Welcome to the latest Happy Hour mailbag! You know how these work: You write us with your best rant/ joke/one-liner at email@example.com or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.
So. Going to see "The Hunger Games" this weekend? All the kids are. You know the plot, right? Twenty-four kids are dumped in the wilderness and the last one left alive wins. Which, of course, brings up the question of NASCAR Hunger Games. I'll be doing a post on this later this week, but I'd like your thoughts: which driver do you think would best survive a NASCAR Hunger Games? Email your thoughts pronto.
Until then, enjoy a sampling of the bile and outrage that arrived in the wake of the overturning of the penalties against the 48 team:
Let's see: powerful boss who has been known to engage inshady practices to get his own way, a right-hand man willing to do whatever he has to so the boss can obtain his goals, and a naive young driver drawn to the dark side when the going gets tough. Sounds like a good movie plot. Oh wait, they made it already; it was called "The Godfather"! Too bad Marlon Brando died, or he would be great playing Rick Hendrick in the NASCAR version!
— Joyce Keith
Yeah, the highly controversial appeal decision overturning penalties against Chad Knaus and the rest of the 48 team dominated our letter column inbox this week. We're still processing all this, but the early sentiment (and the early tenor of the emails we've received) is that this does absolutely nothing to convince people of the 48 team's innocence ... even if, in fact, they are.
ESPN.com's Bill Simmons has pretty much killed the usage of "The Godfather" in any sports context, but I have to say, that's a solid comparison right there. And who's Fredo, the poor brother who tries so hard to impress his dad but can't win, no matter what? Three guesses, and the first two don't count.
Well, seeing as NASCAR has to eat crow with regards to the 48 team, will NASCAR be inspecting the 48 even harder from now on?
Oh yeah. Chad Knaus is going to be getting a penalty if he chews with his mouth open. It'll be very interesting to see how well the 48 runs now that it's going to be watched from every angle, even satellite.
Next, we have a comment on the first episode of "Pit Chatter," our new animated series. (Click here if you haven't seen it yet so you can get up to speed.)
Just goes to highlight the misogyny endemic in NASCAR. Can say "pulling a Johnson" when you are a guy, and it's fine to have grid girls and show girls like they had in Vegas. But a female driver wearing a swimsuit? Can't have that.
The piece is very amusing, but for heaven's sake, get better voice actors. The two were atrocious. You get better voice acting out of high school vids. And trust me, I have seen my share from my kids.
Hey, Dean, I agree with you. I thought the actors' performances were wooden and stilted. Almost as if they'd been done by computer. But someone else wanted to chime in with some thoughts on your commentary:
Well! That was rude. My apologies, Dean. We'll have a talk with our actors. Next episode coming later this week!
I like the Bristol driver intros, with each driver being introduced to a song of their choice. I can only hope that Bristol itself was introduced with "I Ain't As Good As I Once Was" by Toby Keith.
Even Infineon and Watkins Glen have provided more bent fenders and flared tempers than Bristol has over the past few years. Incredible.
— Patrick Jacques
In the wake of all the criticism it's taken for the racing on Sunday, I see Bristol sitting alone in Thunder Valley and playing one of those "I'm trying so hard to be defiant and uplifting but I really really need your approval" songs like Katy Perry's "Part of Me." I imagine that after this past weekend, Bristol spent a lot of time texting Martinsville and Darlington, trying to feel better about itself and worrying when they didn't text back immediately. ("Are they talking about me to Talladega?") Bristol didn't even bother with reaching out to Richmond. That bitch hasn't been the same since she got the Chase-deciding race. Thinking she's so much better than everyone else. You know how it goes.
With all the complaints about the amount of commercials during the race chat, I went to http://www.cawsnjaws.com/ and according to the data I collected from them, the average percentage of race broadcast that is commercials is 25.18% on Fox, 25.40% on TNT, and 20.46% on ESPN.
So anyone complaining about Fox and their commercials and wishing the other networks' coverage would start sooner should think again. TNT was actually a little worse than Fox last year and ESPN only marginally better.
Oh and Sunday's Bristol race? 22%.
— Nathan Caldwell
Look, here's the secret to why there are so many commercials. And I'll give it to you right after a few words from our sponsors. Subway sandwiches! They're delicious! And so healthy-
Oh ha ha we're so funny. Anyway, when you boil it down that way, it doesn't SEEM that bad. Only one-fourth of the broadcast devoted to commercials? That's right in line with regular TV programs, which feature eight minutes of commercials for every 22 minutes of content (or thereabouts). I think the problem is that the commercial breaks come exactly when cautions seem to hit. And that the commercials don't come at regular intervals; saving up tons of broadcast time for the finish means they have to cram more commercials in the first half of the race.
You didn't even read all that justification, did you? Commercials are all perception. And like death, taxes and Junior fans, they'll be with us forever. And hey, speaking of Junior fans...
Here's my Junior complaint for the week. While setting in the stands at Bristol wearing my Jeff Gordon gear I couldn't help but notice the delight of Junior fans everywhere when he made contact with Gordon and Gordon's day was finished. Junior fans were high-fiving and cheering and they were so thrilled. Would they be so forgiving if Gordon had made accidental contact with their almighty Junior? Probably not. So I had to do my part and scream "KARMA" over and over when Junior was black-flagged.
So would you agree that Junior doesn't bother most people as much as his fan base does? It's just like Tim Tebow. Tebow does nothing but play football but his fans make me not like him. Could you ask Junior fans not to be so annoying next time? I know, I know, that could never happen.
— Wes R
There are plenty of perfectly enjoyable things in life that are so tarnished by their supremely annoying fan bases — wine, alt-rock music, indie film, any sports team north of Baltimore — that you want to just avoid them altogether, and yes, I can see how Junior fans would fit into that dynamic.
So, yeah, Junior fans: chill out. We want to be happy for you when your guy wins, but you're going to be like Red Sox fans after they won the World Series: you'll burn through our goodwill before the night's out.
Two organizations put their whole rosters in the top 10 at Bristol. In fact, MWR put all 3 of its drivers in the top 5 while EGR's 2 drivers were 7th and 8th. Do you think either of these teams now have the strength to run at the front on a consistent basis with the power teams?
— John Davis
No. But on the plus side, they all received a stay of execution thanks to their outstanding performance this past weekend. And if they all joined together, they could make a gargantuan one-car superteam that would manage to finish third.
And on that note, we're out. Thanks to all our writers this week. You want in? Fire up the computer and hit us with whatever's on your mind, NASCAR-wise, at firstname.lastname@example.org. You can find Yahoo! Sports' NASCAR coverage on Facebook right here, and you can follow me on Twitter at @jaybusbee and on Facebook here. Make sure to tell us where you're from. We'll make you famous!