• UNCONVENTIONAL WISDOM:

Sunday, October 18, 2009

RUSH-ing OUT the WELCOME MAT

Life and business are about taking advantage of opportunities. Some NASCAR Sprint Cup team owners missed a big one last week.

Here's what I would have done, if I owned a team and needed an investment partner: I would have called Rush Limbaugh.

The conversative radio talk show host (let me admit, I've been an avid Rush listener since October 1988 -- and that doesn't mean I always agree with him) got railroaded by political correctness and flat-out lazy reporting/commentary and was dropped by a group trying to buy the NFL's St. Louis Rams. Limbaugh says he's not going to sue, but I would have immediately filed against every one of those talking heads who inaccurately repeated unsourced (and, to the best of my knowledge), false quotes attributed to Rush.

Here's a true fact: Very -- and I mean VERY -- few of the media talkers and political activists who teed-off on Limbaugh could withstand similar scrutiny of their personal and professional lives.

And, let me add, the almighty NFL and its commissioner, Roger Goodell, came out of this looking as bad as, well, CNN's Rick Sanchez and MSNBC's David Shuster -- ego heavyweights/journalistic lightweights -- to name two. (Goodell's wife is Fox News anchor Jane Skinner and I wouldn't be surprised if her ratings take a short-term hit.)

The most enormous hypocrisy is Goodell and the media elites see no problem in NBC's Hater-In-Chief spewing tons of lunacy and divisiveness five nights a week on cable, but he's just fine for Sunday Night Football.

Anyway, if the NFL doesn't want Limbaugh, some Cup team owner should. (Please, don't even try to tell me Rush's controversial nature means he doesn't measure-up to the standards of some other owners. Check the record.)

I well remember Limbaugh's comments about Dale Earnhardt the day after The Intimidator died at Daytona. Rush admitted he hadn't met Dale, but was laser-on in explaining why Earnhardt had connected so powerfully with the American sports public. And, why, his passing triggered such an outpouring of grief.

If you doubt Rush would be enthusiastically welcomed by NASCAR fans, let's put it to a test: At Daytona, or Talladega, or Bristol, or Darlington, introduce four celebrities on the pre-race stage and let's see who gets the loudest ovation -- David Letterman and Brian Williams . . . or Sarah Palin and Rush Limbaugh.

I guarantee you, the liberal comic and liberal newsman won't accept the challenge. Their egos couldn't handle the embarrassment.

FAST LINES: Per last week's posting, suggesting racing Town Hall meetings, New Hampshire Motor Speedway communications director Fred Neergaard informs me Bruton Smith and Jerry Gappens, often joined by Marcus Smith, have held such gatherings with pre-race pit pass holders at both Sprint Cup events last year and this season. "The feedback that we get from the fans at these meetings is extremely important!!!," writes Neergaard . . . To begin Brickyard 400 ticket sales and start a fan contest to win a trip to the Sprint Cup awards ceremony in Las Vegas, the Indianapolis Motor Speedway had Elvis impersonator/Indiana State Rep. Bruce Borders perform in the lobby of its administration building. Sad, what that tells us about IMS these days, and politicians . . . I thought David Pearson (to Richard Petty what Jack Nicklaus was to Arnold Palmer) would make the NASCAR Hall of Fame's first class and Bill France Jr. would lead the second group. Here's what I learned watching NASCAR Race Hub last week -- Rick Allen should not have had a NASCAR Hall of Fame vote. Too inexperienced to make such an important decision, one based largely on a strong historical knowledge of the sport. There were two other media judges picked on the basis of their title or media affiliation, not their personal knowledge of (or, in one case, interest in) the sport. I guess I should be glad Digger wasn't a voter . . . I'll say this for the second consecutive year -- It's ridiculous Formula One doesn't make the new world champion available on its world-feed video.

The American Media, October 10, 2009: Ex-ESPNer Stephen A. Smith appears on CNN -- to talk about health-care reform.

Upcoming The Race Reporters guests:
(Show is live Wednesdays at 7 p.m. EDT, downloadable, and available on-demand at no cost. Click on TRR page logo in upper right-hand column.)

October 21 -- Antron Brown. Panelists: Larry Henry, Bobby Bennett, Corinne Economaki.

October 28 -- A.J. Allmendinger. Panelists: Dave Kallmann, Lewis Franck. Plus, Paul Page.

November 4 -- Mark Kent (GM Racing manager). Panelists: Bob Pockrass, Dave Argabright. Plus, Dave (The King) Wilson.

[ Anton Brown news nuggest Thursday . . . ]