Tuesday, August 30, 2011
A Listener’s Guide To Sirius XM NASCAR Radio
In an effort to guide potentially befuddled fans through the morass, the humble host of four of those daily broadcast hours offers these helpful hints to navigating the satellite radio landscape. These tips are offered for entertainment purposes only, and resemblance to any individual -- living or dead -- is strictly coincidental.
When listening to Sirius XM NASCAR Radio, there are certain facts that simply must be accepted.
FACT: People say the same thing, over and over again.
“Mel from Muskegon” has a simple point to make; he doesn’t like the new NASCAR points system. Rather than simply stating his case and moving on, however, he insists on paraphrasing, repeating and restating that point until the average listener is ready to poke out his ear drums with a barbeque fork. If allowed to continue, “Mel” will repeat his assertion – with only slightly modified verbiage – until (A) the show ends, or (B) the host graciously thanks him for his insightful analysis and hits the “DROP” button, sending him back to caller purgatory.
Listeners also doggedly insist on repeating what others have said. Three minutes after “Ed from Oklahoma” delivers an impassioned expose’ on why Kyle Busch should be drawn, quartered and dragged through the village behind a mule for his blatant take-out of Elliott Sadler last week at Bristol Motor Speedway, “Todd from Illinois” will chime in to suggest that Kyle Busch be drawn, quartered and dragged through the village behind a mule for his blatant take-out of Elliott Sadler last week at Bristol Motor Speedway. This phenomenon occurs because NASCAR Nation is not a single, cohesive entity. It is, in fact, a series of parallel universes; each with its own space-time continuum and schedule of events. Sirius XM NASCAR Radio is the “worm hole” through which these universes collide; each with no conscious knowledge of the others.
In a related story, Kyle Busch is the five-time and defending champion of “Todd In Illinois’” universe, and is roundly criticized for being “too vanilla.” Dave Blaney is highly controversial and currently serving a sixth-month NASCAR probation for calling Mike Helton a doody head on national television.
Listeners are not entirely to blame for their tendency toward repetition. Truth be told, there hasn’t been anything really new in NASCAR since the early `70s. Kyle’s a loud-mouthed jerk today, just like Darrell Waltrip was back then. Think you’re sick of seeing Jimmie Johnson win? Talk to someone who lived through the 1967 season, when King Richard won 27 times in 49 starts, including 10 in a row.
Hosting a show on Sirius XM NASCAR Radio is akin to serving as the town proctologist. You’ve seen everything there is to see, and have little or no chance of stumbling across anything new, anytime soon.
“Gadzooks! Nurse, look at this! I’ve never seen anything like this!”
“Doctor, that’s a burrito.”
“Oh, right. Thanks very much.”
FACT: How you feel depends on who you like.
Most fans base their opinion of a race on one simple fact: how their favorite driver finished. In 2000, Jeff Burton led all 300 laps en route to Victory Lane in the “Dura Lube 300” at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. It was, without any possible debate, the single worst race in the history of motorsports, much less NASCAR. But to Jeff Burton fans, it was a hum-dinger. Great show. Loved every minute of it.
By contrast, a 77-lead change slugfest at Talladega can be the worst race EVER, if your driver dropped out early with a blown engine.
FACT: Everyone’s cheating, except my guy.
My driver is indisputably the greatest driver in NASCAR, and when he loses, it’s never his fault. His crew chief made a rotten strategy call that cost him track position, Goodyear stuck him with a crappy set of tires, his engine builder sold him a dog of a power plant that made him look like was tied to a stump all day, they ruined this race track when they paved it seven years ago and the guy who won the race was CHEATING! NASCAR turned a blind eye to his blatantly illegal car because he’s John Darby’s “Teacher’s Pet.”
And for the record, my guy’s going to whup `em all… next week.
FACT: Everyone has an inside source.
Drivers change teams. It’s a fact of life. And whenever a driver announces plans to move at the end of the season, the rumor mill explodes with speculation about who his new sponsor might be. In the search for “inside information,” any source will do, no matter how obscure it might be.
Host -- “Mike in Missouri, you’re on the air…”
Caller -- “My brother balances tractor tires at the Goodyear store in Poughkeepsie, NY, and his manager told him Goodyear’s going to sponsor Dale Earnhardt, Jr., next season. Don’t tell anyone you heard it from me, though, because I don’t want him to lose his job.”
Host -- “Greg in Alaska, welcome to the show…”
FACT: When in doubt, talk about track position.
“Track position” is NASCAR’s catch phrase for the new millennium. In the first 50 years of the sport, “track position” was an unknown quantity. We accepted the fact that the driver with the best track position at the end of the race won, every single time. We didn’t need to remind ourselves of that fact. It was obvious, a no-brainer.
Now, however, “track position” has become the end-all and beat-all of the sport; something to be gained at all costs and protected at all times. Lousy finishes are no longer attributable to poor handling, crappy strategy, or a driver who fell out of the seat with 50 laps to go, Track position is now exclusively to blame.
“We just weren’t able to get the track position we needed there at the end,” said Driver A. Well, no kidding! That’s almost certainly why you finished 23rd!
FACT: NASCAR is to blame.
In the world of talk radio, there is an endless supply of problems to be solved and issues to be rectified. There is, however, just one source of these myriad problems and issues: NASCAR.
Brian France and his Daytona Beach minions are to blame for everything that goes wrong with the sport, as well as a few things that haven’t gone wrong yet, but almost certainly will. They’re to blame for the traffic jam coming into the speedway. They’re to blame for high ticket prices, $6 bottles of water and lukewarm weenies at the concession stand. They’re responsible for the uncomfortable seat that chafed my wife’s tushy, and for the fact that my driver hasn’t won a race since the Eisenhower Administration. They’re to blame for having too many commercials in the TV broadcasts, and for the fact that the analyst doesn’t talk correctly and has funny looking hair. They’re to blame for this cockamamie points system that over-emphasizes the importance of winning, and the previous cockamamie points system that over-emphasized the importance of consistency. They’re to blame for those empty seats in the grandstands, and the crummy economy that produced them.
When in doubt, repeat after me: NASCAR is to blame.
FACT: Not all trolls live under bridges.
The most feared creature in all of talk radio is not the snake, the spider, the shark or the lion. It’s not even Godzilla! The most feared creature in all of talk radio is the troll. In radio terminology, a troll is a caller whose sole purpose in life is to get on the air and say something so provocative, so inflammatory, so downright obnoxious that people will talk about him for days and weeks to come. And sadly, it’s not that difficult to do.
Host -- “Louise in Louisiana, you’re on the air.”
Caller – “I think Dale Earnhardt, Jr., is an overrated hack who would be working at a 7-Eleven right now if it weren’t for his daddy. When is Rick Hendrick going to smarten up and start worrying about championships instead of T-shirt sales?”
Host -- “We’ll be right back, after I swallow this handful of sleeping pills.”
If your sole reason for living is to stir up a steaming load of crap, bypass the Sirius XM hotline and get yourself booked on the Jerry Springer Show. He LOVES that stuff!
FACT: If I don’t understand it, it doesn’t exist.
Clint Bowyer got busted for a rear body height violation in last year’s Chase at New Hampshire Motor Speedway. The violation amounted to less than 1/16th of an inch -- about the thickness of a nickel – prompting many fans to declare the infraction too miniscule to bother with. I’m not good with figures myself, and I understand the logic involved.
If I don’t understand it, I don’t want to hear about it.
FACT: Everyone speaks for everyone.
Callers to Sirius XM NASCAR Radio do not speak only for themselves. They speak for all of humanity. “Everyone they know” feels exactly the way they do. “Everyone they talk to” shares their opinion on every topic, and there is no need for anyone with an opposing point of view (flawed as they may be) to be heard.
There is only one acceptable opinion on this topic. Mine.
Thanks for listening! Tune in tomorrow.