Friday, January 19, 2018

Spade Racing Films 6 for 6: An Offseason Documentary Series--…And The Horse He Raced In On


(a man turns on the lights in an old Nascar garage.  He begins slowly walking through it.  Eventually it become apparent its former driver and current broadcaster Phil Parsons)

Phil Parsons (voiceover, as he looks around with a contemplative look on his face): “I’m proud of what I accomplished in my career, as a driver, owner, and a broadcaster.  But I always go back to that day at Dover Downs in 1994 when—(jump cut to intense sounds of football tackles)—the Canadian Football League invaded.”
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(stock footage of football players practicing appears on-screen.  All of a sudden, a stock car races through the practice field, leaving the players befuddled.  The car leaves “And The Horse He Raced In On” in mud-tracks on the field).

Scott Hill (author, When The Colts Left Baltimore: 20+ Years of Whining): “The Colts had left Baltimore in the middle of the night in 1984, there was a USFL team here for a quick minute, then everyone seemed to want to move to Baltimore, but only used it as a ruse to get a better stadium lease from their own home city.”

Phil Parsons (retired Nascar driver, long-suffering broadcaster): “I’d come down south in ’82 to join my brother Benny, I’d had some success in Nascar, won a race in Cup, but by the 90’s I was trying to reestablish myself in what was then called the Busch Series.”

Scott Hill: “Baltimore lost out on the NFL expansion derby of the 90’s, and it seemed like there’d never be football again in Baltimore.  Then, all of a sudden, here comes the Canadian Football League.”

Steffy Jordan (co-director of marketing, Baltimore CFL Colts): “The Baltimore CFL Colts franchise got a LOT of positive reaction when we started out, but we knew that we’d have to appeal to a larger fanbase than just football fans in the city of Baltimore.”

Phil Parsons: “Things were going well for us, we’d just won the race at Charlotte the week before, and we had an open race for sponsorship the following week at Dover.”

Steffy Jordan: “We decided to use our resources the way anyone else in our shoes would—by sponsoring someone in a Nascar race three hours away.  Well, four hours if you include traffic on the Bay Bridge.”

Scott Hill: “All of a sudden you have this strange combination—a CFL franchise, sticking it to the NFL, and a driver in Nascar, a sport that was just starting to assert itself on the national stage.  It really made for some natural, manufactured drama, and left a pretty big impression on some of the fans.”

Mike Mackler (writer/webmaster/janitor, Spade Racing): “Yeah, my dad took me to Dover that weekend to catch qualifying.  I remember seeing that Baltimore CFL Colts car on pit road and thinking, ‘well, that’s one way to spend your money’.  Yeah, I was an insufferable smartass even then.”

Phil Parsons: “We finished in 12th place that day, not exactly the day we were looking for but a decent run nonetheless.”

Steffy Jordan: “There was a BIG response to that car—lots of people calling in the next day.  Of course were we closed the next day—it was a Sunday—but still, our answering machine was filled-up when we came into work on Monday.”

Scott Hill: “The Baltimore CFL Colts became the Baltimore CFLs, then the Baltimore Football Club, then the Baltimore Stallions, and they only lasted two seasons, but their legacy, more than anything, was showing the appeal of crossover promotion between the football world and Nascar.”

Dale Earnhardt Jr. (retired Nascar driver, mayonnaise connoisseur): “Yeah, we were gonna run that Philadelphia Eagles car last year, but it kinda fell apart.  Too bad, as I was really looking forward to scraping it against the wall.  So, what’s this thing about anyways?  The CFL?  Like the lightbulbs?”

Phil Parsons: “I’m glad I left my mark on this sport, and I’m glad that the Baltimore CFL franchise left their mark on the football world.  I’m just glad we could do it together.”


(on screen graphics): “The Baltimore CFL franchise relocated to Montreal after the Cleveland Browns NFL franchise moved to Baltimore—the newly-christened Alouettes continue succeed both on and off the field.  Steffy Jordan currently works as a community liaison for the Baltimore Blast indoor soccer franchise.  Scott Hill is working on his latest book ‘When The Bullets Left Baltimore: 50+ Years of Not Caring’.  Phil Parsons works for FS1 as a broadcast partner of longtime furniture enthusiast Michael Waltrip.”