There’s a saying that goes something like, “All publicity is good publicity.” But I think the fallout from Saturday’s post-race fireworks after the Bank of America 500 at Charlotte Motor Speedway is proof-positive that that’s not the case. On Monday, the tone of NASCAR.com seemed to portray that NASCAR was relishing in the whole Keselowski vs. Hamlin-Keselowski vs. Kenseth-Keselowski vs. Stewart thing.
But on Monday’s Good Morning America on ABC, the tone was vastly different. And, to be honest, I had issues with the GMA report on the incident(s). For one, GMA’s focus seemed to be primarily on Tony Stewart. Maybe I’m wrong, but Stewart was a minor player in this whole thing. If you consider those involved, I’d liken Stewart to something like a distant fourth cousin in this whole mess. For those who didn’t see the race but saw the GMA take on the post-race debacle, Stewart probably seemed to be the instigator of the whole thing.
Beyond that, I was kind of scratching my head regarding GMA’s choice of experts or whatever purpose the lady from USA Today served in the report. I apologize, but I can’t remember her name, but she was some lady from USA Today who didn’t seem to know “jack squat” about racing. I’m guessing they had a pool of more racing-knowledgable “experts” to draw from. If they were determined to go the USA Today route, what about Jeff Gluck, who’s covered motorsports for years? How about calling on someone from their Disney family of networks? Dale Jarrett, Rusty Wallace or Andy Petree, maybe?
While Stewart’s involvement was, in my mind, minor, the primary players were Brad Keselowski, Matt Kenseth and Denny Hamlin. Hamlin wasn’t even mentioned in the GMA report, if I recall correctly. Considering Keselowski made contact with all other parties involved, shouldn’t Keselowski, not Stewart, been at least one of, if not the, primary focus?
By the way, I’m wondering if the folks from GMA have figured out that a sprint car and a Sprint Cup Series car aren’t the same thing in the more than two months since that fatal accident at Canandaigua (N.Y.) Motorsports Park. After all, the video of the Stewart/Kevin Ward Jr. accident was shown all over the place back in August, and GMA showed video from Saturday’s post-race fireworks, or whatever you want to call them. I’ve I’d never watched any kind of race before, I think I would at least be able to pick out a few differences in the cars’ appearances from those two videos.
Considering that cars hitting each other in retaliation and drivers fighting in the garage after races aren’t new in NASCAR — granted maybe not on the same scale as Saturday night — would the weekend’s postrace activities even get a mention by GMA had the show not been able to come up with some kind of Stewart tie-in. My guess is, probably, no.
I realize one of NASCAR’s ongoing goals is growing the sport, and that would include coverage by mainstream media. But if this is the only kind of mainstream coverage the sport can get, I think I’m fine without it.
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