MONTE DUTTON - TAKING CUES FROM THE TOP
I was sort of amazed NASCAR held no Monster Energy Cup race on Father’s Day weekend, which has always been considered a prime spot. I figured it out. TV calls the shots, I suspect, and Fox owned the rights to both the United States Open golf tournament and the World Cup, and it had little programming room, especially since NASCAR races are sometimes prone to rain delays.
Of course, I watched the Truck and Xfinity races in Iowa, where, since they built it, people used to come. They hoped their support would draw a Cup race. It didn’t. Their civic enthusiasm waned, and now they don’t come anymore, by and large.
So I watched a good bit of the Open and the World Cup. The golf tournament featured that sport’s equivalent of many crashes. I decided on Saturday that Brooks Koepka was likely to win because he seemed to have more sense and composure than anyone else.
Soccer, or futbol, or whatever one prefers to call it, seems awfully antiquated. No replay officials. It drives me mad that, at the end, no one but the officials has any precise idea of when it is going to end, yet that game is the most popular in the world, and I considered how this could possibly be. Soccer fans like it just the way it is. It’s dependable. Fans are accustomed to what I consider antiquated.
It never changes. Fans know what to expect.
Stock car racing changes so rapidly that most people can’t keep up. I can’t keep up, and I follow it, if not as closely as my erstwhile colleagues, a few of whom are actually still traveling from place to place, but surely more closely than most. Most of them seem to approve of rapid change. It’s wonderful. NASCAR is trying to bring the sport into the technological age. It’s changed so much that, as Yogi Berra supposedly said of a nightclub, “That place is so crowded, nobody goes there anymore.”
Nowadays, NASCAR might as well be Facebook. Everybody’s mad about something. Some apparently stomped off to a golf tournament or a soccer match.
In the World Cup, Croatia can beat Iceland, 1-nil, and it’s a classic. If a NASCAR race has 28 lead changes, but Kevin Harvick ends up winning it by three seconds, it’s a snoozer. The fans must not even watch anymore. They’re busy with their Twitter feeds.
Hell, I’m busy with my Twitter feed. That’s where the fans are. This is what NASCAR wants. Echoing an old song, don’t blame me. NASCAR turned me this way.