Monday, March 7, 2016

Musings From the Weekend: My How the Rhetoric Changes

NASCAR was in Las Vegas. The Pirelli World Challenge season opened this weekend in Austin and two familiar faces were victorious. A manufacture won on its debut weekend. There was a surprise winner in V8 Supercars as rain spoiled the opening party in Adelaide. Daytona Bike Week began with Supercross under the lights. World Rally was in North America and South of the Border in Mexico. Here is a run down of what got me thinking.

My How the Rhetoric Changes
Up until about 15 minutes ago, no one referred to Formula One or IndyCar as "open-cockpit racing." As if the reason why people tune in is because a driver's head is expose for the entire world to see and for all the debris to target. But with Ferrari having run a few laps with a halo all of a sudden the rhetoric has changed.

Drivers all of a sudden don't want to see "open-cockpit racing" disappearing from the face of the earth in the same vain as dinosaurs. The problem is "open-cockpit racing" has never existed. People have created that moniker. "Open-wheel racing" exists the same way. "Open-wheel racing" was never meant to exist. The first automobiles just happened to be built without fenders and that was raced and continued to be raced and then fenders started popping up on automobiles and some race cars added them and some did not.

When people defend "open-cockpit racing" or "open-wheel racing," they are defending labels that exist on accident and those labels have no meaning. The early pioneers in motorsports didn't start racing with the premise that all cockpits must be open and all wheels must be exposed. They raced what they had at the time and as time has progressed we have mistaken the innocence of competition as some type of canon law from up above.

And the Formula One and IndyCar paddocks are no different than NASCAR. NASCAR loves rhetoric more than a preacher and they change it so frequent that they paper is permanently grey. Ever since Daytona you hear Larry McReynolds talk about how all the grass needs to be paved over at all race tracks because of the damage that is caused when a car's splitter digs in. It's the grass's fault. Let's not put any onus on NASCAR for adding the splitter and causing the cars to be suction cupped to the ground, it's all on the grass because the grass has learned to throw uppercuts when a car invades its territory.

The worst part of all these changes in rhetoric is people of equal clout to the McReynoldses of the world don't question them. They let the changes go unchallenged. An alternative is never brought up. He screams pave over the grass and everyone follows and no one bigger or equal in voice challenges with the retort of removing the splitters and raising the ride height of the cars. Even worse is "driver safety" gets added and then it becomes heresy to challenge it even though there is more than one way to improve driver safety.

People need to be more critical when they hear this rhetoric and media, whether it be television networks, newspapers or magazines should not hire a staff completely of like minded people who allow these changes in rhetoric to fly by unchallenged. More than one voice should be at the table and disagreement isn't bad. Just make sure it can be shown in a professional manner.

Winners From the Weekend
Patrick Long and Johnny O'Connell split the opening weekend of the Pirelli World Challenge GT season at Circuit of the Americas.

In GTS, Lawson Aschenbach won race one and Brett Sandberg scored KTM its first victory.

Brad Keselowski won the NASCAR Cup race from Las Vegas.

Holden swept the opening weekend of the V8 Supercars season from Adelaide with Jamie Whincup and James Courtney winning the Saturday races. Nick Percat scored his first V8SC victory since being Garth Tander's co-driver and winning the 2011 Bathurst 1000 in a rain-shortened Sunday race.

Jari-Matti Latvala won Rally Mexico, his first WRC victory of 2016.

Eli Tomac scored his first victory of 2016 by defeating Ryan Dungey at Daytona.

Kyle Busch won the NASCAR Grand National Series race at Las Vegas.

Coming Up This Weekend
IndyCar season begins at St. Petersburg.
The three Road to Indy series and Pirelli World Challenge will also be at St. Petersburg.
Formula E makes its debut in Mexico City.
AMA Supercross heads to Toronto.
NASCAR heads to Phoenix.
World Superbikes runs its second round of 2016 from Buriram, Thailand.