, “Peter did his best not to just cut the interview off, deeming it afterwards as a monumental waste of his time (which it was), but I don't have to be that cordial.” He then embarks on a monumental rant against all things NASCAR, calling the sanctioning body “a flat-out fraud.” In his words, “the people who count themselves as `fans’ of NASCAR ‘racing’ have been duped and sold a bill of goods. NASCAR has devolved… into a fabricated, synthesized and sanitized marketing `vehicle’ that exists solely for the edification and the profitability of the France family and its legions of enablers (aka the corporate sponsors) and the equally subservient TV networks.”

Bryan was apparently unable to come up with an opinion of his own on that count, choosing instead to parrot DeLorenzo’s original column, virtually word for word. But I digress.

Dr. Bryan scolded your humble host for being intolerant of other forms of racing, saying, “if one has the temerity to even question anything about NASCAR they are immediately vilified and branded an undesirable - or worse. What is that about, anyway? People aren't supposed to like or prefer any other forms of racing? We are only allowed to like NASCAR in this country and if we don't we're what - un-American? Unf---ing believable.”

For the record, Doc, we cover a wide array of motorsports on “Sirius Speedway;” NASCAR, IRL, Champ Car, Formula One, Grand Am, American Lemans, NHRA, Sprint Cars and Midgets, to name just a few. Many of our listeners credit us with opening their eyes to other (non-NASCAR) forms of racing for the first time in their lives. If you had listened to the show – just once – you might have picked up on that. But you were too busy defending a man who proved woefully incapable of defending himself.

Dr. Bryan proudly admits watching just four NASCAR races each year: the Daytona 500, Sears Point, Watkins Glen and the night race at Bristol. Other than that, he says, “I couldn't care less. NASCAR is tedious, repetitive, homogenized, predictable and ridiculous.”

And this guy criticized ME for being narrow-minded? Sheesh.

Bryan writes, “I would hope that all of the Detroit manufacturers would show some cojones and say, `You know, come to think of it, this makes absolutely no sense to us at all.’" Riiiiight. Let’s bail out of NASCAR. The same NASCAR that draws more TV viewers on most Sunday afternoons than all other forms of televised motorsports, combined.

“NASCAR is about marketing and money,” he writes, “and if the denizens of NASCAR Nation want to delude themselves into thinking otherwise, be my guest. But I for one am mad as hell, and I'm not gonna take it one minute longer - and I know there are hundreds of thousands of people out there just like me.”

You’re right, Dr. Bryan, there are. Hundreds of thousands of people, who regularly join forces to boost the combined IRL and Champ Car ratings to a whopping a 0.9, or less. Compare that to the millions of people that turn out (and turn on) every weekend to get their weekly NASCAR fix, and I'd say you're a bit more outnumbered than you think. But don't sweat it, General Custer. These Indians are unarmed.

I love IRL and Champ Car. In fact, I've yet to find a form of motor racing that I'm NOT interested in. From Formula One to Swamp Buggy racing, if it's on the tube, I'll watch it. And unlike Dr. Bud. E Bryan, I'm absolutely not interested in calling my fellow fans a group of mindless sheep.

Here’s the bottom line on this whole discussion, as I see it. Peter DeLorenzo made his ill-conceived and inaccurate comments last week with one goal in mind; to draw a little heat to his website. On that count, he got his wish. But in the ultimate case of "Be Careful What You Wish For..." he also stirred up a hornet's nest of high-level denials from GM, Ford and Daimler-Chrysler, all of whom labeled his unsubstantiated, unsupportable allegations – in no uncertain terms -- a load of manure.

Dr. Bryan, you’re just more of the same.

5 comments:

  1. WOW!!! Did this ever quickly turn into a high-brow flamefest.

    I thought the orginal debate point was whether one or more of the big 3 was getting ready for a NASCAR pullout. On just that point, many so called experts agree, including Ed Hinton, who is one of the most highly regarded beat writers around. He's saying in 2010 Toyota will get serious about it's program and stop messing around with the Bill Davis's and Michael Waltrips of the world.

    I think when you are losing as much money as GM & Ford are, everything is subject to re-evaluation.

    Win on Sunday, Sell on Monday doesn't hold water anymore (if it ever did). Toyota proved that by being the best selling car in the US without ever turning a lap in NASCAR. I don't think the factories are any less happy with the COT, than the common templates used today. Brand recognition is a thing of the past, and it isn't coming back any time soon, if at all. There is a reason why NASCAR requires grill & light decals on all the cars - it's the only way to tell them apart. COT does nothing to change that - for better or worst.

    I think a couple of things will happen as a result of Toyota coming into NASCAR:
    1. The cost to field a top notch team will grow considerably.
    2. One or more factories currently in the series will leave.
    3. Honda will come in at some point.
    4. The NASCAR Cup series will move much closer to a spec series (with the COT being a large step in that direction).

    The people who are currently saying their employeer doesn't plan to pull out of NASCAR, aren't the ones who make that decision in the first place. That will be made in a board room somewhere and they will be informed after the fact.

    Do you really think the factories are playing honest here? They don't even admit to considering the idea of a pull out. Issuing a pr release saying you might like to see the Busch series go to pony cars isn't exactly the same as picking up the tab for wind tunnel tests.

    Time will tell, as it always does.

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  2. Andy, how do you translate, "in 2010 Toyota will get serious about it's program and stop messing around with the Bill Davis's and Michael Waltrips of the world," into "one of the Big Three is preparing to pull out of NASCAR?"

    That's a hell of a leap.

    If you think the COT is a spec car - or even a step in that direction -- you're simply not paying attention to the available facts. I have laid them out for you here (and On the show) in the past, but apparently, you choose to disregard them. That's your choice, of course.

    As far as "Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday" is concerned, the fact that Toyota built the #1 selling car in America without underwriting a NASCAR program does NOT mean that Ford, GM and Dodge don't sell cars through their involvement with racing. If "Win On Sunday, Sell On Monday" was the fallacy you say it is, why is Toyota itself spending millions of dollars to get into NASCAR Nextel Cup racing?

    If you choose to ignore what the manufacturers are saying about their satisfaction with NASCAR, and the return they get on their investment, go right ahead. Jump onboard Peter DeLorenzo's "I don't care what the experts say, I know better" bandwagon. There's plenty of room it seems

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  3. Dave,

    Thanks to you and your crew for the only real and factual racing talk show.

    I see these two buffoons, Bevis (DeLorenzo) and ButtHead (Bryan) as just two more people who are extremely jealous of the popularity, both nationwide and continent wide, of NASCAR. They obviously are like the spoiled little kid who gets mad when his buddy gets a bigger and better toy for Christmas than he does so he tries to break it. I think they realize Formula One will never be big in America, especially after the Indy fiasco last year. And like you, I like both IRL and Champ Car, but they are struggling. So I think they see the continuing growth and popularity of NASCAR as unstoppable and they can't stand it.

    And if Bevis's accusation about one of the Big Three is correct, then why doesn't he snap on a pair of cojones and reveal who it is? Because if it is not true, than Bevis and ButtHead would be revealed as the real frauds.

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  4. Actually Ed Hinton is saying a pull out by at least one of the factories is one the horizon as well.

    I think he qualifies as a NASCAR expert.

    You claim the COT isn't moving toward a spec car. You gave us one or two measurements that are different per brand, tell us Dave, how many measurements are exactly the same regardless of the brand?

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  5. Again, Andy, you're missing the point. I have never said the COT (or the Car Of Today, for that matter) is identical to the showroom stock model it represents. Ray Charles can see that it's not. What I have said (repeatedly now) is that the COT has MORE points of similarity with a stock, showroom model than today's cars do. I don't know how much clearer I can make this for you.

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