My Thoughts On A Few Things

By David G. Firestone

Got a couple things this week. Let’s get the elephant in the room out of the way first. Last Sunday, Brian France was arrested for DUI while driving under the influence of alcohol and painkillers. He has since taken a leave of absence from NASCAR due to this issue. This has apparently been an issue with France for some time, and now there are rumors that he might leave the sport, either willingly or otherwise.

What amazes me is that people are defending France. I’m not going to say a specific name, but one individual said “we all have skeletons in our closet.” You’re right, I do have skeletons in my closet. But I’m not driving under the influence. I’m also not addicted to alcohol or painkillers. I’m also not the top individual at the biggest racing sanctioning body in North America. My skeletons aren’t on the same level as Brian France.

There is another part to this. Brian France has made a lot of bad moves and decisions over the years, and the sport has suffered as a result. It’s been time for him to go for a while. Television ratings and race attendance have fallen steadily over the last few years. The sport hasn’t advanced that much. While marketing has been improved somewhat, it’s not where it needs to be. The bottom line is that the man who’s inaction is responsible for this decline has temporarily left the sport. I hope he doesn’t return, and the sport can recover. Call me a jerk, but most NASCAR fans agree with me.

Toyota and Ford have both debuted new cars for 2019. The Mustang will replace the Fusion in 2019 in the Cup Series, and in the Xfinity Series, the Supra will replace the Camry. This is no real shock. The Camry has been seen as the bland cousin of the Mustang and Camaro in the Xfinity Series. This new car will bring more eyes on Toyota. The Mustang in the Cup Series is a good move, since it works with the theme. Hopefully we’ll see the Supra in the Cup series soon.

The last issue I want to discuss is based on an opinion column I read on CNN entitled “A woman’s lament: Please don’t grow an effing beard.” It’s a woman talking about why she doesn’t like men with beards. She comes across as a vain, self-centered narcissist, who thinks she will convince men to shave their beards, or not grow one at all after reading this. What guys should do after reading this is laugh at her.

I will not address her by her real name, but I’ll call her Lorelei Lee. If you have seen the musical or movie Gentlemen Prefer Blondes you will get the reference instantly. Miss Lee doesn’t like beards. I won’t get to the reason why just yet. If you want to pour yourself a drink, now would be a good time.

Ok, so the article starts off by Lorelei stating that Gillette is facing a financial crisis because men aren’t shaving as much. She then sympathies with Gillette, and then proceeds to write the following: “By and large, and there are exceptions, I am not keen on beards. I am well aware that after this admission, many people may become substantially less keen on me, and I totally understand. I am happy to own my hypocrisy. If a dude (or anyone) criticized my hairstyle, I’d say it was none of their damn business. I fully appreciate that my opinions on this, like an optimistic teen’s cack-handed five o’clock shadow, are flimsy and borne of limited experience. Disclaimer done, let the alienation begin in earnest.”

That should prove who Lorelei Lee really is. She has no problem lecturing guys on growing beards, but don’t you dare criticize her looks. She also admits she has no problem being a hypocrite. With admissions like that, why should you read any further? Well things get crazier from there.

She then discusses the stages of beard growth. It starts with one of her “friends,” who I think aren’t real, or males who associate with her, because they have no other choice but to. When these “friends” say they are going to grow a beard, supposedly, “In every instance, I respond with sensitivity (mine): “Please don’t grow an effing beard.” Which is such a great line that she thought it should be the title.

Then Lorelei offers up this little gem: “The second is the Ignoring Me — sorry, the Growth phase.” Let me explain something here, not to just Lorelei Lee, but to most women in general: Unless we are sleeping with you, we don’t care what you think about our appearance. Every stage in the beard growth stages is the Ignoring You stage.

She then adds “The third stage is the It’s For A Movie phase. Because that is how anyone with taste would explain away the mess gradually obscuring any indication of bone structure beneath.” What that means is left to interpretation, as she doesn’t add any more than that before moving on.

The fourth stage is when the guys are happy and she admits defeat. This battle was one sided, She had no business starting said battle. She wasn’t going to win regardless, but she is humble enough to admit defeat. Let’s give her a hand!

Lorelei then proceeds to try to explain why beards have come back in style. Apparently she Googled “Why are beards popular?” and just started writing the results as factual information. She then tries and fails to make it seem as though men a growing beards as a way of showing dominance over each other. If you are going to try to make that connection, at least make it work.

Her next line is “In lieu of any more academic research of my own, I asked an incredibly biased, nonrepresentative group of men (my friends) why they like their beards.” First off, Googling a topic, and then linking an article that helps prove your point is not what I would call “ academic research.” Second, are these are the same group of “friends” who you referenced earlier? The same group of “friends” who justifiably ignored you when you asked them not to grow beards? If so…why do they hang out with you? You aren’t a major part of their lives to begin with, and I can’t imagine them enjoying your constant beard-bashing.

The two reasons she got by those who responded to her questioning, were “I look really young without a beard.” and “because I can.” When it comes to the first response, she tries to make it seem as though men want to look “established” when in reality, a lot of men don’t really like how being clean shaven makes them look, especially me. For “because I can” she offers up this:

“As a deeply self-indulgent person, I find this difficult to argue. I get the gratification that must arise from seeing your body comfortably execute something it was (says through gritted teeth) built to do. The path of least resistance is tempting on rushed mornings before work, and if a lot of guys would rather steal a few minutes more in bed in the morning than shave, I’d struggle to find a compelling counterpoint.”

You don’t need to remind us that you are deeply self-indulgent, that’s been the premise of this whole column. Second, nothing you have said has a “compelling counterpoint.” This column is just word after word of a selfish narcissist wondering why the men of the world won’t comply with her standards of attractiveness. At the tail end, she finally reveals why she doesn’t like beards, and her reasoning is pretty much what you would expect: “But realistically, the answer is more superficial: I don’t like your beard because I really like your face, and I want an uninterrupted view of it.”

Wait…what? “I really like your face, and I want an uninterrupted view of it.” What the fuck does that even mean? It’s a beard, not a balaclava! After a column of hypocrisy, self-centered whining, dubious research, and a premise that was questionable to begin with, “I really like your face, and I want an uninterrupted view of it” is the best reason she could come up with for why the men of the world shouldn’t grow beards.

I could understand her hatred of beards if she had a bad experience with a man with a beard. I could even understand if she pointed out that beards can be unhygienic. Her “reason” for hating beards is just as flimsy as her arguments against beards. What scares me is that she genuinely thinks that men are going to be swayed by this. Like there is a guy who is on the fence about growing a beard, and this is what pushes him off the edge. Every man who read this is either laughing, or is mocking her, or both. I really hope I never hear from Lorelei Lee on the subject of beards again.

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My Thoughts On Selfish Stupidity

By David G. Firestone

In the immortal words of legendary writer Mark Twain: It is better to keep your mouth closed and let people think you are a fool than to open it and remove all doubt. Some people just can’t get that message though, and last weekend, there were a couple of them who were so amazingly great at proving they are fools, that I have to discuss them.

I’ll start with Terrell Owens first. The Pro Football Hall Of Fame Induction Ceremony was last weekend. Of the six players inducted, only five were at the ceremony. Terrell Owens skipped the ceremony. He skipped the ceremony because he was upset that he wasn’t a first ballot entry to the Hall of Fame. He blames anyone and everyone for this “snub.” He claims the induction system is flawed. He said of the selection committee: “In terms of the criteria, the bylaws and what it takes for a guy to get in — when it came to me, other things came into play and for me, that doesn’t bode well for me.”

Yes Terrell, the selection committee has was wrong for not voting you in. It’s their fault. It’s not the fact that you were well-known as a terrible teammate. It’s not that you had to get attention at every opportunity. It’s not that you spit in DeAngelo Hall’s face, or overdosed on Hydrocodone. It’s that the Pro Football Hall of Fame should have just ignores everything I just wrote and more and should have made you a first ballot inductee. I’m sorry the rest of the world doesn’t see you in the way you see yourself. You are also upset about how the media treated you during your career. To borrow a quote from Jim Cornette: “If you don’t want people to think you are stupid, don’t do or say stupid shit.”

I think it’s also telling that he skipped for a selfish reason. He didn’t skip because he was protesting injustice in America. He didn’t skip to be at the side of a dying relative. He didn’t skip because he was in a hospital himself. He skipped because he is a selfish narcissist, who only cares about himself. In skipping for a stupid reason, he proved his critics correct.

The other fool I will discuss is Chris Bucchere. Many of you might not have heard of him, but he is very deserving to be discussed here. Chris Bucchere is a software developer from San Francisco, who loves to ride his bike. On March 29, 2012, Bucchere was riding his bike through San Francisco, and sped through stop signs, and ran a red light. He accidentally hit 71-year-old Sutchi Hui, killing him. He was tried as a felon, but was only given 1,000 hours of community service.

The light sentence should be enough to make anyone mad, but Bucchere just had to make himself look even worse. After the accident, while Hui was still alive, he wrote a self-serving blog where he said he was “way too committed to stop” at the intersection. He then dedicated the post to “late helmet (that) died in heroic fashion.”

If that isn’t enough, he is working with Medium.com where he is doing a 10 part blog post about what happened. In an article with sfgate.com he blames the district attorney for his felony conviction, stating “It was a TV felony.” and that San Francisco District Attorney George Gascón was “advancing his political career.” He tries to make it seem like he feels bad for Hui and his family, and maybe he does. But he certainly has a self-serving way of showing it.

Bucchere is the singular person responsible for what happened. Bucchere ran through stop signs. Bucchere ran a red light. Bucchere hit Hui, and killed him. How is prosecuting Bucchere anything except just in this case? How is Bucchere the victim of anything but his own actions? If Bucchere wants to blame someone for his woes…all he needs to do is look in the mirror. Hui’s blood will always be on Bucchere’s hands, and if Bucchere doesn’t like it…oh well.

My Thoughts On Some News Stories

By David G. Firestone

I’ve been on vacation for the whole of July. I’ll discuss it on Friday. Today, I want to discuss some racing news that has been going on during the month of July.

For the first time since 2004, IndyCar will be returning to WeatherTech Raceway Laguna Seca in 2019. I’m kind of shocked it took them this long to return there. There are a lot of tracks currently on the circuit that aren’t working, and they should have never left Laguna Seca. On that note, I’d like to see something like the Winston Million, but in IndyCar. If a driver wins 3 of the four races at Laguna Seca, Indianapolis, St. Petersberg, and Long Beach, they get a big bonus. This could be used to generate competition, and interest, since IndyCar needs both.

In the NHRA, Matt Hagan debuted the new Dodge Hellcat SRT body. I was wondering why Dodge would come out with a new body, since the current DSR Dodge body isn’t that old. Here is what Matt said about the new body:“We improved on the body design. It was already a great design, a great body. But now, we’re going to have a little more downforce, a little more traction on these racetracks, and it will be a huge performance advantage. We will be able to press harder, with more downforce on the nose, which translates into huge amounts of downforce on the run.” So this new body makes sense on paper. Yet Hagan didn’t make it past the first round in the two races he first ran in. I’m not seeing the advantage here,

Now on to Formula 1. It was announced that there would not be a Miami Grand Prix in 2019, so the focus is going to be having one in 2020. I don’t get this move at all. Why is Formula 1, which doesn’t have anywhere near the fan base in America than they do internationally, focused on holding TWO different events in the US? If you are going to hold a second race in a country, I have some suggestions on which country where it could be held: Italy, England, Germany, Australia, or Mexico. Pretty much any country could hold a second event, and I think that these countries would love to hold a second race. I’m not saying that F1 isn’t a box office draw in the States, I’m saying it would be a bigger box office draw in a country with a much larger fan base.

Finally on to NASCAR. The rumors are true, the Toyota Supra will become Toyota’s entry in the NASCAR Xfinity Series. I think it’s a great design, it’s a step up from the Camry, and it’s a better fit for the series. The question now becomes, will the Supra make its way to both the Cup Series, and the NHRA Mello Yello Drag Racing Series? I see the Supra in the Cup Series soon, but when it comes to the NHRA, the jury is still out. Toyota teams in the NHRA has just gotten new bodies last year, and I fail to see how this could improve.

That does it, I’ll be back on Friday with my vacation story.

My Thoughts On Vacation

By David G. Firestone

Starting next week, I am taking my yearly summer sabbatical. Every year, I take the entire month of July off, because I want a chance to enjoy Chicago in the summer. There will be videos, Throwback Thursdays, and Friday Features, but I won’t update the Tracker, the Grades, or My Thoughts On. I have been waiting for this for the entire year, an entire month, where I’m not spending my days at my real job, and then working on the website.

Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy The Driver Suit Blog, but I need a real break. I do take a sabbatical in December, but that’s for several reasons. The first reason is that since there aren’t that many paint schemes being revealed, it isn’t worth the time to update the Tracker or the Grades. Second, this lack of paint schemes frees me up to work on other aspects of the site, including Throwback Thursday, and research. So while I’m not updating the site, I am working hard on it.

I have a number of projects lined up for my time off. I’m also going to try a few new ideas out, which might be used on the site in the near future. I promise that I will come back in August, until then, have a great summer!

My Thoughts On Series Sponsorship…Yet Again!

By David G. Firestone

I hate to rehash an old topic on My Thoughts On, but given some recent news, I have no choice. I’m going to talk series sponsorships again. Monster Energy has decided to pull out of NASCAR’s Cup Series after 2019. There was an article today concerning the situation. According to Sports Business Insider, of the potential candidates, The Coca Cola Company is the top candidate for the Cup Series sponsorship, but which of their brands would sponsor the series remains to be seen.

While NASCAR has prospects for their Cup Series title, IndyCar is not as lucky. I’ve been talking about this for months, and we are no closer to finding a series sponsor now than they were then. Their $25 million price tag, coupled with low television ratings, and low attendance has made it clear that finding a series sponsorship will be impossible. IndyCar needs to figure out that they aren’t a box office draw, nor are they a television draw. $15 Million would have been a much more realistic figure, given how bad TV ratings really are.

I was thinking about this, and I had a question: Let’s say that Formula One decided for some reason, it needed a series sponsorship. How much would the series sponsorship cost for the sponsor in questions? F1’s tire supplier Pirelli is rumored to have spent as much as $110,000,000 in both technical and sponsorship costs. I imagine given how popular F1 is worldwide, that the cost could be around that much, given that television broadcasts can generate as many as 50,000,000 people worldwide.

Series sponsorships aren’t a minor issue, because the revenue generated by these sponsorships, the sanctioning bodies get not only financial help, but exposure and promotion as well. Since two of the most well-known racing series don’t have a deal locked up, it’s clear that the racing boom really is dead, and now racing sanctioning bodies need a more realistic budget.

My Thoughts On Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen

By David G. Firestone

I was feeling under the weather last week, so I never got around to an MTO for the week. This week, I feel better physically, but not emotionally. I woke up this morning to the news that Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen died yesterday. Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen was one of the most colorful characters in the history of the NHRA, and was one of the most respected drivers of his era.

His rivalry with Don “The Snake” Prudhomme was one of the most visible rivalries in the NHRA, and his friendship with The Snake was one of a very few to survive that kind of rivalry. Watching Snake and Mongoose today was hard to do, but there wasn’t anything else that was appropriate to do today.

Losing a racing legend, especially someone who had the pleasure of meeting is always hard. The Mongoose was a real legend, and he will be missed in the NHRA, and the drag racing world at home. Tom “the Mongoose” McEwen.

My Thoughts On My Favorite Weekend Of The Year

By David G. Firestone

This is my favorite week of the year! Not because of the Memorial Day racing, but because I’m gonna get my kicks at Route 66 Raceway this weekend! I’m the kind of guy who loves the roar of an 11,000 horsepower engine, and the scent of burnt rubber, burnt nitromethane, and clutch dust! This is what being a racing fan is all about

I also love that the NHRA allows their fans to meet the drivers for no extra cost. NASCAR is too money oriented, and Formula 1 is so expensive that it isn’t even worth the effort. IndyCar does charge extra, but the prices are actually pretty reasonable. This access to drivers is a big draw, and I’m going to make a somewhat bold prediction. The Route 66 Nationals are going to out draw the Overton’s 400 in terms of ticket sales.

This isn’t that bold because ticket prices are somewhat more reasonable, and the above-mentioned access to drivers. The NHRA has shown in recent years that it is a box office draw, as opposed to NASCAR which has seen shrinking attendance for the last ten years. If NASCAR wants to increase fan attendance, one of the changes they should make is better access to drivers. Fans have been saying this for years, but now, I think NASCAR should listen.

It should be noted that the NHRA will never score higher television ratings than NASCAR. That is just a fact of life. FOX has done an amazing job with the NHRA, but it’s not a television draw as much as it is a box office draw. We have to accept the fact that the racing boom is over, and racing isn’t the draw it once was. I’m also sure that there will never be another racing boom on the level of the 1990’s again. It’s sad but true.

There are still a lot of racing fans out there, and the various sanctioning bodies need to understand that the fans should be part of what drives the sport. Fan attendance and television ratings should be one of the top priorities. I hope for the sake of the sport they start to be. I’ll talk about my experience at Route 66 next Friday.