By admin | February 6, 2009
By Richard Allen
During Thursday nightâ€™s Bud Shootout drawing for qualifying positions numerous drivers were openly involved in some friendly wagering. The event was broadcast on SpeedTV and thus was seen by many fans. The drivers behavior did not send out the best of messages for a sport that is having issues with fans feeling as though they are not appreciated.
This is not going to be an anti-gambling blog. I myself have been known to wager a few dollars on the NCAA Basketball Tournament among other things. So, my problem was not with the gambling itself. My problem was with the way drivers were making such light of the amount of money that was involved.
A person who in this economy may be concerned with losing a job or not being able to pay the basic bills does not want to hear a bunch of young, highly paid race car drivers treat $500 as if it were play money. For most fans, that kind of money would buy a monthâ€™s groceries. For the drivers, it is pocket change.
Many fans are starting to feel very much distanced from todayâ€™s drivers. It does not look good for the drivers to seemingly rub it in the faces of the â€˜mere commonersâ€™ that they are so well off when so many of those fans are struggling.
Someone from NASCAR should have been alert enough to go down there during a commercial break and â€˜discussâ€™ this with those involved. And it should be pointed out that not all drivers were involved.
Maybe I am making too much out of nothing but it just came off in a very bad light to me. There are many out there right now who are having a hard time and I just thought treating what to most of us is a significant amount of money as something to play with was in poor taste.
NASCAR and its drivers, now more than ever, should be going out of their way to consider the needs and concerns of the people who gave them all of that money.
Richard Allen is a member of the National Motorsports Press Association. His weekly column appears in The Mountain Press every Wednesday.
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