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 (note new address) or on Twitter at @jaybusbee, we respond to your messages, everyone goes away with a smile on their face.
Dig this! It's our last non-racing week until Thanksgiving! So let's get rolling with some discussion of non-racing racing topics, shall we? Take it away, readers ...
If Daytona is going to get John Cena as the starter, why not go all in? Get Grave Digger as pace car. Let Newt, Mitt and Obama debate whether the halfway purse is really a government handout. Bigfoot can run out on the track with 10 laps left and cause the phantom "bunch the field" late race caution. Have Snooki and Kim Kardashian act as Sprint Cup Girls and get Larry the Cable Guy and Jeff Foxworthy to commentate the race. Heck, Let Maury Povich do postrace interviews with the Busch brothers, and Dr. Phil can interview the runner up.
Can't NASCAR stand on its own two feet? It already has to fight misguided stereotypes. Why add more?
— Brian Hay @hay_brian Orange County, Calif.
I get what you're saying here, but let's remember that the Super Bowl just featured an aging glamour icon as its centerpiece ... oh, and Madonna too, who made almost as many headlines as Tom Brady did. Point being: it's not about sports anymore, especially in these big-time events; it's about the spectacle. I don't have a problem with Cena being a part of the festivities, though I get that people want to distance NASCAR from the "fake wrestling" image. (Conspiracy theorists take note: which driver compared NASCAR to the WWE? The same one who just won the championship! They totally co-opted Tony Stewart!)
Now, I will say that I'm with you on the obvious pandering, like Snooki last year at Richmond. But as long as they don't start putting gimmicks behind the wheel, I'm good. (And ... cue the Danica Patrick haters!)
Sorry to say but I have always (since 1984) belonged to the group that did NOT love Dale Earnhardt. But since Dale Earnhardt Jr. started in Cup, he's seemed to be more his mother's son. A little softer around the edges, so to speak. He had the drive but none of the arrogant "get out of the way, I'm coming through" mentality. That being said, am I the only one to notice that he hasn't been the same since his concussion in Texas (which he covered up) and his flaming crash in the Corvette which he claimed to have had help from his Dad to escape? I do belong to Junior Nation but I'm just saying...
— Concerned Mary in Indiana
Take heart, Mary; I don't believe that Junior's wrecks have damaged him beyond repair. I've heard the "fiery Corvette wreck" story before, but that strikes me as more after-the-fact justification than cause-and-effect. What I think we're seeing is that Junior's "softness around the edges," which I don't mean as a criticism, may be part of the difference between him and a championship driver.
Still, check out video from the wreck, from 2004. Pay attention to what the cockpit looks like at about the 1:15 mark: