June 1, 2010 in Sports

Gentlemen, park your race cars!

Norman Chad
 

On Sunday, they ran the Coca-Cola 600 and the Indianapolis 500. That’s about 1,100 unnecessary miles of tire treads wearing thin.

My friends, auto racing is a road to nowhere.

NASCAR is so last century.

Ten years into a new millennium, it’s time to put the exhaust pipes into an antique shop. It’s time we engage in a new age of enlightenment, recognize auto racing as obsolete and end the around-the-oval madness.

At the risk of being tossed out of the sports fraternity – Who am I kidding? I was tossed out years ago; why do you think I sit at home alone watching the passing parade? – let me suggest that, rather than continuing to be obsessed with “higher, faster, stronger,” we set our sights on smarter, kinder, better.

(I often look back on thriving ancient civilizations as a guidepost to proper living. And in 4th century B.C. China, you never heard, “Gentlemen, start your rickshaws.”)

NASCAR has the carbon footprint of a brontosaurus.

This whole business of maintaining an industry on wasteful, reckless behavior – we’re talking technology not to build a better mousetrap but to simply create a faster race car – should be tossed into the junkyard.

(I realize some of you are saying, “You think auto racing is irrelevant? Aren’t you the guy who broadcasts poker on TV?” Gosh, I hate when people say poker that way. Granted, poker is not helping solve the world’s problems, but it isn’t creating a hole in the ozone layer and it keeps college kids from studying too much.)

This year, NASCAR decided to let its drivers race even more roughhouse to give fans more bang – and banging – for their buck. Robin Pemberton, NASCAR’s vice president of competition, said they wanted to put racing “back in the hands of the drivers, and we will say, ‘Boys, have at it.’ ”

Boys, have at it?

That’s like the National Rifle Association asking gun owners to be a little more trigger-happy.

Surely, the unruly behavior on the track translates to more aggressive driving on the roads. We’re an imitative culture. Heck, if Danica Patrick started applying makeup on Turn 4 at the Indianapolis Motor Speedway on Sunday, there’d be a Revlon revolution on our interstates by Monday.

But the road rage NASCAR encourages is not nearly as indicting as the damage NASCAR wreaks on the planet.

If the Exxon Valdez was an environmental assassin, auto racing’s a serial killer.

Forget “Drill Baby Drill.” How about “Still Baby Still”?

Auto racing wastes hundreds of thousands of gallons of precious fossil fuel and adds tons of carbon dioxide to the atmosphere, contributing to global warming.

(Yeah, I know – global warming doesn’t exist. Then why do I wake up in a cold sweat every night in the dead of winter?)

And what do thousands of fans drive to a NASCAR race? Gas-thirsty RVs. This is like eating hot dogs before a hot dog-eating contest.

NASCAR cars average about 5 mpg. Even an armored Humvee gets 8 on the highways.

(To really waste fuel, why don’t we race airplanes?)

In 1974, the Daytona 500 was actually the Daytona 450 – NASCAR cut its races that year by 10 percent in response to the energy crisis. But that was a public-relations gesture rather than a substantive solution.

It’s time to put it in park.

In the interest of the greening of America, we should replace stock car races with three-legged races.

This kills two sparkplugs with one stone: It’s better for the environment and it’s better for physical fitness.

Besides, I think everyone should walk to work.

Ask The Slouch

Q. If they get bad weather for the New York-New Jersey Super Bowl, will this be the end of the world as we know it? (David Henderson; Columbia, S.C.)

A. Actually, Mel Kiper Jr. already has released his preliminary forecast for the 2014 Super Bowl: High of 38 degrees, 20 percent chance of snow.

Q. Did you see Venus Williams’s semi-see- through, burlesque-and- bedroom-eyes dress at the French Open? Where do they draw the line these days? (Stan J. Reisler; Chicago)

A. I wore that exact same outfit to Ethan Shapiro’s Bar Mitzvah last year and no one said a word.

Q. Are you rooting for the Lakers or the Celtics? (Brian Wells; Dublin, Ohio)

A. The last time I rooted for the Celtics, they were trying to hold off the Saxon invasion.

Q. I noticed that MLB scheduled both the Nationals and the Orioles to be on the road Memorial Day weekend. Didn’t that leave a few hundred people in the Washington-Baltimore area with nothing to do? (Steve Shedlin; North Potomac, Md.)

A. D.C. United was at home.

Q. Ancient Roman leaders used to frequently change the length of a calendar year to accommodate the needs of their empire. Should Congress be given the power to lengthen our calendar year, so as to accommodate the NBA and NHL playoff schedules? (Tom Gilson; Lomira, Wis.)

A. Pay the man, Shirley.

Norman Chad is a syndicated columnist. You, too, can enter his $1.25 Ask The Slouch Cash Giveaway. Just e-mail asktheslouch@aol.com and, if your question is used, you win $1.25 in cash!


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