Posts Tagged ‘racing’

Fake News: Potholes are next big thing

February 18, 2010

CHARLOTTE, N.C. (Feb. 17) — NASCAR racing officials are so happy with last weekend’s tight finish at the Daytona 500, caused in large part by having drivers slowed by a pothole that stopped the race several times, that they’re adding other everyday road nuisances to future events.

“Everybody’s been talking about what a bunch of rinky-dink amateurs we are to have our biggest race marred by a simple pothole,” said operations vice president John Lee. “That’s great publicity. Yee-haw.”

Weeks of rainy, cold weather in northeast Florida caused a 9-by-15-inch hole to be carved two inches into the Daytona Superspeedway’s surface. The biggest race on NASCAR’s calendar was stopped for over two hours while officials scrambled to fill the hole, mostly with discarded tobacco chaw. Now, events coordinators are looking to add other obstacles to generate more interest and sympathy among viewers who face daily frustrating commutes.

One idea is to put an elderly “hat driver” on the inside lane and have him drive 55 m.p.h. while stock cars race past him at three times that speed. Another concept would have a carful of young immigrants on the right side of the track making random, unsignaled turns. Some are even suggesting putting a left-turn-only lane to the pit area with a sensor in the pavement that only occasionally triggers the turn arrow.

“Drivers needing to pit may have to inch back and forth for several minutes to make the light change,” said Lee. “How exciting would that be?”

“I’ll be the ‘hat driver,'” volunteered 51-year-old veteran driver Mark Martin, peering through his steering wheel to see the road in front of him.

Other proposals being floated include having joggers dart out onto the track, awarding bonus points for striking kangaroos that would be loosed from the infield, and requiring any driver who crashed to block the course by waiting patiently outside his car for police to arrive.

“Ideally, only one car-width will be left open to get by, and all the other racers would slow to a crawl to see what happened,” Lee said. “One of the crash victims might be standing on the shoulder sobbing quietly into his cell phone, while the other scribbles out his insurance information leaned on the hood of his car. It’s something we can all relate to.”

To expand the audience of some races, officials are also considering installing a poorly labeled exit ramp that appears to lead to the garage area but in fact takes drivers into the parking lot of a nearby mall. The sight and sound of roaring Dodges zooming past startled young families could improve the demographic mix of typical race-watchers, at least among the families that aren’t run over first.

Lee said the more that Sunday afternoon auto races can remind the audience of the mind-numbing drudgery of spending up to 90 minutes a day creeping through traffic, the more Bojangles Bo’berry biscuits with extra cheese can be sold by race sponsors.

“We might even end up with a patch on drivers’ firesuits advertising the highway patrol,” said Lee, though he stopped short of suggesting that speeding racers be pulled over by police for going 168 in a 165-m.p.h. zone.