With the impending approach of the Daytona 500 and the official start to NASCAR’s season I have been watching and reading all the news reports coming out of the different teams/stables/garages, and the more I read, the more it felt like watching the opening act before a wrestling match at Wrestlemania.
I keep seeing the drivers walking down a long entry way, fireworks going off, loud music blaring, and the drivers dancing around like a prize fighters in firesuits, making their way down to their cars. As they walk by, the NASCAR Sprint Cup girls try and get a few words from them.
Monica Palumbo stands off to the side holding the mic and asks Kyle Busch ” How do you think things are going to go out there today Kyle? Are you driving a real car or just a toy today?” KyBu rips the mic from her hand and shows off his Zorro like cape he is wearing “Well Monica it goes like this, anyone who gets in my way is going into the wall, YOU HEAR THAT HORNADAY!?”
Monica politely responds “Hornaday raced on Friday night in his Truck Kyle, he’s not racing today.”
“I don’t care if he’s not racing, I’ll find him in the garage and PUT HIM IN THE WALL!” he says and stomps off towards his car readying himself for the battles in his head.
Next down the ramp is Kurt Busch, and before he even gets to the mic you can hear his profanity laced rant starting. “Is this gonna take long Monica, you know I f*&^@ng hate to wait. I’d call you a Mother F*%$@er too but we all know that can’t be the case. I had better win today or someone is going to get a f*&$#ng earful when I get back to the garage! So everybody better stay out of my way if they know what’s good for my crew chief’s life this time!!” And off he goes to his #51 Thank a Teacher car way in the back of the field.
Next out is Jimmie Johnson. His smiling good looks and bright blue Kobalt firesuit seem amiss amongst the boos and jeers he gets from the crowd. “And here comes our 5 time champion, Jimmie Johnson” announces Monica. “I don’t know why they boo me” says Jimmie “I am one of the good guys. The referee’s never call me on my questionable actions because I am good for the sport, I win a lot, and I NEVER break the rules…. that’s my crew chief’s job” he says with his trademark smile. ” I guess you can’t make everyone happy, so I’ll just go out and win another race just to make them hate me some more.”
Next out is Tony Stewart. Monica gets an extra special smile as she announces “Here he is, our current and reigning Champion TONY STEWART.”
The crowd gets on their feet, there is a dramatic pause before the music starts, and just when you think no one is coming out, the curtains part, the pyrotechnics go off, and a little guy with a big smile, and a wink comes walking down the ramp.
“So are you ready for another hot season Tony? Do you think you might get a win before the chase this year?” she asks.
“Well it’s like this Monica. I was the best before Jimmie and now I am the best after Jimmie, I have a new crew chief to blame things on if stuff goes wrong, and I am man enough to take all the credit when I win. My plan is to go out there and make my opponents tremble with my candid remarks and by telling them that I have an advantage over them, and then never telling anyone what that advantage is, gotta keep them on their toes you see. That should give me enough of an advantage to win today, I hope I don’t have to fire another crew chief if I win however.” he says with a final wave to the crowd as he walks off to his race car.
Carl Edwards enters next doing a series of tumbles and back flips down the ramp dancing around like a Lucho Libre and smiling his trademark 1000 watt smile. Ever the gentleman, he walks over to Monica and puts his arm around her waist as she begins her quick interview.
“So Carl, after being the second runner up twice in your career so far, how do you plan to get your championship this time?”
“Well Monica, as one of the good guys I will try not to break any rules, I will drive faster than everyone else, I’ll even turn left better than everyone else, and I will not let Tony Stewart intimidate me with his confusing talk about advantages. I will make sure that Brad Kesolowski and I tangle enough to keep the crowd happy, but not so much that his dad tries to beat me up after the race. Then I will finally get NASCAR to approve a nitrous boost on my car so that I can boost to the front after hanging around the back all day long and win every race from the tail end of the lead pack.”
The crowd goes wild as he finishes and waves his hands in the air, realizing too late that the crowd is cheering for Dale Earnhardt Jr who stands at the top of the ramp waiting for him to finish. He runs off to his car as Jr makes his way down the ramp to the tune “We Will Rock You” and crowd noise so loud that you can hear, and feel, it reverberating around the track.
Monica can barely be heard as she asks Dale Jr. “Jr it has been 126 races since you have found your way to the winners circle, what’s your plan to end your drought this year?”
Jr. stands quiet for a minute in thoughtful contemplation, “Well Monica, I am coming off a good year with some excellent momentum. I have a good relationship with my crew chief Stevie Baby, and we’re going to go out there with a new attitude and all the skill I have and we’re going to win us some races this year. Even if I have to start looking like one of the bad guys and get more aggressive out there, people will know I am coming up behind them, and maybe I’ll rattle a few cages this year like my daddy used to do. It’s going to be a whole new season for me and I am going to take it one race at a time, and of course I am going to win at Daytona this year.”
The crowd roars and stands on their feet as he walks away toward his car, waving to the crowd and surfing on the sound waves as they get even louder than before.
Monica faces the crowd once more with the brightest smile she can smile “So there you have it folks, our drivers have had their say and now they are preparing their cars to race… there only 2 things left to say “Drivers START YOUR ENGINES!! And lastly ARE YOU READY TO RUMBLE?!?!”