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The Daly Planet

Relief Drivers

Only 47 More Days...But Who's Counting?
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By Guest Writer, Lee Montgomery | 01/04/2011
Category: Relief Drivers

It’s January 4, 2011, and already many of you are counting down the days until Speed Weeks at Daytona and the Daytona 500.

Can I ask you a simple question? Yes? Thank you.


To quote William Shatner: "Get a life, will you people? I mean, for crying out loud, it's just a TV show!" (I’m only half-kidding about that.)

Maybe it’s me, but I don’t see fans of other sports eagerly awaiting the start of their seasons, perhaps other than baseball fans. I do see “catchers and pitchers report in XX days” from baseball fans, but not with the ferocity of NASCAR fans.

And I ask again, why?

I understand the loyalty NASCAR fans have, and your passion is to be commended. But chill out. The NASCAR season will be here soon enough. Don’t you have families to tend to? Ask yourself this: Are you a little too enthused about what Denny Hamlin will do in 2011? Do you care a little too much about how the new crew chiefs at Hendrick Motorsports will do this year?

Most people in the sport look forward to the off-season, to get a chance to unwind, spend time at home, see their families, pet their dogs, etc. We don’t get much chance to do that during the season.

Don’t get me wrong, people in NASCAR are in it because they love it, and most wouldn’t have it any other way. But before you say, “I’ll trade places with them any time,” consider this: Would you like to get up at 6 a.m., work 16 hours in the sun, eat breakfast and lunch on the run, hurry to a Porta-Potty to use the bathroom, stand around a busy pit stall, go to sleep, get up and do it all again?
Then do it again? Then go home, sleep for a few hours, then go to work for 10-12 more hours a day, and then repeat it all the next weekend?

In other words, these crew guys (as I like to call them, even though there are plenty of “crew girls”) work their butts off 10 months a year to entertain you. Yes, entertain you, even though you don’t know most of their names. They work these extreme hours in extreme conditions because they love it. Yes, the money is good, but the sacrifices are great.

Are they ready for the season? Probably not quite yet, because they’re still busting their butts in the “off-season.”

So let’s give them a break. Let them enjoy their time at home. If they’re like me, every time they see “DAYTONA IS ONLY 34 DAYS AWAY,” they probably cringe.

I applaud your enthusiasm. But for their sake, hold it in check for a few more days, anyway. Please?

Thanks to Lee Montgomery, relief driver, for stepping in on short notice to provide a Tuesday column for RJO. Lord willing, Carol will return with something new on Wednesday or Thursday of this week.



Bill B
01/04/2011 6:12 am (1)
I think you are dead wrong Carol. Serious fans of other sports do count down to the start of their season. At least I know that NFL and NHL fans do.
As for counting down to Daytona, the only reason I am trying to rush it up is to get to mid-February where we are on the downside of winter and spring is a few weeks away. Thanks to Mr France I now have equal portions of hope and dread when the new season begins. The days of unbridled enthusiasm ended for me when the chase format began. Since then only my loyalty to my driver has kept me interested.
01/04/2011 6:59 am (2)
Psssst Bill B.... Lee Montgomery.
Bill B
01/04/2011 7:18 am (3)
Ooops. Thanks. Now don't I feel stupid. Since 99% of the articles are by Carol I just assume....
Yes, I know the old saying about assuming. Sorry Carol.
01/04/2011 8:22 am (4)
Well, I, for one, am not spending the winter sitting on the edge of my couch, HDTV tuned to SPEED, finger on the remote, waiting for the moment that I can switch to the local Fox affiliate to hear the dulcet tones of "Boogity, Boogity, Boogity" again. Heck, I haven't even finished watching the races I recorded from the end of last year (I think I'm still on Phoenix).

Since Homestead last year, I've been busied with: Preparations for Thanksgiving; Thanksgiving; Setting up tree and other decorations for Christmas; getting ready for Mrs. Luvracing's knee replacement surgery (third joint replacement in 2010!); the surgery itself and recovery; Christmas shopping; physical therapy; catching up fire department attendance records preparatory to annual elections; Christmas; Day-After-Christmas party at my Mom's; a mega-blizzard that knocked down a huge tree and, with it, the power and cable lines to the house; keeping the fireplace stocked with wood; taking down Christmas decorations (including digging the airblown figures out of the snow); cleaning up the house; laundry; cooking; at least four Board of Fire Commissioners' meetings; taking my busted computer to Best Buy for service (again!); and the usual array of fire, accident, and EMS calls. Oh, and my full time job (thank God for accrued leave!).

And, we're only about a week and a half into Winter. I'll keep pressing on though, so that by the time Daytona hits, maybe I'll be unbusy enough to actually notice.

The punchline is, I'm sure there are people waiting for Daytona, Opening Day, Week One, or whatever your particular sport calls its lid-lifter. But I also think that, given the other demands that people put on themselves, that number is getting smaller and smaller each year. Until someone invents the 32-hour day, or the ten-day week, I'm afraid that trend is going to continue. And that'll be bad for all sport organizations, not just NASCAR.

Nice article, tho, Lee!

OK, enough of this. Back to work.

01/04/2011 11:36 am (5)
I remember that I used to get all excited about counting down the days til Daytona, but I think NASCAR's overcrowded schedule has diminished that some. There are too many races, not enough off weeks, and with the advent of the chase, the excitement for the start of the year just isn't what it used to be for me.

but to be fair, I think MLB is in the same boat in regards to the overcrowded schedule. Why go to a game today, when you can go tomorrow, or the day after and see the same 2 teams battling it out? 160 plus games a year is too much.
and in the same way, I think 36 races (plus the non-points ones) is just too much.

I'd love it if they knocked 3 or so races off the schedule, and gave the teams a week off ever 9 or so races.

my $.02
Greg in Dallas
01/05/2011 1:01 pm (6)
I know I'm looking forward to it... but only so that SPEED will have something (anything!) other than endless re-runs of Pinks, Pass Time and the Barrett-Jackson auctions. I saw some old British Touring Car races on there the other day and almost fell out of my seat.
01/05/2011 5:17 pm (7)
I am not waiting at all. Just living my life and, when it starts up, I'll set the channel, sit down, and watch. Maybe. But I'm surely not sitting on the edge of my seat!

Even when it gets here I think this year will be different. I'll set the DVR and record it. Then, I'll probably wait until at least half is over and then FF through it. After all, this past year was pretty regular time-wasting in-line driving until the last 100 laps. I sure could have saved a lot of time last year by using my DVR more wisely!

And, I'd have to say that most other fans of other sports are equally excited, not just NASCAR. In my 47 years, I've pretty much seen every sport represented by ultra fanatics in my group of friends. NASCAR really isn't different.

Here's to hoping next year is a lot more exciting and someone steps up to challenge the 48!
01/05/2011 6:03 pm (8)
I have seen very few instance of fans counting down, but almost countless "journalists" constantly reminding us.

Are you sure its fans that are counting down, or is it just the media that feels compelled to write articles, but can't come up with anything better than a countdown?

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