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Mark Harris’s 1956 novel Bang the Drum Slowly (also a 1973 movie starring Robert De Niro and Michael Moriarty) tells a story of how big-league ballplayers would hoodwink fans during spring training in hotel lobbies. They drew the rubes into a card game called TEGWAR, which stood for “The Exciting Game Without Any Rules.”

Pull up a chair, buddy. Me and the boys are playing a little TEGWAR.

What’s TEGWAR?

Ah, you’ll get the hang of it.

The idea of TEGWAR was that no matter what hand the rube drew, it lost.

OK, fellas, I got a full house, aces over kings.

That’s a great hand, Elroy, but Slugger here has a pair of twos, a pair of fives, and a jack. That’s a … Double Barbarosa with a Twist!

Insofar as stage points, bonus points, playoff points, points toward the purchase of a house, point-and-shoot cameras, and points of no return, for many fans, NASCAR may as well be playing TEGWAR.

I trust the few, the proud, the writers I know still at tracks, to keep it straight. I’d trust my fortune, meager though it may be, to the Kenny Bruces, Bob Pockrasses and Dustin Longs of the world. I just miss knowing what the hell is going on myself.

It’s certainly not TEGWAR. TEGWER is being played in Avondale, Ariz., Homestead, Fla., and beyond. “The Exciting Game With Excessive Rules.”

The other day, I saw a video of the president bragging about how many regulations he’d eliminated. I wish he’d take a knife to NASCAR’s rules. Some of them, apparently, are even on paper.

I thought it odd last weekend when NASCAR brought out a red flag after a one-car accident. Perhaps the real reason was extraneous litigation. Or legislation. Constipation, maybe. Meanwhile, the audience loses concentration. Must get … coffee. Could the Ten Races Previously Known as the Chase be directly related to an energy drink becoming series sponsor?

None dare call it conspiracy. Not many know enough to say.

How convenient.