Saturday, January 24, 2009

Now this would be a bad sign ...

There was much talk this week during the NASCAR media tour about the issue of driver accessibility in NASCAR.

Some track owners expect drivers to do more with and for fans to make the ticket-buyer's experience more fruitful. Some drivers have volunteered to do anything they can (within reason, of course) to help in that regard, and NASCAR president Mike Helton said he's proud of the way the drivers make themselves available given the demands on their time.

Still, if you're Dale Earnhardt Jr. or Carl Edwards or Jimmie Johnson, you're never going to satisfy everybody. If you sign 500 autographs, the first person told it's too late to get in line is going to get mad.

But there's another perspective, too. It was offered by National Hot Rod Association Top Fuel champion Tony Schumacher. He was discussing how the NHRA lets fans into what amounts to a team's pit stall as cars are being worked on between rounds. Most drivers stand there and sign autographs during those times, and Schumacher has no problem with that.

The problem, he said, is when you don't have a line of people wanting you to sign.

“When I see a driver with no line, I think, ‘There's your option,'” Schumacher said. “You could suck.”


Anonymous said...

Good point Sent this to all my friends. Espcially the good looking women!

Anonymous said...

Perhaps every driver will pledge not to charge for autographs.


Elliott Sadler !!!!

That's a fellow who should pay people to want his autograph.

Mike Helton lives in the past.....

Anonymous said...

Not everything that works for Tony and the NHRA would work for Cup races. You don't have 100,000 fans at a drag race. I've been to them.

No pro sport allows fans to get that close to their athletes without tons of security. I've been to tennis, football, basketball, and NASCAR races. I see a lot of nuts out there, which look like they have had too much to drink. Besides, if they think it's okay to throw beer containers at Jeff, maybe they might want to knife him in person.

Nutty idea.

Just this week here in Chicago they have floated the idea of not allowing fans to high school basketball games because of all the violence.

You only neeed one to make a tragedy. Remember Monica Seles?

Anonymous said...


Anonymous said...

Stop hogging the covers, Spanky!

YAWN !!!!!

Monkeesfan said...

"When I see a driver with no line, I think 'There's your option.' You could suck."


That's the best line from a racer in some time.

Anonymous said...

Was he referring to Michael Waltrip. The only reason I would go stand in his line would be to see if he combed his hair that day.

Anonymous said...

Anonymous #2 -- who has 'charged' you for an autograph?

Being part of a program that charges for entry into it is not the driver 'charging' for his autograph --- even if he gets an appearance fee.

We've had opportunity to 'stare' at drivers, have them drive past us and almost run us over with their golf carts AND stand in line (for free) and get their autographs. At no time did I feel any of these people were obligated to do anything for me.

Yet, my son had a most awesome experience with Robby Gordon outside of Dover Downs a few years ago. And he also got to experience the kindness of Casey Mears when I messed up taking a picture for a young man with a cell phone (I had no clue how to operate it and it took quite some time to take the picture). Casey stood by patiently and chatted with that other young man. It made quite an impression on the people around us --- as we were only about 3 hours from race time.

They owe us nothing......


Anonymous said...

Chrissy is so right. Drivers owe us nothing. We don't always know what is going on with the team on any given day. Maybe there is pressure and a driver just has a lot on his mind. Maybe he just needs some down time.

Some are very generous with their track time. Jeff Gordon has granted over 500 Make A Wish requests from ill children. They come to the track with their family, get to interact with Jeff and the crew, and spend the day at the race.

I'd rather see a driver do that, than sign autographs.

Anonymous said...

Not all the Make A Wish kids can go to the track. Some are too ill and Jeff just visits them in the hospital.

Anonymous said...

What is sad is when you have an opportunity to meet your favorite driver, one on one, in a casual setting and he just leaves the room without a word and ignores you...Let's just say he isn't my favorite driver anymore.