Should Race Fans Get the Black Flag?
By Terry Clinton
Its race time again and that means hot nights at the
track. It means action, engines, hot-dogs and beer.
It means seeing some faces and friends you might not
have seen since the last checkered flag of the season.
It also means battles return to the forefront as to
who is the best driver around.
On many race tracks around the nation drivers are seen
as invincible, immortal champions that brave the
harshest of forces to make an unforgettable name for
their selves. As fans we see them as the mirror of
the life we wish to lead and put them high above
ourselves in the ladder of life. Now, when someone
new comes along boasting of their higher immortal we
take a serious offense to this challenge of supremacy
and the race becomes a heated battle of insults and
I didn't first realize how bad it affected the sport
until this past weekend when NASCAR lost its greatest
champion Dale Earnhardt. In the weeks prior I visited
several message broads, and joined in many chat rooms
to find the same event everywhere. "Dale Earnhardt is
an over the hill loser, Jeff Gordon is the man." Or;
"Dale Earnhardt sucks and couldn't tie Dale Jarretts
shoes." Words or, etc., along that line. While all
three of these drivers maintain respect and
friendships off the track fans more than make up with
insults and constant bickering in the stands and
around the nation.
Has it gotten out of hand, I think maybe it has.
Discussions usually consist of facts and figures to
back up claims to supremacy, fights consist of name
calling and angry words. I'm baffled by the way we
can support fairness and completion in on track
action but can't carry the same attitude on a message
board. The inconstancy in fan attitude really hurts
the overall spirit of the sport we call America auto
racing. It seems to me that the sport is better
appreciated by its competitors than its fans.
In disaster do we see the real nature of some of these
twisted individuals. Statements like, "You may like
him or you may hate him, but you never would want him
to die, he made this sport what it is." These words
can come from the same person that two days ago
said, "He is so bad I wouldn't let my dog crap on his
At the track we heard several times of fans of
different local drivers getting into scuffles over the
results of on track incidents. At first I thought
that the officials should do a better job at control
behavior on the track but now I have come to the
conclusion that the "Barbaric" attitude is born and
bread in the stands. Penalty to the fans-which is
what makes racing so popular-show more class and lets
prove why racing is America's biggest sport. Lets
leave the brain dead arguing on the football field and
show America why the class of society-the working
man/woman are race fans.
Here's to a safe and competitive 2001 racing season.
I hope that the arguments of 2000 are left in the past
and that the real battles are the passing on the
racetrack. Written for the fans in remembrance of the
Drivers that made us fans.
Rest in Peace "Intimidator." Your legend will never
die and you will never, ever be forgotten. #3 lives
with the rest of the ASPHALT ANGELS. Good-bye Dale
by Clinton Terry
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