Know Your Nascar Fans—Parking Lot Edition


If you’re going to a Nascar race, you might be wondering how you can tell one fan from the other—especially once you realize how packed the parking lot is despite the sport “dying” for the past ten years.  Well, thankfully you can figure out who likes what and for how long just by looking at their car!  “Stereotypes—they’re a real time-saver!”

A Fan Because of Their Kid(s)
This car is usually covered in Cars merchandise (Lightning McQueen, etc.).  You’ll occasionally find some M&M’s Racing decals as well, and once in a while some “they gave this away” bumper stickers (bonus points if its MBNA-related).  It’ll usually be a minivan, although don’t scoff—grocery-getters are sneaky-great tailgating vehicles.

Here to Party
No Nascar decals at all—in fact, the only decals you WILL find are usually PG-13-rated (i.e. “The Shocker” hand signal).  Usually an SUV with some years on it, occasionally it’ll wind up being a sedan that is typically driven to a white-collar job at an office complex.  After all, who needs to have fun ALL the time when you can just get black-out drunk every few weekends?  WARNING—don’t park too close or you might come back to vomit on your doors.

Pissed at the NFL
Look on the rear window for the logo of the closest pro-football team X’d out.  These trucks, usually pick-ups that look like they’ve never towed anything other than a U-Haul trailer, are relatively new, just like the fandom contained within.  Be careful not to engage these fans too much, lest you wind up hearing about how “all these Nascar guys are great, ‘cept for that Bubba Wallace kid.”

Earnhardt Sr. Diehard
3 decals.  3 flags.  3 posters hanging on the windows.  Almost always a well-maintained 90’s era Chevy, these are your hardcore “Fans of the Man”.  Helpful and handy, although getting up a bit in age, always willing to share their tailgate grub with you, as long as you’re willing to hear them regale you with Kirk Shelmerdine stories.

The Bandwagon
Freshly-applied Martin Truex decals adorn this newer car, although if you look closely enough you can make out the shadows of the removed 18 stickers from before.  Jeff Gordon brought them into the sport, but apparently it’ll take the local sports team winning a championship to take them out.  On the plus-side, they usually have the best limited-edition beers.

The Outside Insider
The rare car with no decals, this guy wanders from tailgate-to-tailgate wearing a polo shirt that looks like it MIGHT be official.  Typically falls into two categories—either a guy who claims to be a driver’s brother, or a woman who claims to be a driver’s baby momma.  Don’t ask why they’re not in the pits unless you want to get screamed at from behind some expensive-looking sunglasses.

In From The Hills
An ancient-looking pickup truck with somehow-older-looking decals—did they even make Harry Gant bumper stickers?  A surefire winner for “Biggest Beard in the Parking Lot” is on-board, and you’ll find them heading in early for the race, since their buddy the security guard lets them take the old entrance to their seats.  Best tailgate food, bar none.

The Smartass

Plenty of ironic decals on a small car that’s seen better days.  Wears a Timmy Hill t-shirt he bought online.  Seems to be there alone.  WARNING—might wind up including you on a list like this.

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Martinsville

(Editor’s Note: Mystery Picker’s win total was adjusted to include both of his wins this year so far (Atlanta and Phoenix—I apologize for the error.)

Y’know, there’s really nothing like going to work in the snow.  As a member of the management team, I have to come in unless there’s a state of emergency—after all, they don’t trust just anyone to handle the cash drawers.  So here I am, sitting behind the counter, watching big fluffy flakes fall outside, without a single customer in the store.
Its times like this that make me wonder about life, destiny, and stuff like that.  I mean, was I meant to spend an afternoon babysitting a bunch of merchandise, or did I have some greater purpose?  And if my life has been predetermined by a higher power, then can anything I do truly be called a failure?  That thought in particular comes in handy when I look at what remains of my March Madness bracket.

Truck Series Alpha Energy Solutions 250 (1 win)—Harrison Burton—feel-good win for a Virginia kid.

Cup Series STP 500—MYSTERY PICKER (2 wins) PICKS Kevin Harvick.  Favorite: Kyle Busch—I guess the Mystery Picker forgot that Martinsville isn’t on the west coast.  Next Favorite: Kurt Busch—seems right about that time for Kurt to pick up a win that people forget about in about a month.  Dark Horse: Bubba Wallace Jr.—Bubba rides “Big ‘Mo” into victory lane with people complaining it was fixed.

Nascar Announces Revolutionary “Stageless” All-Star Race Format

In keeping with the tradition of Nascar trying new race formats in non-points events, Nascar officials announced earlier today that they will be attempting a revolutionary new concept in this year’s All-Star Race—a race with no stages.
"We're this close to getting our
Playoff system right--just let us make a
few dozen more changes"
“What we will attempt this May will be a first in recent memory for Nascar—a race with no stages”, Nascar Chairman Brian France said in a teleconference from his office in Daytona Beach.  “We at Nascar have always been about pushing the envelope for what we present to the fans, and we feel that this ‘stageless’ format, while strange and unusual, will give our fans a fresh perspective on what drivers and teams can do.”
While the length of the race (typically around 100 laps) has yet to be determined, France said that the simple introduction of a race without any pre-determined breaks should be enough to spike interest.
“Just imagine it—you go to a race and you have no idea when the first caution period will be”, France opined.  “That would make anybody wonder how drivers, pit crews, and crew chiefs would handle the strategy of that.  We’ll provide a ‘guide to stageless racing’ in the days before the race, just to make sure fans know what to expect, or NOT to expect, at the race itself.”
Nascar is working with TV partner FS1 to make sure that they are prepared to have their announcers possibly talk for upwards for 30 consecutive minutes due to the lack of a stage break.  Furthermore, Nascar Officials will make sure that all drivers are properly hydrated before attempting what could be over 150 miles of non-stop racing.
“We’re already expecting ticket sales to be fast and furious”, France said, “and I’ll be sure to watch the action from my offices here in Florida.”

BREAKING NEWS: Dale Earnhardt Jr. Announces Comeback

In a stunning development that has shocked the racing world, recently retired driver Dale Earnhardt Jr. announced a comeback today, stunning fans and former competitors alike.
“I never thought I’d see or hear this, but there it was, plain as day on the tv”, a longtime fan explained.  “I mean, I’m the biggest Dale Jr. fan you could find, but even *I* thought he was done until what I saw today.  It really just goes to show you that you never know what someone will do once they realize what retirement is all about.”
Earnhardt Jr., Nascar’s most-popular driver for years on end, left the sport after the 2017 season in order to leave on his own terms.  Today’s comeback, however, shows that the lure of competition could be too strong for even the most-stubborn of former drivers to resist.
“I was real impressed with Dale Jr.’s decision today”, said former teammate and current broadcaster and DW wrangler Jeff Gordon.  “It’s funny—when *I* retired, I knew I wasn’t going to come back.  Then, ironically, I had to because of Dale Jr’s injuries.  Weird how things work out like that sometimes.  Wait, DW—hands off that Danica cardboard standup.”
Earnhardt Jr.’s comeback announcement has sent shockwaves through the sports world, with some predicting that this could change the way we see sports as we know it.
“What I saw and heard today, it really could be a new day for us”, a TV executive said when reached for comment.  “Ratings are down for sporting events across the board, but with Dale Jr.’s appeal to Nascar fans, we could see a ripple effect that goes across all programming.”
Dale Jr., however, was much more humble in his assessment of his announcement today.
“Nah, it wasn’t any big deal”, Dale Jr. said when reached for comment.  “I never thought I’d be announcing a comeback either, but hey—NBC really wanted me to guest-spot on their golf tournament coverage, and getting to see a guy go from two over par to challenging for the lead—man, what a comeback!”

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—California

Well, another busy week at work ahead for me.  Its strange, it seems like March always seems to be one of my twelve busiest months.  We're all buckling down, but I'm especially trying to make a good impression.  Sure, my picks haven't been coming through lately.  And sure, this is the first time I can remember when I haven't been confident in my March Madness pool.  And sure, my landlord is selling my townhouse complex to a gigantic corporation who might move me out--but I'm not working hard because I'm worried about money--I do it for the love.
(Editor’s Note: Later investigations revealed Uncle Max's claims to be true, although his busier schedule appears to be due to an attractive new assistant manager transferring in.)

California 300—Austin Dillon—The cowboy-hatted one continues his early-season run…in a lower series.

Cup Series Auto Club 400—MYSTERY PICKER (1 win) PICKS Paul Menard.  Favorite: Kevin Harvick—Paul Menard?  Please...  Next Favorite: Kyle Larson—hard to pick against the Cali boy on a 2-miler.  Dark Horse: Aric Almirola—though it would be ironic if his engine blew from too many RPMs.

Gray Gaulding’s Name The Most Reassuring Thing About BK Racing

An offseason of turmoil has led into a 2018 Nascar Cup season of uncertainty for BK Racing. In fact, the most reassuring thing about the team currently is it’s driver’s name—Gray Gaulding. 
“Every day I show up for work I know it could be the last”, said pit crew member Steve Hunter. “From late paychecks to terrible finishes, there’s not much for this team to rely on. But at least the guy out in front, our driver, has the kind of name that instantly puts you at ease. 
“Gray Gaulding”, Hunter said, a smile creeping across his face. “See? Makes you feel better just saying it.”
Gaulding is a relatively unheralded driver with a thin resume in Nascar’s national touring series. However, while a poll revealed that less than 8% of fans know who he is, a whopping 91%, when informed of his name, believed he could be the kind of reliable, reassuring person who could work for a retirement planning firm or be a small town accountant. 
“With a name like Gray, that alone has a calming effect on the psyche”, said psychologist Zane Brian. “When you add in the Gaulding, it ascribes a level of maturity and steadfastness one doesn’t expect to find racing for a team currently in bankruptcy proceedings.”
BK Racing is currently sparring with suppliers, partners, and the IRS in court. The presiding judge was prepared to order liquidation, until being informed that Gaulding had been hired to drive for the team. The judge is now reportedly “willing to let this thing play out—after all, the driver sounds like a reassuring guy.”

A History of Fan Complaints Affecting Race Outcomes in Nascar

After being penalized for a bowed-in roof on his car last weekend, Kevin Harvick has been critical of Nascar’s penalty process all week, claiming that he was only penalized once social media users pointed out his aerodynamic irregularity.  Surprisingly, this is NOT the first time fans have affected Nascar scoring after a race.  Here’s a look back at the times when fans let themselves be heard to the decision makers in Daytona Beach:

1959: An unidentified fan comes forward to “Big” Bill France mere hours after the race with a conclusive image of the race’s famed “photo finish”.  France quickly stuffed the photo into his suit jacket, saying that “its too soon to end the drama—I mean, decide a winner”.

1963: Wendell Scott is waved-off from the win, despite clearly finishing first, after the race promoter finds a fan who claims that Scott was down a lap.  The promoter figures it won’t matter much in the long run, as nobody will remember the results of an obscure race 55 years in the future.

1979: In the first race after the legendary 1979 Daytona 500, hundreds of fans call in to Nascar headquarters complaining that the Carolina 500 finished without a fist fight.

1990: After winning his first (and only) Cup race under controversial circumstances, Brett Bodine received fervent support shortly after the race in the form of a phone call into Nascar scoring.  The caller, claiming to be the President of the Brett Bodine Fan Club, was unable to explain how he got an internal Nascar phone number, why race celebrations could be heard in the background, or why he sounded like Brett Bodine with a kazoo in his mouth.

1995: After a thrilling finish to the Bristol Night Race, numerous Dale Earnhardt fans call Nascar headquarters to explain how Rusty Wallace should be suspended for trying to hurt The Intimidator with a water bottle.  All of the fans were also quick to add that Earnhardt wrecking Terry Labonte was purely a “racing deal”.

2002: The Daytona 500 featured a memorable bonehead move when Sterling Marlin attempted to fix his car under the red flag.  Fans sent a number of emails and made numerous phone calls post-race to ask if Marlin would race the following weekend or simply retire due to embarrassment.

2006-2010: After a number of races won by Jimmie Johnson, Nascar receives a number of phone calls asking to speak to a variety of different officials, namely Mike Hunt, I.P. Freely, and Jacques Strappe.

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Phoenix

Sooo, the Mystery Picker has a win now, does he?  Well, well, well—its easy when you have the first choice every week, isn’t it?  I don’t want to come off as a whiner, but really—I’m at a major disadvantage here.  I don’t even know who I’m picking against—it could be someone with inside knowledge for all I know!  Meanwhile, I’m here just sharing MY knowledge, doing the best I can!
It just goes to show that life isn’t fair.  Whether its someone refusing to go out with you because you let it slip that your car doesn’t have a working passenger side door, or finding out that your tax service closed up in the middle of the night and now you have to do them yourself, sometimes life just sucks.

Xfinity Series DC Solar 200—Christopher Bell—this kid is the real deal—the results are about to show that.

Cup Series Ticket Guardian 500(k)—MYSTERY PICKER (1 win) PICKS Kevin Harvick.  Favorite: Kyle Busch—Toyota stops the Ford train out west.  Next Favorite: Jimmie Johnson—The Camaro—no aero?  No problem.  Dark Horse: Alex Bowman—no better place to prove he belongs in the 88.

WWE Fastlane: On Rusev Day, WWE Parodies YOU!

3 here represents the number of fans he had
Typically here on Spade Racing we (er, me) like to talk about how pro-wrestling influences Nascar.  But at WWE’s annual Fastlane pay-per-view event, its the opposite—Nascar influences pro-wrestling, and it goes far beyond just the name.  Here’s a look at what you can expect to see:

Stage Wrestling: The match will be stopped at the five and ten minute marks to allow wrestlers to make any needed adjustments to their fighting styles.  Strange how all the matches go long enough to include both stage breaks, isn’t it?

Pit Stops: Wrestlers will be allowed to make a sub-20-second break with their crew, applying Nascar concepts to sports-entertainment.  So, basically, oiling up the wrestlers even more.

Evil Authority Figure: All decisions at this event will be made by a Brian France-like chairman who will constantly antagonize fans and competitors alike.  This has NEVER been tried in pro-wrestling before.

Restrictor Plate Wrestling: No actual restrictor plates will be used—instead there will just be 40 competitors in the ring at once, and eventually it will look like a car crash.

Teams Preparing to Switch to Manual Lug Wrenches for Pit Stops

After another week with multiple issues involving Nascar’s own provided air guns on pit stops, multiple teams have announced that starting next weekend they will begin using manual lug wrenches for pit stops.
Doubles as a weapon
“We knew there would be growing pains with this program, and we’ve decided to let those pains happen without us”, said an unidentified crew chief for a major team after today’s race.  “We’re going back to the old-fashioned way of elbow grease, a long metal handle, and jumping on the wrench when the lug nut is stuck.”
"Nah, its still got some life in it"
Nascar has reportedly allowed the use of manual lug wrenches, and while elated that the antiquated system will “show off the athleticism of the pit crews”, are disappointed that so many teams are abandoning their air gun system.
A Nascar spokesman addressed the issue, saying, “Yes, there have been issues with the new air guns provided by Nascar headquarters—but how could we have seen that coming?  I mean, look at our history—have we ever had issues implementing anything?  Group qualifying, stage racing, the playoff format—we rarely have to change anything once we’ve implemented it.”
The unidentified crew chief stated that they will begin holding tryouts for tire changers at the team’s race shop on Tuesday, and encouraged weightlifters, professional wrestlers, and World’s Strongest Man competitors to apply.
“This won’t be a job for just anybody—you’re literally going to have to carry your weight with this job”, the crew chief said.  “We expect to have some growing pains of our own, but still, its better than relying on whatever Daytona (Nascar’s headquarters) is supplying to us.
“Of course, if Kevin Harvick wants to keep using the Nascar air guns, that’s totally fine by us.”

Nascar Pick Challenge: Uncle Max vs. Mystery Picker—Las Vegas

Returning for 2018, here is Spade Racing Writer/Webmaster/Janitor Mike Mackler’s Uncle Max, this year competing against a mystery Cup Series picker all season long.

Sometimes, its just not your weekend—twice in a row.
I had a shot at the Truck Series race only for Kyle Busch to lose it on pit road.  Then I missed out on the Kevin Harvick Fest in the Xfinity and Cup Series races.  On the plus side, the “Mystery Picker” is doing just as badly so far.
Its a lot like when you’re in a contest at work, and all your competition does just as badly as you.  Or when you show up to your high school reunion and see that none of you went on to achieve your dreams.  Or when you realize you’ve had a bad 2017, only to later realize that 2016, 2015, and 2014 weren’t all that great either.  What I’m trying to say is that sometimes nothing goes your way, but its not going anybody else’s way either.  And no, I’m not just typing like this because of a terrible first date on Saturday Night, so just wipe that thought from your mind.

Truck Series Stratosphere 200—Kyle Busch—Retribution for the driver and absolution for the pit crew come on Friday.

Xfinity Series Boyd Gaming 300—Kyle Larson—Outlasts Kyle Busch to thwart any attempt at a sweep.

Cup Series Folds of Honor QuikTrip 500—MYSTERY PICKER PICKS Kevin Harvick.  Favorite: Brad Keselowski—the Ford train keeps on rolling, just not with the guy the Mystery Picker thinks.  Next Favorite: Martin Truex Jr.—it’d be pretty big to win at one of his five home tracks.  Dark Horse: Jamie McMurray—a surprise first-ever Cup Series Camaro win.