By admin | February 19, 2008
NASCAR should start a Masters tradition
By Richard Allen
Seeing Darrell Waltrip wave the green flag for the first Gatorade Duel caused a thought to occur to me. NASCAR needs to start a tradition like The Masters golf tournament.
Perhaps no sporting event in the world has a better grasp of its own history than The Masters and no sporting venue has a better grasp of history than the Augusta National Golf Club. NASCAR has come under criticism during recent years for not having enough of a grip on its history. Here is a chance to move back in the right direction.
Every year at The Masters one of the old champions hits a ceremonial shot from the first tee to get the tournament started. Since Daytona International Speedway is the Augusta National of stock car racing, why not do the same thing?
Instead of having some American Idol singer or Hollywood star who appears in movies made for teenagers wave the green flag, NASCAR should invite one of the former Daytona 500 winners to get the â€œGreat American Raceâ€ started every year.
Fans, particularly the older fans, would get a thrill out of seeing David Pearson, Bobby Allison or Richard Petty up on the flag stand. It would give the television networks an opportunity to highlight that driverâ€™s career and some of the raceâ€™s great moments.
Doing something simple like this would give NASCAR a chance to show that it was serious when the leaders of the organization said they wanted to get back to their roots.
So come on NASCAR! Tell Lindsey Lohan, Tom Cruise or whatever presidential candidate who wants to show up that they will have to settle for a pre race ride in the pace car. Starting the Daytona 500 is a job for someone who cares about the sport and who those who follow the sport care about.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association.
His weekly column runs in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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