Friday, December 05, 2008

Isn't NASCAR's awards ceremony long enough?

Let me get this straight. Somebody actually asked Kevin Costner to make his segment on NASCAR history during the Sprint Cup awards ceremony LONGER?

He said it, right there in front of Richard Petty and everybody. “They asked me to kill a couple of minutes here,” he said.

Of course, this was after he called Dale Earnhardt “The Terminator” during his review of the sport’s 60 seasons. I choose to believe that’s not because he doesn’t know that Earnhardt was called “The Intimidator,” but that he was having trouble reading the Telepromter.

Now I ask you, if Kevin Costner has trouble working with that thing, what kind of chance does Tony Stewart have in looking natural with it?

I have no problem with NASCAR acknowledging its history. It was refreshing, in fact, to see at least a couple of seconds of Tim Richmond’s image on the screen during Costner’s segment. But the only thing that the segment Friday night needed was a point.

I do have a couple of observations about the first hour of the broadcast that aired on ESPN Classic, too.

First, I think the director must have been overserved at the cocktail reception that precedes the banquet. At no point did he appear to have any idea what the viewer at home should be seeing. Once a cameraman on the floor shooting a crowd reaction shot got up and walked away from whoever he was shooting at the view from his camera was on the air the whole time.

Comedian John Pinette is a pretty funny guy, actually. But I am still scratching my head trying to figure out why the fact that the turnips his sister prepared for the Thanksgiving meal gave him gas has anything to do with racing. And with all due respect, the cleanliness of his colon is really not Jimmie Johnson’s concern.

Matchbox 20 or Matchbox Twenty or whatever was right in line with your typical NASCAR banquet choices. One of the great all-time moments in this event’s history came a few years ago when Joe Gibbs’ wife actually sat on stage with her fingers in her ears as a band called Third Eye Blind (or, as I call them now, Two Ears Deaf) played a few feet away.

NASCAR isn't announcing how much money each driver is getting from the points fund this year, which is precisely the opposite of what the focus of this event usually is. But with people having lost jobs in the sport and with teams either folding or merging about every day that didn't really surprise me. The idea of bragging about handing out $25 million at a dinner that probably cost $300 or so a plate probably wasn't the right tone for this night.

But I am not sure this was the right setting for NASCAR folks to lobby repeatedy on behalf of a bailout for the American auto industry, either. The industry's support for NASCAR is important, but the banquet isn't being aired on C-SPAN (although, if ESPN had its way, it might be next year).

It’s now 11 p.m. I am guessing the banquet is actually over, but ESPN Classic still has an hour and the top five drivers left to go. I have to watch to get a fresh quote from Johnson for my story for tomorrow’s paper. If I were actually in New York this would all be over. But then again, I ain’t exactly wearing a tuxedo here at home right now, either.


Anonymous said...

Thank husband has this on television, and for the life of me, I wonder why anyone would want to watch this mess. OMG! That comedian was about as funny as a hemorhhoid, the Sprint Cup girls were a joke, I got up to go clean the bathroom. I think I got the better end of the deal. ZZZZZzzzzz.

Anonymous said...

Racing banquets are all about marketing and hyping. No wonder NASCAR is dwindling in popularity having this tax write off party only for the “ELITE” on their social list. Reminds you of a White House dinner where the snobs are feeding their egos.
Award shows are the perfect examples of “LIPSTICK ON PIGS”. Participants are flaunting their exaggerated personas as a two-hundred pound schoolgirl wearing a strapless gown arriving at the prom.
NASCAR’s award banquets are NOT necessary. They had a hullabaloo at the end of the Homestead races. At the first race of the following season have a brief ceremony at the start/finish line crowning the reigning champions and give him the #1 number to use while he is champion. Anything else is embellishment.

Anonymous said...

Someone should have thrown the caution flag the second the Awards banquet came on. Who, what, why, did they pick that comdeian? He was as funny as a toothache. Then for their token Hollywood touch, poor Kevin can't even get Earnhardts nickname "The Intimidator" right...geesh. I can see why Edwards skipped out after his speech. I watched for 1 reason, and that was to see who won the MPD award. I should have turned it as soon as they showed Dale Jr.s picture receiving the award. I do regret missing one of Nascars finest, Cale. I had had enough and HAD to turn the TV off.
If that can be called music, it was horrible. The voice of the woman announcing the drivers, etc. was like fingernails on chalkboard.
I hope France & Helton handed that so called funny guy fines for a couple of words he used. They are sure fast on the trigger when one of the drivers say those at a race.
You can bet next year. I will wait till the next day to see who won what. No more Banquets for me.

Anonymous said...

Considering how many 100's of people who make 40 to 90 thousand dollars a year lost their jobs this year because of NASCAR I think Jimmys millions are irrelivent. Sadly teams will realize this when the safety of these cars are compromised with the quality of equipment that will be on the track this year. Why don't the millionaire drivers give up a million or two of their salary so the people that keep them safe can feed their families?

Anonymous said...

For God's sake, David, stop bitching!

I'm is what it is, and it ain't what it used to be.

As for John Pinette......this is the first time I've seen the audience actually LAUGHING and ENJOYING THEIR entertainment --- it is not, after all, for the fans; it's for the people that are attending. Why do THEY want to listen to jokes about each other?

For once, though it was much too long, the banquet was not a complete least not to those I watched it with.


Anonymous said...

I didn't even realize it was on, thank goodness. I think next year it might be more appropriately held in the local fire-hall in Mooresville.

Who cares anymore?

Anonymous said...

IMO Matchbox Twenty is the best entertainment they've had at the banquet for years.

Don't know why you chose Tony Stewart in reference to the prompter. He's one of the few who doesn't normally use it.

But it was painful to watch Happy Harvick and Clint Bowyer.

I agree with you on the Costner deal, boring.

Anonymous said...

If you just want to see the drivers' speeches, they are all on

Like has been said, the banquet is for the drivers/owners/sponsors and are not for the public. The public does not have to watch.Some of us like that we get to peek at what they are doing.

It looked like they were having fun. Jeff Burton and Jeff Gordon were my favorites.

Anonymous said...

PLEASE, for once, listen to Bruton and move the event to VEGAS. It should be for the fans, not the "fat cats."

Anonymous said...

anon@12 says to have it in Las Vegas for the fans. Which fans are you talking about? I live in Chicago and cannot go, my sister lives in NC and couln't go, my in-laws live in Florida and couln't go.

People need to get over it. This was Jimmie's party and he loved having it in NYC.

Anonymous said...

"But then again, I ain’t exactly wearing a tuxedo here at home right now, either."


Anonymous said...

Their is no elaborate banquet dinner awards ceremony for the Super Bowl champs and the playoff teams is there? I believe NASCAR should take a page out of the NFL's playbook and win or go home. Carl Edwards put it best when he talked about how their really is no point in celebrating finishing second. Party in to the night at Homestead, then leave the viewers salivating for the Daytona 500 in February.

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

OK, First nascar does not need to have the banquet in NYC, in the 80's, i can understand, lets have it in Charlotte, that way the entire teams,families,fans,etc can enjoy,fill the arena with 20,000. I'll bet the boys would love to stay in their home area after crisscrossing the country for 11 months, get rid of the tuxedos,if you are going to try to Hollywood it up with guest speakers, find ones who are actually fans and know the sport. Throw the teleprompters in the trash and let the drivers speak from the heart. ATTENTION nascar, you have lost some of the die-hard fans who along with the drivers propelled the sport for decades with the PC order in place now. Does anyone remember Barney Hall's remark when asked if he was nervous during a champions ceremony presentation in the eighties? His response, As nervous as a queer at a weenie roast! Wonder what the nascar penalty for that would be now? JTY

Anonymous said...

The banquet is for the Championship team (Driver, owner, team, sponsor) and for the other top drivers/owners/sponsors. Yes it's broadcast but I don't know that they expect all fans to watch or to watch the whole thing. I'd guess they figure winning team members who don't go to NY may watch if they want to and the fans of the top teams watch to see their driver give a speech. Beyond that I don't think NASCAR powers that be are naive enough to think others watch it. It is what it is. Leave it to the top teams, drivers, owners, NASCAR, sponsors etc. to decide where they want it held. If they want NY let it be NY.
As for this particular banquet and it's entertainment. Pinnette was a huge improvement over the last couple years. At least he's funny and he kept to what he is known to be funny for. He didn't try to make jokes about NASCAR or the drivers not knowing what he was talking about. Those in attendance that the camera panned were laughing at least.
Matchbox Twenty did a great job. I'm sure it was probably horribly loud for those sitting on stage and up front however in that type of setting I don't think there is any getting away from that. They certainly were better than the horrible "will it ever end please" singer from last year.
Hopefully Costner's gaffe was just because of the prompter. I'm sure all that retro and his drawn out deal had to do as much with promoting the show about NASCAR coming on on CMT on the 13th that he is narrating as anything. I enjoyed the look back at NASCAR's history and Richard but Costner's and Mrs. France's parts were a bit disjointed. Cale brought the history to the fore and by presenting to Jimmie bridged the generation gap in NASCAR better than anything else in my opinion.

As banquets go this was a pretty good one. All banquets/awards ceremonies are long and at times boring. Nature of the beast.

Anonymous said...

HATERS. I was there. It was awesome. You are just mad you couldn't be there. Get over it. Nascar is moving on to the 21st Century...get on board or get on with it.

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