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NASCAR gets emotional

Announces plan to let boys be boys

Well, this is richer than four-cheese fettucine. It seems NASCAR is actually going to let the racers race this year.

This is a 180-degree spin from its previous philosophy, which was to let the racers sell stuff and then fine or suspend them if they let slip a "dang it" or rubbed fenders a bit too zealously. Now, apparently, they want the drivers to be "mixing it up," according to Brian France.

Next up: Actual moonshine in the trunk of Jeff Gordon's car.

OK, so maybe not. But ain't it amazin' what a pile of empty seats will do?

Letting drivers mix it up, after all, is exactly what a lot of us have been saying the sport needed to do for, oh, five years at least, as attendance and TV number slowly dwindled. All the while, NASCAR continued on its quest to turn a Budweiser-and-T-shirt sport into merlot-and-Armani.

Well, enough of that. Alienating the core fan base that turned NASCAR into a money machine wasn't working, so NASCAR is going back to basics, or at least basics as NASCAR understands them.

Unfortunately, France and his crowd have so completely lost track of their roots that they still don't get it. Their solution is to ease the rules on bump-drafting at Daytona and Talladega, which will only make those perilous places even more so.

What they should have done is leave Daytona and 'Dega be -- the racing there is as good as its going to get, given the nature of restrictor-plate racing -- and just concentrate on allowing more contact on the short tracks. Let 'em bump. Let 'em bang. And if a driver cusses on the radio once in awhile amid all the bumpin' and bangin' ... well, your core audience isn't going to faint dead away, nor stop shopping at Lowe's, if Jimmie Johnson cuts loose with the occasional PG-13 epithet.

I mean, hell. It's not like the core audience hasn't heard (or said) worse.

Ben Smith's blog.