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.